Top Five Changes in the College Football Playoff

A major overhaul to the way college football crowns its national champion occurred last October when the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) was replaced by the CFP (College Football Playoff) Committee.   Since 1998, we’ve anointed 16 champions in the college football rankings and 16 crystal footballs were joyfully hoisted in the air.  The upcoming football season will be the first national champion to play through the additional semi-final game on their way to the championship game.


 The Top Five Things Every College Football Fan Needs to Know about the New Playoff


ONE:  A committee will rank the top 25 teams.


A 13-member committee will rank the top 25 teams using various criteria including conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head comparisons, outcomes of games with common opponents and other factors such as how key injuries impacted the team’s season.  Committee members will serve three-year terms with certain individuals at first serving terms shorter or longer to create a staggered effect.  See the list of the committee members below.


 TWO:  The top 4 teams will play in the College Football Playoff and the winners play each other in the national championship game.


On Dec 7, 2014 the CFP Committee will announce the Top Four College Football Teams, which will play in the semi-final College Football Playoff prior to the national championship game.  This year those two games will be played January 1, 2015, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA.  The two winning teams of the semifinal will play in the National Championship game to be held on January 12, 2015, at Jerry World in Dallas, TX.


THREE:  The committee will manage Six Major bowl games. (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta, and Chick-fil-A)


To the original four BCS Bowls they added two more, the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA and the Cotton Bowl in TX.  These six bowls will rotate the semi-final games each year, to be played on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.  Two bowl games will host the semifinals in any given year, while the other four games will play on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  The championship title game is now up for an annual, Super Bowl-type bidding.  Any of the six major bowls can bid for a title game in years when they are not hosting a semifinal.


FOUR:  The end of the BCS Automatic Qualifier


There will no longer be automatic berths granted to teams meeting a certain rankings threshold.  Moving forward, there will be five contract conferences – Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern. The highest ranked champion of the remaining conferences will receive a bid to one of the six major bowls. That champion will be determined by the selection committee.


FIVE:  The committee will assign teams to the non-playoff bowls.


The CFP Committee has a goal to create the most compelling matchups by considering rankings and other factors such as geographic proximity, avoiding rematches of regular-season games and avoiding rematches of recent years bowl games.

It just got interesting.  If you hated the BCS, you’re thrilled and if your team has been winning lots of Championships under the former system, you may be concerned.  We’ll be blogging about it all year, so either way, you’ll be informed.


Here’s a further comparison of the BCS system and the new CFP system:

 BCS  College Football Playoff Committee
The ranking was determined by a complex formula with three equal parts, Harris Poll, Coaches Poll and Computer Poll.  The Computer Poll was a compilation of six polls and took into account all sorts of statistics like strength of schedule, wins losses, margin of victory, venue etc, so that some of the ranking was determined by computer algorithms. The ranking is 100% human element comprised on the opinions of 13 people.
The location of the BCS National Championship Game was based on a rotation of four bowl games. The Championship game will be based on a bidding process among the four bowls that are not hosting one of the two College Football Playoff Semi-final games.
The two teams which played in the National Championship game were the teams ranked #1 and #2 in the BCS Poll. The two teams which will play in the College Football Playoff Championship will be the two winners of the semi-final playoff games.
The Bowl matchups were determined by criteria which varied per Bowl Selection Committee and there were all sorts of individual contracts and deals between bowls and conferences. The Bowl matchups will be determined by the College Football Playoff Committee.
There were limits to how many teams from any given conference could be represented in the Bowl matchups. There is no limit to how many teams any given conference may have playing in the Bowl Games.
There were Automatic Bowl Qualifiers There are no Automatic Bowl Qualifiers.  The CFP Committee will select the team from the highest ranked non-contract conference champions.  The committee determines the ranking.
Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings. No more luck for the Irish.



If you are wondering about outside influences that could compel the new College Football Playoff Playoff Committee to vote one way or another, you may like to read our story about the potential influence of ESPN on the committee.  

Here’s a complete list of the CFP Committee members.

Jeff Long, vice chancellor and director of athletics, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Chair
Barry Alvarez, director of athletics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lieutenant General Mike Gould, former superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy
Pat Haden, director of athletics, University of Southern California
Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
Oliver Luck, director of athletics, West Virginia University
Archie Manning, former University of Mississippi quarterback and all-pro NFL quarterback
Tom Osborne, former head coach and director of athletics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dan Radakovich, director of athletics, Clemson University
Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor, former Stanford provost and former United States Secretary of State
Mike Tranghese, former commissioner of the Big East Conference
Steve Wieberg, former college football reporter, USA Today
Tyrone Willingham, former head coach of three FBS institutions

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