The New College Football Playoff Format Explained

College football fans around the nation have been waiting for a playoff system just like they have in the pros. The method up until now has left a lot to be desired and very few fans of the BCS system.

Finally, the powers that be decided on a format that at least starts the process towards a more traditional playoff system at the college football level.

Ok…so the college football playoff format that is in place isn’t EXACTLY like the NFL playoffs or any other playoff system, but at least it’s a start.

Is the BCS still a part of the college football championship?

The BCS as we know it and its infamous “computer rankings” are now a thing of the past. Thank the Lord for small favors! The BCS has been despised by most for quite a long time. It had some redeeming qualities (although we are hard pressed to name any of them), but not many.

Who is on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee?

Now, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee can get you to the top 4, but then you have to prove yourself…or pay off these 13 so called ‘experts’ who will be doing the rankings.Condoleezza Rice

So who are these 13 people?

The first 5 include a single athletic director from each of the big five conferences. The 6th member will be a former member of the media. The remaining seven individuals will be a cross section of former coaches, players, athletic directors and administrators from universities. The selection committee will generally serve 3 year terms (except for this first group).

Remember, Condoleeza Rice is one of the 13 this year. As the only female, she caused a great bit of controversy. She is a former Stanford Provost (thus the administrator criteria) but she is also brilliant and someone who will take this seriously. Here is a previous article we wrote on the topic where we were not so thrilled. Bottom line, the people selected for this role will likely be amazing students of the game for their 3 years.

How will the new college football playoffs work?

Although not perfect, it at least in some way resembles a playoff, even if only reserved for the top four teams. It likely (as many experts agree) College Football National Championship Trophywill advance to an 8 team playoff when the current agreement expires in 12 years (2025). In fact, they even left room on the trophy for more laces as more teams are added to the playoff system (notice the 4 laces represent the 4 team playoff system).

  • The four best teams, as determined by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, will play semifinal games on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. (Note: What better way to spend the holidays, right? We’ll hook you up with party ideas!) 
  • In addition to the two semi-final games, the other 4 big bowl games not in the rotation for the semi-finals that year will be played on those two days as well (see below) for a total of 6 games those two days.
  • The Number 1 team will play Number 4 and Numbers 2 & 3 will go head to head. The winners of those two teams will play each others in the Championship game on the first Monday after that is at least six days away.

How are the top 4 teams in the college football championship selected?

The teams are selected by the selection committee. Period.

Some of the factors that go into selecting the final four are strength of schedule, head-to-head results against common opponents, and championships won.

Note that no team can automatically qualify for the playoffs anymore just by who they are…so long Notre Dame’s special treatment.

With the increased emphasis on strength of schedule, the hope is that the bully’s of college football will begin picking on someone their own size. Hopefully there will be a large decrease in the coming years of the Alabama’s of the world playing the Southeastern Idaho Tech’s (is there even such a place?).

Where will the College Football National Championship games be played?

The College Football Playoff National Championship will be played in a different city every year. For the upcoming season, it will be played in Arlington, TX. Then it goes to Glendale, AZ in 2016, followed by Tampa Bay, FL in 2017. The host cities for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be announced in the fall of 2015.

College Football Playoff Semifinal games will rotate between the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. These traditional bowl locations will be paired up as Sugar/Rose, Orange/Cotton, and Fiesta/Peach for the two semi-final games.

The site of the College Football Playoff National Championship game is determined through a bid system, similar to that of the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four. Basically, any city that has the appropriate facilities and transportation can submit a bid to host the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Will there still be other bowl games with the new college football national championship format?

Yes! However, what the preferred teams for each of the bowl games is still a bit unknown. We will do a separate post on how the rest of the bowl games are determined outside of the College Football Championship Playoff formats.

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