After years of fans, players, coaches, and administrators calling for a playoff system in division one college football, they will finally get what they have asked for. Starting in 2014, FBS college football will enter a new four team playoff era. Many have called for this format for years now, and it was finally put into effect.
The format is simple; the best four teams each year will get a chance to square off in two semi-final games and the winner of those two games face off in a Monday night National Championship Game.
The new post season bowl structure creates an exciting opportunity for fans, players, and coaches, all while still making every regular season game incredibly important ensuring that college football remains the most exciting sport of them all.
There will be two semi-final games and four other premier bowl games held on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Every year the Semi-final games will rotate among those six bowls to help expand the experience to more fans. This year, both semi-final games are held on New Year’s Day.
They will be the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California as well as the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana and finally the National Championship Game held on Monday, Jan. 12 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Every FBS team will have a fair shot at the title at the beginning of each season. The plan is easier said than done: Win and you’re in.
In years past, when the BCS decided who would play in the National Title game, there were often disputes about if a team was worthy or why a team was left out. The BCS was run by a computer system, and the computer would determine who the best two teams in college football were.
Boise State was often the victim of these computer rankings because they are in the Mountain West conference, a conference that is notably weaker than any of the Power-5 teams. A one loss, and sometimes two loss, power conference team would be ranked ahead of them no matter how well they actually played.
This year, a 12 member selection committee will determine the playoff teams. The committee is filled with current Athletic Directors, former NCAA chairmen, Hall of Fame players, journalists, and even a former Secretary of State.
The selection committee will rank the teams based off of strength of schedule, win-loss record, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, and championships won among many other factors.
After they decide who their top four teams are, they will assign them to semi-final sites, and then select the next group of teams to play in other New Year’s Day games. Their goal is to create competitive matchups, avoid any regular season matches, and also consider the geography of the teams to ensure they are as neutral as possible.
This helps those teams who usually wouldn’t get the opportunity to pass the eye test to the committee and possibly realize their dreams at competing for a National Title. The first ever playoff rankings were released Oct. 28, 2014 and consisted of, at the time, undefeated Mississippi State, Florida State, as well as Auburn and Ole Miss who have one loss.
Behind them are 13 other one loss teams that await their chance to prove they belong in the playoff discussion by winning games and hoping those in front of them lose just one more game.
It’s a long way to go until the final rankings are released on Dec. 7, and as any fan of college football knows, just about anything could happen.