Every Game Counts
The playoff preserves the excitement and significance of college football’s unique regular season where every game counts.
The selection committee ranks the teams based on conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and other factors.
The New Year’s holiday belongs to college football, with two semifinal games rotating annually among the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl.
The two teams winning the playoff semifinals compete for the College Football Playoff National Championship. That game is in a different city each year, always on a Monday night.
Every FBS team has equal access to the College Football Playoff based on its performance. No team automatically qualifies.
The format increases revenue for all conferences and independent institutions.
University presidents and chancellors from all 10 FBS conferences and Notre Dame serve on the College Football Playoff Board of Managers and govern the administrative operations, with commissioners (the management committee) managing the event. A small staff in the playoff office in Irving, Texas, carries out the day-to-day responsibilities.
A talented group of high-integrity individuals with experience as coaches, student-athletes, college administrators and journalists, along with sitting athletics directors, comprise the selection committee. Members of the committee are: Kirby Hocutt (chair), Barry Alvarez, Jeff Bower, Lloyd Carr, Herb Deromedi, Tom Jernstedt, Bobby Johnson, Jeff Long, Rob Mullens, Dan Radakovich, Condoleezza Rice, Steve Wieberg and Tyrone Willingham.
Selection Committee Responsibilities
- Rank the top 25 teams and assign the top four to semifinal sites.
- Assign teams to New Year’s bowls.
- Create competitive matchups.
- Attempt to avoid rematches of regular-season games and repeat appearances in specific bowls.
- Consider geography.
Participants in the New Year’s Bowls
Both participants in the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls are contracted outside the playoff arrangement (Big Ten and Pac-12 to Rose Bowl; SEC and Big 12 to Sugar Bowl; ACC to Orange Bowl against the highest ranked available team from the SEC, Big Ten and Notre Dame). If a conference champion qualifies for the playoff, then the bowl will choose a replacement from that conference. When those bowls host the semifinals and their contracted conference champions do not qualify, then the displaced champion(s) will play in one of the other New Year’s bowls.
When not hosting semifinals, the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls will welcome displaced conference champions and the top-ranked champion from a non-contract conference. The highest-ranked available teams will fill any other berths. The selection committee will make the pairings.