College football has entered a new four-team playoff era. The format is simple: the best four teams, two semifinals played in bowl games and a championship game played in a different city each year. It’s the biggest innovation in the sport in decades.
Every Game Counts
The new playoff preserves the excitement and significance of college football’s unique regular season where every game counts.
The Best Four Teams
The selection committee will choose the four teams for the playoff based on strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents, championships won and other factors.
Best of All Worlds
The new postseason structure creates an exciting four-team playoff that preserves the best regular season in sports and protects America’s rich bowl tradition. It does not go too far; it goes just the right distance and respects the academic calendar while limiting the number of games played by student-athletes.
A New Year’s Spectacular
Fans will enjoy back-to-back triple headers. Two semifinals and four other premier bowl games will be played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Those holidays will belong to college football. Semifinal games will rotate among six different bowls, extending the experience to more fans.
The championship game will be on Monday night every year.
Every FBS team has equal access to the playoff based on its performance. No team will qualify automatically.
The popularity of the new format will increase revenue for all conferences and independent institutions.
The FBS Conferences Manage the College Football Playoff
The FBS conferences manage the College Football Playoff. All 10 conferences are members of the new entity–CFP Administration, LLC. University presidents and chancellors from all 10 conferences and Notre Dame form the Board of Managers and govern the administrative operations, with commissioners (the Management Committee) managing the event with guidance from an advisory group of athletics directors. A small staff in the playoff office in Irving, Texas, carries out the detailed responsibilities.
A talented group of high-integrity individuals with experience as coaches, student-athletes, collegiate administrators and journalists, along with sitting athletics directors, comprise the selection committee. The group will create rankings seven times each year. The members of the selection committee are: Jeff Long (chair), Barry Alvarez, Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Tom Jernstedt, Oliver Luck, Archie Manning*, Tom Osborne, Dan Radakovich, Condoleezza Rice, Mike Tranghese, Steve Wieberg and Tyrone Willingham.
*On health-related leave of absence for the 2014 regular reason.
Selection Committee Responsibilities
- Select the top four teams for the playoff, rank them and assign them to semifinal sites.
- Rank the next group of teams to play in other New Year’s bowls if berth are available.
- Select the highest-ranked champion from the five conferences without New Year’s bowl contracts.
- Assign teams to New Year’s bowls
- Create competitive matchups
- Attempt to avoid rematches of regular-season games and repeat appearances
- 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 the other New Year’s bowls.
The Fiesta, Cotton and Peach Bowls will host 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.