Everything you need to know about the College Football Playoff
The commissioners have met in Pasadena for the past few days and finalized every piece of information that will be finalized about the upcoming four-team playoff. Here's what we know at this point.
Who: The top four college football teams in America, as chosen by a selection committee. The "who" of that committee has yet to be determined, although common knowledge indicates it will be a group of 15-to-20 athletic directors, former coaches and the like. Each of the five power conferences will get to submit a list of names, from which the powers that be will form a committee. Executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday that, in lieu of weekly BCS standings, the committee will release a set of standings three or four times per season.
What: The playoff will officially be known as College Football Playoff. What the name lacks in creativity, it more than makes up for in versatility. Nowhere in the name will you find any sort of scope on the playoff - it doesn't claim to give a way a championship, like the Bowl Championship Series did, it doesn't claim to represent any sort level of the sport, the letters N, C, A and A are absent, and there's no number, so nothing will need to be changed should the field change down the road. It's simply a playoff of college football teams. Worth nothing in the life and times that we live in is that College Football Playoff is also perfectly equipped for search engine optimization. When someone consults Google to learn more about the college football playoff, the College Football Playoff will be the first link they see.
When: Starting at the end of next season and continuing through 2026(?), the semifinals and host bowls will lay claim to New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, provided neither of those days fall on a Sunday. The new system offers back-to-back triple-headers, and more often than not the actual semifinals will fall on New Year's Eve. The championship game will take place the following Monday (the day after NFL Wild Card weekend concludes), which in the first cycle will be Jan. 12, 2015.
Where: That's what was officially finalized on Wednesday. The Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls were already part of the process, and yesterday the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach (which will officially revert away from Chick-fil-A to gain inclusion into the process) joined the party as well. The Rose and Sugar bowls will host semifinals in the same year, while the Orange and Cotton will partner up and the Fiesta and Peach will take the remaining spot in the cycle. The Rose and Sugar bowls will always be on New Year's afternoon and night regardless of whether or not they're hosting a semifinal in a given year, so that means in two out of every three years the semifinals will be on New Year's Eve.
The championship game is open to bid on an annual basis. Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will host the inaugural College Football Championship, and those on the ground in Pasadena place Tampa as a heavy favorite to get the game in 2016 or 2017. The powers that be stated sights for the 2016 and 2017 title games could be chosen in September.
In the first year of the cycle, the Peach, Orange and Fiesta bowls will be played on Dec. 31, 2014, while the Cotton, Rose and Sugar (the latter two being semifinals) will be played the following day.
Why: There are a myriad of reasons for this, but the most forefront is that the commissioners finally realized it was really tough for fans and students to attend a BCS game on a Wednesday night after the holidays were over.
How: The committee will announce the top four teams (along with their complete rankings) on the Sunday after the conference championship games. The Nos. 1 and 2 teams are guaranteed to not be at a geographic disadvantage. For instance, in a year where the Rose and Sugar bowls host the semifinals, a No. 3 LSU would not be in the Sugar Bowl. The committee smartly placed one bowl on each side of the country in each slot of the rotation.