- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

Major college football finally has a playoff. It’s called the College Football Playoff.


Here’s how it will work and what you need to know.


Those involved in putting the playoff together and now managing it cringe when it’s suggested that the new system is BCS 2.0, but to understand how it works, it helps to keep in mind how the Bowl Championship Series worked.

In the BCS, there were four, and then later five games played each season. Only one, the national championship game, had anything to do with the national championship.

The others were glitzy bowl games played in showcase stadiums that - hopefully - had compelling matchups. Six conferences had automatic bids to those games, and other teams could earn automatic entry.

The new system will have a total of seven games, including two national semifinals and a final that will determine the champion. The four other games will be glitzy bowl games played in showcase stadiums that - hopefully - will have compelling matchups. There will no longer be automatic bids for six conference champions, as was the case for the BCS. Now five conferences (the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Pac-12) each have guaranteed a spot for their champions in either the semifinals or one of the four glitzy bowls. There will also be a guaranteed spot for the best team from the five FBS conferences (American Athletic Conference, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and Mid-American).


A 13-member selection committee will pick the teams to play in the semifinals, and set some of the matchups in those other bowl games. The committee will also release a weekly top 25 starting, Oct. 21. On Dec. 7, the matchups will be revealed.

The committee members:

-Chairman Jeff Long, athletic director, Arkansas

-Barry Alvarez, athletic director, Wisconsin.

-Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, former superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy.

-Pat Haden, athletic director, Southern California.

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