College football is changing, and the season has barely stared. This year in college football, the post-season will look a lot different, and the procedure may be something you need to wrap your head around.
The College Football Playoff
This year, there will be four playoff spots up for grabs at the end of the year, and the teams that fill these spots will be determined by a committee. This year, the 13-member committee has already been established, and starting in October, the College Football Playoff committee will start to release its own ranking of teams so that fans will know which teams are currently in the running for earning one of the four spots.
This season, the two semi-final games will be played at both the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, with the winners of both Bowls playing against each other the following week for the very first College Football Playoff National Championship.
Next year, the same format will take place, but the two semi-final games will take place at the Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. In 2016, these semi-final games will take place at the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl. In 2017, the rotation will start all over again. Each one of these semi-final games will be held on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Towards the end of the season, the committee will fill the four semi-final games with the best four teams, and the remaining bowl games will be filled in with the other good leftover teams.
Another difference this year is the addition of guaranteed bowl spots. The highest ranked champion from the Conference USA, Mountain West Conference, American Athletic Conference, the MAC, or the Sunbelt Conference will have a guaranteed spot in the Bowl. This means that the regular season record is more important now than it ever has been in the past.
Since a team’s ranking will be based on their record, whether they were conference champs, the strength of their schedule, and other factors, it’s very important for coaches to keep their teams healthy and to create the best possible lineup.
The Group of Five and the Power Five
With the addition of the new playoff arrangement comes the addition of new phrases: the Group of Five and the Power Five. The Power Five refers to the top five conferences in college football: Big 12, Pac 12, Big Ten, ACC, and SEC. The Group of Five refers to the remaining conferences in college football. The Navy and Army are considered a part of the Group of Five, but Notre Dame made its way into the Power Five.
The College Football Playoff committee is made up of 13 people, and each individual will serve a three-year term. To be a member of the committee, an individual must fit into one of the five following categories: coaches, student-athletes, media members, administrators, and athletic directors. Current coaches, media members, and commissioners are unable to serve on the committee.
The committee will rank the top 25 teams, and every week, they will administer their new ranking. This ranking is what will determine the teams in the College Football Playoff semi-final bowls, as well as the other bowls.