College Football Playoff Fast Facts


Here’s a look at the College Football Playoff, a seeded postseason format that began in the 2014 season and replaced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

January 8, 2024 – The Michigan Wolverines will face the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff National Championship game in Houston.

January 1, 2024 – The two semi-final games take place. The No. 1 Michigan Wolverines beat the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime 27-20 in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and the No. 2 Washington Huskies defeated the No. 3 Texas Longhorns 37-31 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

January 9, 2023 – The College Football Playoff National Championship game takes place in Los Angeles. The Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (TCU) 65-7 to capture their second consecutive national title.

The 13-member selection committee selects and places the four playoff teams. (No. 1 will play against number 4; number 2 will play against number 3).

The two winning teams from the semifinal games advance to the title game, which determines the national college football champion of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

This replaces the much-criticized BCS postseason system, which ran between the 1998 and 2013 seasons and was often accused of unfairness regarding team selections.

According to the College Football Playoff, compared to the BCS, “the format increases revenue for all conferences and independent institutions.”

Income distribution policies

The College Football Playoff trophy, presented to the championship team, is handcrafted, measures 26.5 inches tall and is constructed of 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel.

The playoff is contracted from the 2014-15 season until at least the 2025-26 season.

Committee members, who include athletic directors and former coaches and players, serve staggered three-year terms.

The 13 members of the selection committee

After the ninth week of the regular season, the selection committee begins weekly ranking of the top 25 teams. The committee identifies and compares the best teams and then votes for them to be included in the rankings.

Towards the end of the regular season, selection weekend takes place, where the committee determines the playoff matchups.

The committee selects teams based on conference championship wins, overall win-loss records, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and other criteria.

The selection committee is also responsible for choosing teams that play in the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls in years when those bowls do not host semifinal games. (The Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls have previous contracts with conferences.)

Members cannot vote when “they or a member of their immediate family receive compensation from the school or have a professional relationship with that school.”

Playoff semifinal games rotate between the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

Cities interested in hosting the national championship must submit a bid, in a process similar to bidding for a Super Bowl site.

June 26, 2012 – An oversight committee of BCS college presidents approves the four-seeded team postseason format presented by BCS commissioners, to begin in the 2014 season and continue through the 2025 regular season (2026 bowl games).

November 21, 2012 – ESPN announces that it has obtained the rights to the new college football playoffs from 2014 through the 2025 season.

April 23, 2013 – College Football Playoff is announced as the name of the new system that will replace the BCS.

October 16, 2013 – The names of the 13 members of the selection committee are announced.

January 6, 2014 – The final game of the BCS National Championship is played in Pasadena, California. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31.

July 14, 2014 – CFP National Championship trophy unveiled.

October 28, 2014 – The selection committee begins publishing weekly rankings for the top 25 teams.

December 6 and 7, 2014 – Selection weekend takes place. The committee publishes the matchups for the inaugural playoff and for the other bowl games.

January 1, 2015 – The University of Oregon defeats Florida State University 59-20 in the 101st game of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. In the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State University defeats the University of Alabama 42-35, advancing to the first-ever college football final against the Oregon Ducks in Arlington, Texas.

January 12, 2015 – The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff championship. 33.3 million viewers watched the championship game, making the ESPN broadcast the largest audience in cable television history.

December 1, 2022 – The tournament board of directors agrees to expand the playoff field from four to 12 teams, starting with the 2024-2025 season.

December 3, 2023 – Florida State (13-0) finishes at No. 5 in the final standings and missed the playoffs. The Seminoles are the first undefeated team from a major Power-5 conference to be excluded from the playoffs since their inception in 2014.

2025 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta
2026 – Miami Hard Rock Stadium

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