Playoff hopes: explaining the college football playoff system

Patrick Wiggins



The 2014 college football season brings with it a change that hasn’t been seen since 1998 when the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was created.


Until now, the top two teams in the BCS poll would play each other in the national championship game at the end of the season. This year marks the first time there will be a playoff series to decide who gets to play for the title.


Since Oct. 28, a 13-person selection committee has been releasing a top-25 poll and will continue to do so every week until Dec. 7.


The selection committee consists of men and women who have experience being coaches, student-athletes, administrators and journalists, as well as current directors of athletics.


According to, the playoff bracket was created to keep the college football regular season exciting, but also important, so that every game counts. The new postseason structure creates a four-team playoff that also keeps the regular season intact and allows everyone to still enjoy college football’s bowl tradition.


At the end of the season, the top four teams will form the playoff bracket, with numbers one and four playing each other, and numbers two and three playing each other. The winners will then move on to the national championship game.


This year, the playoff games are being hosted by the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Other bowls that will host playoff games in the future include the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and the Atlanta Bowl in Atlanta.


Whichever stadium the number one team is closer to will host the 1 vs. 4 matchup, while the other stadium will host the 2 vs. 3 matchup.


This year’s National Championship will be played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, home of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. In the future, the title game will be moved to Arizona in 2016 and to Tampa Bay, Fla. in 2017.