Back in 2008 when the then President-Elect Obama was asked about college football and how they determine a national champion, he explained that an eight-team championship would be the ideal playoff.
College football has always been touted as having one of the most exciting and best regular seasons in sports as every game in the schedule counts. Unlike baseball, hockey, soccer, etc. where teams can afford to have an off-day, colleges football in the U.S. demands strong performances every single game to be successful. The criticized aspect, of course, being the single game championship and bias league favoritisms.
The BCS (Bowl Championship Series), which was instituted back in 1998, would rank teams from the six major college football conferences (Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, ACC, Big 10 and SEC) based on an average computer ranking (win-loss records, point differential and strength of schedule), a USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, giving each team a BCS score. The top 10 teams would then face each other in their respective bowls.
This style of ranking was originally introduced simply due to the time constraints of a tournament style playoff. One of the most successful, and popular, playoff schedules in sports is March Madness, but with the physical demands of football it is simply implausible to have teams play more than once a week, and having 64 teams it is just not possible to make this tournament style playoff work.
The new format for CFP (College Football Playoff) makes its debut this season, with the hopes of finding the best of both worlds. Keeping the intensity and excitement of the college football regular season, with a more balanced, prolonged playoff.
Kicking off on New Years Day 2015, there will be two semi-final games, one played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and the other played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. A week and a half later, on January 12th the world will watch the first ever College Football Playoff game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
After the 9th week of the College Football season, the 13-Member Selection Committee, made up of high-standing members of the college football community (athletic directors, former coaches and players, league commissioners, etc.) will have the difficult task of ranking the teams based on their records, opponents, points for and against, and much more.
The college football schedule is extremely limited in what they can do between academic schedules and selling the games to television networks, (if the playoffs were pushed back much further they would be competing with NFL playoffs). ESPN announced last year that they have acquired the rights to the College Football Playoff through to the 2025 season, which gives college football 11 years to give this new format the old college try... (see what I did there?)