12/19/2012 12:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How Does the NCAA D1A Football Championship Work?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Jonathan Brill, VP of Sales at a Software Start-Up

There's technically no such thing as an NCAA D1A football championship anymore, because D1A has been renamed Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision.

It basically works like this:

  • There are 120 member teams
  • There are 5 BCS bowls, including 1 BCS championship game
  • The championship game will feature the first and second ranked schools
  • The other games don't really matter, but they bring large cash prizes and recognition for the participating schools, so they're thought of as important

  • Schools are ranked by the BCS, which uses a highly controversial formula
  • Whichever team wins the championship game is the BCS champion and is pretty much accepted as the National Champion (although that title is granted separately, by the associated press, which ranking does not have anything to do with the BCS ranking)

  • This year the championship game will be played in Miami on January 7. It will feature Notre Dame vs Alabama

But starting two years from now it won't work this way. Surprise! There will be a four team playoff to determine the champion.

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