Here's a look at what you need to know about the college football Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) consists of five games: the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Rose Bowl Game, the Sugar Bowl and the BCS National Championship Game that is played at one of the bowl sites on a rotating basis.
Beginning in the 2014 season, a four-team seeded playoff plan for college football will be instituted, called the College Football Playoff.
Designed to match up the top two teams in the BCS standings.
Also determines any other automatic qualifiers and teams eligible for at-large selection to play in the participating BCS bowl games.
The BCS is not based on a playoff system but instead ranks teams based upon the USA Today Coaches Poll, Harris Interactive College Football Poll and an average of six computer rankings.
- Each component contributes one-third to a team's overall BCS score.
- Each of the six computer ranking systems takes into account overall win-loss record, point differential and strength of schedule.
Automatic Qualifying (AQ) conferences: the Atlantic Coast (ACC), Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific-12 and Southeastern (SEC).
Non-Automatic Qualifying (non-AQ) conferences: Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic (WAC).
Notre Dame is considered independent and receives an automatic berth if it finishes in the top eight in BCS standings.
Criticism of the BCS:
Faced criticism from public figures including President Barack Obama, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Teams in the six major, or AQ, conferences seem to have an unfair advantage over teams in the non-AQ conferences.
- Ten teams from non-AQ conferences have gone undefeated and not played in the championship game.
Disparities in revenue sharing among the AQ and non-AQ conferences. A school appearing in a BCS bowl game earns $2 million on average, with each AQ conference guaranteed at least one BCS representative.
- For the 2010-2011 season, the five non-AQ conferences received a net revenue of about $24.72 million while the six AQ conferences received a net revenue of about $145.2 million. (BCS)
1902 - The first bowl game, the precursor to the Rose Bowl, is played in Pasadena, California, by Stanford and Michigan. Michigan wins by a score of 49 to 0.
1992 - Five conferences and Notre Dame form the Bowl Coalition to help coordinate a meeting of the top two teams in the national championship.
1995 - The Bowl Coalition becomes the Bowl Alliance, improving upon the previous system.
1997 - The Rose Bowl joins the Alliance with the condition that it hosts the national championship in rotation with the other bowl games.
1998 - The Bowl Championship Series is created, along with a ranking formula of two human polls, three computer rankings and a strength of schedule component.
2005 - Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) calls a hearing on the BCS before a subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce committee. No legislation results from the hearing.
2006-2007 season - A fifth BCS bowl game, the National Championship Game, is added.
April 2008 - Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Georgia) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) introduce the NCAA Football Championship Equity Resolution, which states that the BCS is unfair and a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act under the Rule of Reason test.
November 16, 2008 - In a 60 Minutes interview, President-elect Obama says that he "will throw [his] weight around a little bit" to promote an eight-team playoff system in place of the BCS.
November 18, 2008 - ESPN outbids Fox Sports for exclusive television, radio, digital, international and marketing rights for the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar Bowls and championship game from 2011-2014.
- Under a previous agreement, ABC continues to broadcast the Rose Bowl through 2014.
January 9, 2009 - Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) introduces H.R. 390, or the College Football Playoff Act of 2009. Though passed by a voice vote in subcommittee, no other action results.
January 9, 2009 - Referencing the most recent championship game, President Obama reiterates his preference for a playoff system instead of the BCS system.
July 2009 - Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) conducts a senate subcommittee hearing about possible antitrust violations by the BCS.
October 2009 - In a letter to President Obama, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asks the Justice Department to investigate the BCS.
January 29, 2010 - In response to Hatch's letter, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich writes that the Obama administration is considering a probe into the legality of the BCS.
March 9, 2011 - Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Max Baucus (D-Montana) write a letter to Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS, and ask for a thorough accounting of the BCS system.
April 2011 - Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff pledges to file an antitrust suit against the BCS.
May 3, 2011 - In a letter to the NCAA, the Justice Dept. says that it has opened an antitrust inquiry into the current BCS system.
May 18, 2011 - Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, tells the Justice Dept. to direct their questions to the BCS, as "the NCAA has no role to play in the BCS or BCS system."
May 20, 2011 - In response to Baucus and Hatch's March letter, Bill Hancock writes that "decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress."
June 2011 - Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader re-launches the League of Fans, a sports reform and advocacy project, and pledges to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS.
June 6, 2011 - The University of Southern California is stripped of its 2004 national title by the BCS after USC's appeal of NCAA sanctions is denied.
December 4, 2011 - The BCS announces that LSU will face Alabama in the championship game, the first time since the BCS began in 1998 that teams from the same conference will play for the title. Alabama Crimson Tide later defeats the Louisiana State University Tigers 21-0.
June 26, 2012 - An oversight committee of university presidents approves the four-team seeded playoff plan presented by the BCS commissioners, to begin in the 2014 season.
November 21, 2012 - ESPN announces it obtained the rights for the new college football playoffs from 2014 through the 2025 regular season (2026 bowl games).
April 23, 2013 - The College Football Playoff is announced as the name of the new system to replace the BCS.