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Teams Battle for Spot in Inaugural College Football Playoff

After 15 years of scrutiny and what ifs, the NCAA finally abolished the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and created what the fans called for: a playoff. While the idea of an eight and sixteen-team playoff were explored, the NCAA decided to start the inaugural College Football Playoff with just four teams.

Luke Brown
Assistant Online Editor





Photo Courtesy: Condoleezza Rice Facebook Page
Photo Courtesy: Condoleezza Rice Facebook Page

After 15 years of scrutiny and what ifs, the NCAA finally abolished the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and created what the fans called for: a playoff. While the idea of an eight and sixteen-team playoff were explored, the NCAA decided to start the inaugural College Football Playoff with just four teams.

A four-team playoff means there will be two rounds: a semifinal followed by a championship. What is a mystery to many, however, is how exactly the location of the games and the four teams will be selected.

Both semifinal matchups will be played on Jan. 1, with one being in the historical Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. and the other in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La. The committee will determine the location of each game based on home-field advantage and disadvantage, familiarity to the host city, and convenience of travel for fans. The No. 1 seed will receive preferential treatment in regards to these criteria.

The National Championship will be on Jan. 12 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.

In the upcoming years the Cotton Bowl in Dallas; Peach Bowl in Atlanta; Orange Bowl in Miami; and Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. will experience the action, as the semifinals will rotate between them.

Jeff Long, who is the vice chancellor and director of athletics for the University of Arkansas, is the chairman of the 13-person committee. The committee features faces with a variety of backgrounds including former college football players and coaches, former college football reporters, a former superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, director of athletics at universities, among others qualifications.

The lone woman on the committee is former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Currently she is a Stanford University professor. Once the first selection committee was announced on Oct. 16, 2013, Rice was criticized for not being knowledgeable enough to earn a spot, despite having been named the “Most Powerful Woman in the World” twice by Forbes Magazine and one of Time magazines “100 Most Influential People” four times.

In an article titled “Condi Rice talks committee ins, outs” on, which was written by college football writer Heather Dinich, she addressed concerns by saying, “Look, the fact is that there are several members of this committee that didn’t play football. I didn’t play football because I’m a female, but there are some who just didn’t play football. I’m finding that the committee, it’s great because we all bring different strengths and approaches and experiences to what we’re doing.”

The article, which was published on Oct. 8, 2014, notes that she watches about 14 or 15 games each week, in addition to watching highlights and looking at stats. She’s so dedicated that if the Stanford Cardinals have a home game, she will watch games on her iPad at the stadium.

Many have called for a betting handicapper to be placed in the committee, but this doesn’t seem likely because of the NCAA’s ignorance of sports betting. Nonetheless, the preciseness of many betting line spreads intrigues the idea.

The committee has met every Monday and Tuesday since Oct. 27 and 28. They will meet for the final time Friday-Sunday, Dec. 5-7.

How exactly do 13-people, many of whom have affiliations and significant ties to colleges and universities across the country, pick the best of the best?

At the beginning of each meeting the selection committee selects a pool of teams to be considered and then they begin to rank the teams. Each member is able to set his or her own qualitative and quantitative characteristics that he or she finds imperative in determining the top four teams and furthermore the top 25.

There is just one week left in the college football season, but if the season were to conclude today, No. 1 University of Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) would face off against the reigning National Champions in No. 4 Florida State University Seminoles (12-0). This intriguing matchup would feature the last three college football champions, as the Seminoles won in 2013, and the Tide won in 2011 and 2012.

The winner of this marquee matchup would face the winner of No. 2 Oregon Ducks (11-1) versus No. 3 Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (10-1) for the championship.

A big weekend is in store for these four programs and those on the outside looking in. Alabama, Oregon, and Florida State will all play in their conference tournament.

TCU will host unranked Iowa State University Cyclones (2-9), as the Big 12 Conference does not have a championship game.

The Crimson Tide will face No. 16 University of Missouri Tigers (10-2) for the SEC Championship.

The Ducks will face No. 7 University of Arizona Wildcats (10-2) for the Pac-12 Championship. Oregon lost to Arizona earlier this season, 31-24. A win for Arizona would not only give them a their seventh conference championship (first in the Pac 12) and first since 1993, but it is likely to boot Oregon out and may sneak Arizona in to the top four.

Florida State looks to win their second straight ACC Championship when they take on No. 11 Georgia Tech (10-2).

No. 5 Ohio State University Buckeyes (11-1), No. 6 Baylor University Bears (10-1), and Arizona have the best chance of sneaking into the playoff.

Ohio State will play No. 13 University of Wisconsin (10-2) for the Big 10 Championship. Sophomore third string quarterback Cardale Jones will get his first career start for the Buckeyes.

Baylor will host No. 9 Kansas State University Wildcats (9-2). Many fans and analysts think Baylor will leap TCU in the rankings with a win this weekend because Baylor won the teams’ head-to-head, 61-58, on Oct. 11.

If the Bears and Horned Frogs win their respective games, they will be considered co-Big 12 Champions.

All questions will be answered when the final ranksings come out on Sunday, Dec. 7.

Luke Brown can be reached at

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