In 2014, the College Football Committee introduced a new way of deciding which teams are going to play for the National Championship. In early years, the teams that were going to play in the championship game was based of a committee of 65 broadcasters, writers and journalists who would all create a list of who they believed were the best 25 teams in the country. They started with who they thought was the best team in the country all the way to 25th best. Points were awarded to each team based off their spot in the rankings, the top two teams with the most points were given the opportunity to play for the championship. This system is known as the AP Poll.
The first year of using the AP Poll, a lot of controversy aroused as Minnesota was declared champions yet had lost a game while third ranked, Alabama, finished the season with no losses and one tie (back when games could end in a tie). Nonetheless, the AP stuck around and became the dominant way of determining the #1 team until 1997. The AP poll got some criticism in the middle and late 80’s as the emergence and utter domination of the University of Miami in Florida. Miami’s arrival caused other teams headaches as they took control of the rankings. The Hurricanes won 3 championships in the 1980’s including a trip to the championship game in ‘87.
In 1998, college football introduced a new ranking system to determine the top two teams. The AP Poll was still used to create rankings and influence the new system throughout the season. The Bowl Championship Series or BCS was a ranking that used six computers which were all monitored by representatives. The other three polls, the AP Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive Poll as well as the six computers gave in-depth analysis, that created a list of 25 teams which would become the BCS rankings. The first year of the BCS also saw a lot of controversy as the final two teams ended up being Tennessee vs. Florida State. Tennessee entered the game undefeated while Florida State walked in with a loss. The problem is third ranked Kansas State ended the regular season undefeated. The Wildcats lost in the conference championship game against a good 10th ranked Texas A&M team, while Florida State lost early in the year against North Carolina State who ended the season 7-5. The BCS Rankings, however, established that it could put the two best teams in the championship game as the Tennessee – Florida State game ended with the Vols winning by just 7 points. Kansas State lost their final game against a decent Purdue team, proving that the BCS put the correct teams in the Championship game.
The 2003 football season was an iconic season that cannot be skipped over. The end of the season saw two National Champions, Louisiana State(LSU) and Southern California(USC). Both teams ended the season conference champions with one loss. LSU received the opportunity to play against undisputed, undefeated Oklahoma. USC was left out and played the #4 team, Michigan in the Rose Bowl. USC defeated Michigan on New Year’s Day by a score of 28-14 and three days later LSU defeated Oklahoma 21-13. At the end of the National Championship, LSU ended up first in the coaches poll while USC ended up first in the AP Poll, because of this the BCS computer rankings had LSU and USC with the same amount of points, thus, ending in a tie. This was the first and only time there has been two Champions.
The BCS leads us all the way until 2014 when College Football was going to get a 4-team playoff bracket that ensured the best teams would play in the championship game. The rankings are constructed from a committee of former head coaches, university vice presidents, athletic directors, university chancellors, and reporters. The committee meets every Tuesday, starting with the last Tuesday of October all the way until the final rankings have been released on the first Tuesday of December.
The first ever playoff rankings had three SEC teams in the top four. Mississippi State, Auburn, and Ole Miss claimed the first, second, and fourth seed with Florida State sitting as the second best team in the country. At the time of the initial rankings the top four teams had a combined overall record of 27-2. As of now, those same four teams, just three years later, have a combined record of 23-16. Six weeks later only one team from the initial rankings made into the final rankings…Florida State. The final four teams that made it into the playoffs were: #1 Alabama, #2 Oregon, #3 Florida State, #4 Ohio State. The bracket had Alabama playing Ohio State and Oregon playing Florida State with the winners playing for the Championship game. The championship game ended up being #2 vs #4, Oregon vs Ohio State. Ohio State ended up prevailing as the king of College Football after knocking off Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide and then Heisman winner Marcus Mariota and the Ducks.
The Playoff rankings has temporarily satisfied the College Football community, ensuring that the games will be played between the best teams in the nation. Of course, controversy has aroused with a lot of fans wanting to expand the playoffs from four teams to eight teams or even 16 teams. The committee has not showed any signs of expanding but one thing is for sure, you never know what you’re gonna get with the playoffs.