What is the College Football Playoff? Format and how the tournament that defines the university champion works

Unlike what happens, for example, in college basketball with his march madnessthe NCAA football has a much narrower definition, with barely three parties to define the winner of each season. The system? The College Football Playoffs.

Here’s a review on how does this CFB workwhich universities are ranked and how their place among the best of the year is decided.

What is the College Football Playoff format and how does it work?

The College Football Playoffs is the tournament adopted by the ncaa from the year 2014 to define the division 1 champion of his football competition. The format has remained intact since its first edition, always with four ranked universitiesfacing each other (1st vs. 4th and 2nd vs. 3rd) in the semifinals, to later collide in the national title match.

The selected universities usually arise from one of the five conferences traditionally known as the Power Five (“The powerful five”): ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Although the teams of the American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt are also eligible.

How are the four Playoff participants chosen? This responsibility falls on a committee made up of 12 members, among which appear sports directors, former coaches and former players. The first four places in the ranking arising from the vote of this committee dispute the College Football Playoff.

The predilection for the universities of the power five above the rest generates some controversial situations and for many even unfair, in which teams that have finished the year undefeated may, for example, not be chosen for the Playoff. This has happened multiple times in recent seasons, including Western Michigan (13-0) in 2016-2017, a UCF who finished with a 12-0 mark in two consecutive seasons (2017-2018 and 2018-2019) or a Coastal Carolina who finished 2020-2021 with a record of 11-0.

In fact, the only university outside power five that has been selected for the Playoff was cincinnati (member of the American Athletic Conference) in the 2021-2022 season, when they fell in the semifinals against Alabama 27-6.

In addition to defining the national champion, the CFP semifinals count as one of the six most traditional bowls in college football: they rotate year by year between the Cotton Bowlthe party bowlthe Orange Bowlthe Peach Bowlthe Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

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What is the College Football Playoff? Format and how the tournament that defines the university champion works