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College Football Playoff scenarios

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
8:49
PM ET
PASADENA, Calif. -- In 2014, the College Football Playoff debuts with the Jan. 1, 2015 semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls.

The new four-team College Football Playoff will be different from the current BCS (Bowl Championship Series), most notably that four teams can compete for the national title and not two.

However, there are other differences between the BCS and the College Football Playoff system.
  • There will be six major bowls rotating as semifinal sites: Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach (formerly Chick-fil-A).
  • There will no longer be a limit on the number of teams from one conference that can be selected.
  • A selection committee, made up of 14-20 individuals, will seed, or rank, the teams that will play in the four-team playoff and the remaining four bowls.
  • When the Rose Bowl does not host a semifinal it will always be Big Ten versus Pac-12. The Sugar Bowl, in years it doesn’t host a semifinal, will always be SEC versus Big 12. The Orange Bowl, in the years it does not host a semifinal, will always be ACC versus the highest-ranked available team from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame.
  • The Big East no longer gets an automatic bid as it did in the BCS. However, the highest-rated champion from the Group of Five leagues (American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West and Sun Belt) will.

There are some other changes -- some major, some subtle -- with the new College Football Playoff.

One of the most significant differences is that which teams that play in the six major bowls will vary greatly by which bowls host the semifinals. Also the bowl matchups will be determined by the selection committee and not the bowls.

With all that in mind, here’s how the College Football Playoff bowl system would have looked based on last season's final BCS rankings and based on the different semifinal sites.

Semifinals at Rose, Sugar bowls

No. 1. Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Oregon

No. 2. Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida

Orange Bowl

No. 12 Florida State (ACC champ) vs. No. 7 Georgia (highest-ranked available team from SEC/Big Ten/Notre Dame)

Fiesta, Cotton, Peach bowls

Selection committee pairs the following six teams to the bowls based on geography and other factors:

No. 5 Kansas State (Big 12 champ)
No. 6 Stanford (Pac-12 champ)
No. 15 Northern Illinois (Group of Five highest-rated champ)
No. 26 Wisconsin (Big Ten champ)
No. 8 LSU (at-large)
No. 9 Texas A&M (at-large)

***

Semifinals at Orange, Cotton bowls

No. 1. Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Oregon

No. 2. Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida

Rose Bowl

No. 6 Stanford (Pac-12 champ) vs. No. 26 Wisconsin (Big Ten champ)

Sugar Bowl

No. 5 Kansas State (Big 12 champ) vs. No. 7 Georgia (highest-rated SEC team)

Fiesta, Peach bowls

Selection committee pairs the following four teams to the bowls based on geography and other factors:

No. 12 Florida State (ACC champ)
No. 15 Northern Illinois (Group of Five highest-rated champ)
No. 8 LSU (at-large)
No. 9 Texas A&M (at-large)

***

Semifinals at Fiesta, Peach bowls

No. 1. Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Oregon

No. 2. Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida

Rose Bowl

No. 6 Stanford (Pac-12 champ) vs. No. 26 Wisconsin (Big Ten champ)

Sugar Bowl

No. 5 Kansas State (Big 12 champ) vs. No. 7 Georgia (highest-rated SEC team)

Orange Bowl

No. 12 Florida State (ACC champ) vs. No. 8 LSU (highest-ranked available team from SEC/Big 10/Notre Dame)

Cotton Bowl

No. 15 Northern Illinois (Group of Five highest-rated champ) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (at-large)

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