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Friday, January 8, 2010
Updated: October 1, 7:09 PM ET
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The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is a five-game showcase of college football. It is designed to ensure that the two top-rated teams in the country meet in the national championship game, and to create exciting and competitive matchups among eight other highly regarded teams in four other bowl games.

It has been undeniably successful in achieving those goals. Thanks to the BCS, the top two teams have played each other 15 times in 15 years by BCS measurements and 12 times in the last 15 according to the AP poll -- including the last nine years in a row. Additionally, it has provided more access to the major bowls for all eleven conferences, more television exposure, and more postseason revenue than ever before.

The five bowl games are the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl presented by VISIO, Allstate Sugar Bowl and Allstate BCS National Championship Game that is played at one of the bowl sites.

The BCS is not an entity. Instead, it is an event managed by the 10 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision conferences -- all of them "BCS Conferences" -- and the University of Notre Dame. The conferences are American Athletic, Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Pac-12 and Southeastern.

Representing their constituents, the conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletics director make decisions regarding all BCS matters, in consultation with an athletics directors advisory group and subject to the approval of a presidential oversight committee whose members represent all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) programs. All eleven conferences are represented on the Presidential Oversight Committee and the athletics directors advisory group. For more information about governance, click here.

The BCS games are operated by community-based organizations in each of the host cities. In addition, there are 30 other postseason bowls, which are managed independently by entities in 27 cities around the nation and in Canada. All bowl games provide meaningful season-ending opportunities to student-athletes, other students such as band members and cheerleaders, fans, alumni and the schools themselves.

This robust system of post-season bowl games offers rewards for teams and places a great premium on the regular season. Football weekends are an important ingredient in the overall college experience -- going well beyond simply what occurs in the athletics department. For many institutions, a significant amount of the revenue that supports all athletic programs is generated by regular-season football. Regular-season football weekends also permit universities, alumni, and other supporters of higher education to build and maintain close and lasting relationships. A thriving bowl structure helps ensure that the regular season remains strong and vibrant.