CNN-National & Wolrd

College Football Playoff Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the College Football Playoff, a four-team seeded postseason format which began for the 2014 season and replaced the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

January 11, 2021 – The Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24 in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

January 13, 2020 – The Louisiana State University Tigers defeat the Clemson Tigers 42-25 in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Other Facts

The 13-member selection committee selects and seeds the four playoff teams. (Number 1 will play Number 4; Number 2 will play Number 3).

The two winning teams of the semifinal games advance to the title game, which determines the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football national champion.

This replaces the heavily criticized BCS postseason system, which ran from the 1998-2013 seasons and was often accused of unfairness relating to team selections.

According to the College Football Playoff, compared to the BCS, the “format increases revenue for all conferences and independent institutions.”

Revenue Distribution Policies

The College Football Playoff trophy, presented to the championship team, is handmade, stands 26.5 inches tall and is constructed from 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel.

The playoff is contracted from the 2014-15 season through at least the 2025-26 season.

Selection Committee

The committee members, which include athletic directors and former coaches and players, serve on staggered three-year terms.

The 13 Selection Committee Members

After the ninth week of regular season play, the selection committee begins ranking the top 25 teams on a weekly basis. The committee identifies and compares the top teams, then votes them into the rankings.

Towards the end of the regular season, selection weekend takes place, where the committee determines the playoff matchups.

The committee selects teams based on conference championship wins, overall win-loss records, strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and other criteria.

The selection committee is also responsible for choosing the teams which play in the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach Bowls in years those bowls are not hosting the semifinal games. (The Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls have previous existing contracts with conferences).

Members are recused from voting when “they or an immediate family member receives compensation from the school or has a professional relationship with that school.”

Bowl Game Locations

Semifinal playoff games rotate between the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl.

Cities interested in hosting the national championship game must submit a bid, in a process similar to bidding for a Super Bowl site.


June 26, 2012 – A BCS oversight committee of university presidents approves the four-team seeded postseason format presented by the BCS commissioners, to begin in the 2014 season and continue through the 2025 regular season (2026 bowl games).

November 21, 2012 – ESPN announces it has obtained the rights for the new college football playoffs from 2014 through the 2025 season.

April 23, 2013 – The College Football Playoff is announced as the name of the new system to replace the BCS.

October 16, 2013 – The names of the 13 members of the selection committee are announced.

January 6, 2014 – The final BCS National Championship game is played in Pasadena, California. The Florida State Seminoles beat the Auburn Tigers 34-31.

July 14, 2014 – The CFP National Championship trophy unveiled.

October 28, 2014 – The selection committee begins issuing weekly rankings for the top 25 teams.

December 6-7, 2014 – Selection weekend takes place. The committee releases the matchups for the inaugural playoff and for the other bowl games.

January 1, 2015 – The University of Oregon defeats Florida State University 59-20 in the 101st Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California. In the Sugar Bowl, The Ohio State University defeats University of Alabama 42-35, advancing to the first College Football Final against the Oregon Ducks in Arlington, Texas.

January 12, 2015 – The Ohio State Buckeyes defeat the Oregon Ducks 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship. 33.3 million viewers watched the championship game, making ESPN’s broadcast the largest audience in cable TV history.

Future National Championship Game Sites

2022 – Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
2023 – Los Angeles Stadium in Inglewood, California.
2024 – NRG Stadium in Houston.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Nolan Ryan Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, nicknamed “Ryan Express.” He played for 27 seasons, won 324 games, and was on the All-Star Team eight times.


Birth date: January 31, 1947

Birth place: Refugio, Texas

Birth name: Lynn Nolan Ryan Jr.

Father: Lynn Nolan Ryan Sr., supervisor at Stanton Oil Company

Mother: Martha Lee (Hancock) Ryan, homemaker

Marriage: Ruth (Holdorff) Ryan (June 26, 1967-present)

Children: Wendy, Nolan “Reese” and Robert “Reid”

Military Service: US Army Reserves, 1967

Other Facts

Major League Baseball pitcher for 27 seasons, with the New York Mets, the California Angels, the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.

Ryan holds records for career strikeouts, 5,714, and career no-hitters, seven.

His uniform numbers have been retired by three different teams: the Angels, the Astros and the Rangers.

Ryan was known for soaking his fingers in pickle juice in order to treat and avoid getting blisters.

Co-owns two minor league baseball teams, the AAA-team Round Rock Express and the AA-team Corpus Christi Hooks.

Raises Beefmaster cattle in Texas. Beefmasters, bred to survive the summers of South Texas, are a three-way cross between Brahman, Hereford and Shorthorn breeds.

He and his wife, Ruth, were high school sweethearts.

Ryan played football in high school, until a “head-on collision with future NFL running back Norm Bulaich changed his mind.


June 1965 – Ryan is the 226th pick in the twelfth round of the MLB Amateur Draft by the New York Mets.

September 11, 1966 – Ryan’s major-league debut, at Shea Stadium, in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves win 8-3.

1967 – Completes six months of basic training in the Army Reserves.

October 14, 1969 – Is the relief pitcher for Game Three of the World Series, shutting out the Baltimore Orioles to help the Mets break the series tie, to lead two games to one. The Mets go on to win the World Series four games to one, earning Ryan his only World Series Championship.

1970 – Buys his first ranch, in Gonzales, Texas.

December 10, 1971 – The Mets trade Ryan to the California Angels.

May 15, 1973 – Pitches his first career no-hitter, striking out 12 Kansas City Royals at Royals Stadium. The Angels win 3-0.

August 20, 1974 – Enters The Guinness Book of World Records with the fastest pitch, 100.9 mph, during a game between the Angels and the Detroit Tigers at Anaheim Stadium. The Tigers win 1-0. The record holds until September 24, 2010.

November 19, 1979 – As a free-agent, he signs a four-year, $4.5 million contract with the Houston Astros, making him the highest paid MLB player at the time.

April 27, 1983 – Earns his 3,509th strikeout to surpass Walter Johnson’s 1927 all-time strikeout record.

December 7, 1988 – As a free-agent, he signs with the Texas Rangers.

August 22, 1989 – Strikes out Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics for his 5,000th strikeout.

1990 – The Nolan Ryan Foundation is formed.

May 1, 1991 – Throws his seventh and final no-hitter, an MLB record. The Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 at Arlington Stadium.

September 22, 1993 – Pitches his last MLB game, Rangers at Seattle Mariners in the Kingdome. The Mariners win 7-4.

1994-2004 – Special assistant to the president of the Texas Rangers.

January 5, 1999 – In his first year of eligibility, Ryan is selected for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

April 2000 – Undergoes emergency double bypass surgery.

May 2000 – Nolan Ryan Beef, the label for beef grown and sold on Ryan’s ranch, is first sold in Texas markets.

2004-2008 – Special assistant to the Astros General Manager Tim Purpura.

February 8, 2008-March 10, 2011 – President of the Texas Rangers.

August 2010-October 2013 – Part-owner of the Texas Rangers.

March 11, 2011-October 31, 2013 – President and CEO of the Texas Rangers.

February 11, 2014-November 2019 – Executive adviser for the Houston Astros.

May 2014 – His cookbook, “The Nolan Ryan Beef & Barbecue Cookbook: Recipes from a Texas Kitchen,” is published.

November 30, 2016 – Ryan, along with other retired MLB All-Stars including Barry Larkin and David Ortiz, announces the creation of Dugout Ventures, a private equity group focused on baseball-related brands and companies.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Paul Simon Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of singer-songwriter Paul Simon.


Birth date: October 13, 1941

Birth place: Newark, New Jersey

Birth name: Paul Frederic Simon

Father: Louis Simon, college professor and professional musician

Mother: Belle Simon, elementary school teacher

Marriages: Edie Brickell (May 1992-present), Carrie Fisher (August 1983-July 1984, divorced), Peggy Harper (1969-1975, divorced)

Children: with Edie Brickell: Gabriel Elijah, 1998; Lulu Belle, 1995; Adrian Edward, 1992; with Peggy Harper: Harper James, 1972

Education: Queens College, B.A., 1963; briefly attended Brooklyn Law School

Other Facts

Was one half of the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel.

Nominated for 35 and winner of 16 Grammy Awards, and recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.

Simon and Art Garfunkel were classmates, and met at age 11.

Simon was a high school baseball star.

He wrote the song “He Was My Brother” about the death of Andrew Goodman, a college classmate and civil rights worker who was murdered in Mississippi in 1964.

Simon has fundraised for AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa, Autism Speaks and The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.


1957-1959 – Simon and Garfunkel perform together as Tom and Jerry. While still in high school, their single, “Hey, Schoolgirl,” sells more than 100,000 copies. The duo separates to attend college.

1964 – They reunite and perform together as Simon and Garfunkel, obtaining a recording contract with Columbia.

1965 – Simon releases his first solo studio album, “The Paul Simon Songbook.”

1967 – Simon and Garfunkel material makes up nearly the entire soundtrack for the film, “The Graduate.”

1970 – Release “Bridge over Troubled Water.” The duo break up after the album’s release.

1972 – Releases his first album post-breakup, “Paul Simon,” which includes the single “Mother and Child Reunion.”

1980 – Stars in “One-Trick Pony,” for which he also wrote the screenplay and soundtrack.

September 19, 1981 – Simon and Garfunkel reunite for a free concert in Central Park.

1985 – Simon travels to Johannesburg and records with South African musicians. This trip is controversial due to apartheid; there is a UN-instituted cultural boycott of the nation.

1986 – Releases the album “Graceland,” the culmination of his work in South Africa.

1987 – Simon co-founds Children’s Health Fund with Irwin Redlener.

January 17, 1990 – Simon and Garfunkel are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a duo.

October 1990 – Releases the album “The Rhythm of the Saints,” which blends Brazilian drums and African guitars.

1992 – After the United Nations lifts the cultural boycott against South Africa, Simon goes back to perform despite political tensions and a grenade attack outside the tour promoter’s office. His trip has support from Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, but minority groups protest, claiming that apartheid has not been sufficiently deconstructed.

1990s – Spends seven years writing the 36-song score for the Broadway musical, “The Capeman.” He also produces the musical, which premieres in 1998.

1999 – Tours with Bob Dylan.

March 19, 2001 – Simon is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.

2002 – Receives Kennedy Center Honors.

2003 – Simon and Garfunkel receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

2006 – Time Magazine lists him as one of the “100 People Who Shape our World.”

2007 – Receives the first ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.

2011 – Simon is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

April 26, 2014 – Simon and wife Edie Brickell are arrested at their home in New Canaan, Connecticut, and charged with disorderly conduct after a family dispute. They are released the following morning.

June 17, 2014 – The prosecutor drops domestic violence charges against Simon and Brickell.

October 30, 2014 – An exhibit of Simon’s life and career debuts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

November 5, 2014 – Publisher Simon & Schuster announces that Simon is collaborating with author Robert Hilburn for a planned biography about his life and musical career.

June 2016 – Simon releases his 13th solo studio album, “Stranger to Stranger.”

February 5, 2018 – Simon announces that his upcoming tour will be his last.