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