The Bowl Championship Series
College Football’s National Championship
Explanation of the BCS Bowls
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is a collective of five bowl games held in January. The Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl continue long traditions of holding important college football match ups, and a fifth BCS National Championship Game is held between the two teams the BCS rankings elect as top in the country.
Every year the championship game rotates between four traditional bowl sites in a “double hosting” format — one of the sites hosting its traditional bowl and the National Championship Game. The sites are; the Orange Bowl, held in Florida; the Rose Bowl, held in Pasadena, California; the Fiesta Bowl, held in Glendale, Arizona, and the Sugar Bowl, normally held in New Orleans.
During the 2013-14 season, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena will hold both the traditional Rose Bowl and the 2014 BCS National Championship Game.
With five BCS bowl games scheduled, 10 spots are available for teams wishing to compete in BCS bowls. As in prior years, the champions of the ACC, American Athletic Conference (formerly the Big East), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC shall receive automatic bids to one BCS bowl.
The four original BCS bowls hold contracts with certain BCS conferences to choose that conference’s champion. If those contracts cannot be honored, and the bowl loses its first pick to the National Championship Game, that bowl will receive first choice when picking from among other BCS bowl eligible teams. The contracts are as follows:
Orange Bowl — Atlantic Coast Conference
Rose Bowl — Big Ten vs. Pac-12
Fiesta Bowl — Big 12
Sugar Bowl — Southeastern Conference
Six teams receive automatic bids as conference champions, leaving four “at-large” bids for the BCS bowls to fill, which are chosen in a “draft” format. Teams will be eligible for selection if they finish the season ranked in the top 14 in the final BCS standings and have at least nine victories.
The order of selection for the BCS Bowls after host contracts are filled are as follows:
January 2014 games: Orange, Sugar, Fiesta
Teams meeting certain criteria will be guaranteed spots as “at-large” selections:
One champion from the non-automatically qualifying conferences (non-AQ) will automatically be selected as an at-large if they are ranked in the top 12 in the final BCS standings, released in early December, or if a champion from a mid-major conference is ranked higher than any BCS conference champion ranked among the top 16.
The non-AQ are: Conference USA (C-USA), the Mountain West Conference (MWC), the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Though ten spots are opened for BCS bowls, no conference will send more than two teams to any of the five BCS bowl games.
Notre Dame, an independent team not associated with any conference shall receive an automatic BCS bowl bid if they are to finish in the top eight in the final BCS standings.
A team which is ranked third in the final BCS standings, but did not win its own conference will automatically receive one of the remaining at-large bids. If the third place team is a conference champion, the fourth place team will be rewarded with a bid if they are not a conference champion.