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College football drives toward new playoff format

Levonte Whitfield #7 of the Florida State Seminoles

Levonte Whitfield #7 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates with linebacker Ukeme Eligwe #52 after scoring on a 100-yard kickoff return against the Auburn Tigers in the fourth quarter of the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl. (Jan. 6, 2014) Credit: Getty

After 16 years under the controversial Bowl Championship Series system of selecting two teams to play for the national championship via a complex system of rankings, FBS schools are set to christen the new four-team College Football Playoff that gives twice as many teams a shot at the national title while generating more than three times the revenue.

Genius, no?

It's unlikely there will be much less controversy, but it's assured there will be more entertainment for college football fans. Adding two games to the schedule resulted in a revenue increase from $180 million per year under the BCS system to $600 million per year for the College Football Playoff.

Rather than using polls and computer formulas, the CFP will utilize a 13-person committee to pick the field much as the NCAA basketball selection committee does for March Madness. Starting at midseason, the committee will rank the top 25 teams weekly for informational purposes.

Based on the final poll (Dec. 6-7), the committee will select and seed the four playoff teams and assign eight teams to the other four major "host" bowls involved in the playoff rotation. Criteria for choosing teams is based on won-lost record, strength of schedule, head-to-head competition, common opponents and conference titles.

The Big Five conference champions from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC are assured of inclusion among the 12 major bowl teams but not necessarily the four-team playoff. The highest-ranked team from the Group of Five (American, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt) is assured of one of the 12 major bowl berths.

Two of the six major bowls -- Rose and Sugar this season, Orange and Cotton next season and Fiesta and Peach following the 2016 season -- will serve as semifinal sites on a rotating basis. The Rose, Sugar and Orange have conference affiliations when not hosting a semifinal while the other three are "open" bowls.

This year's Championship Game is Jan. 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and moves the next two seasons to University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and then to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

New York Sports