College Football Playoff details come into focus

What once was a dream has finally become a reality. A college football playoff system has finally arrived.

Though not every detail is finalized, enough has been announced to get a clear picture of what will happen once the final BCS Championship Game is staged in 2014 at the Rose Bowl. It took way too long, but finally we'll be able to say that teams earned the national title on the field and there will be much more truth to the statement than ever before.

So, what exactly is going to happen?

First off, we know the new series will be called, simply, the College Football Playoff. No more BCS. Though some have criticized the name for being too simple, it certainly fits. There are no plans to add any corporate sponsorship to the name either. Think of it as taking a page out of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament handbook.

The first National Championship Game of the playoff era will be played on January 12, 2015 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Can't think of a better site to start things off than a place that will have hosted a Super Bowl and, in 2014, the Final Four.

“The first championship game of the College Football Playoff era is going to be very special, and Cowboys Stadium is a wonderful place to host the first game,” Executive Director Bill Hancock said.  “Each day that passes by is one day closer to the College Football Playoff era."

As part of the new playoff, the two semifinals that feed into the National Championship Game will rotate among the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Chick-fil-A Bowl. Each site will host a semifinal once every three years.

The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will host the first semifinals in 2015. The Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl will host the semifinals in the second year of the playoff. The Chick-fil-A Bowl and Fiesta Bowl will host semifinals the next season to complete the rotation.

The semifinals and remaining College Football Playoff bowls will all be played on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. When the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls don't host a semifinal game, they will revert back to their traditional tie-ins with the conference. Thus, the Rose Bowl will be a Pac-12/Big Ten matchup the two years following the semifinal in Pasadena, Calif.

When the Chick-fil-A, Fiesta and Cotton Bowls don't host a semifinal, an optimum matchup between top teams will be determined.

The teams for the College Football Playoff will all be selected in a manner similar to how it is done with NCAA basketballby a selection committee. The details of this particular aspect still have to be worked out by the commissioners, but it's likely something more concrete will emerge by the time the next meetings wrap up in June.

So now it's time to quit dreaming and start believing because an actual college football playoff is here. Well, at least it will be starting with the 2014-15 season.

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