Ever since the first Rose Bowl was played in 1902, bowl games have played an important role in shaping college football history. The level of excitement generated by these games, the economic impact for the host communities, and the student-athlete experience make the bowl system unique.
The formation of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998 guaranteed a true national champion by matching up the number 1 and 2 teams in the country, while preserving the bowl system.
The BCS, created by the six equity conferences and the University of Notre Dame, utilizes a combination of two human polls and six computer rankings to determine the standings.
Roy Kramer, former Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, served as the Coordinator of the BCS for its first two years. John Swofford, Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, served the following two years, and was succeeded by Michael Tranghese, Commissioner of the Big East Conference, whose term concluded in 2003. Kevin Weiberg, Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, finished his term as BCS Commissioner at the conclusion of the 2005 regular season, and Mike Slive, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, ended his two-year stint in 2007. John Swofford currently oversees the system during a two-year rotation that will conclude at the end of the 2009 season.
The BCS consists of the Rose Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the FedEx Orange Bowl and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In 2006, the organizers added a fifth game, which rotates between the sites of the four bowls as the BCS National Championship game. The fifth game allows the bowls to maintain their traditional match ups with the exception of the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams who play in the championship game. Conferences whose champions currently earn automatic berths into BCS games include the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 10 and Southeastern Conferences.
Under its current TV contract, which runs from the 2006-07 bowl season to 2009-10 calendar, the BCS games, with the exception of the Rose Bowl, have aired on Fox Sports. The Rose Bowl negotiates its contract separately from the other BCS Bowls, and it currently has a contract with ABC. In 2008, ESPN won the rights to the televise the BCS games, following the 2010 regular season, from 2011-2014 and the BCS title game from 2011 to 2013. The Rose Bowl will continue to be televised on ABC through 2014 under its separate contract.
In January of 1999, the first BCS title game saw No. 1 Tennessee defeat No. 2 Florida State, 23-16, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Since then, Florida State (2000), Oklahoma (2001), Miami (Fla.) (2002), Ohio State (2003), LSU (2004), USC (2005), Texas (2006), LSU (2007), and, most recently, Florida (2008) claimed the BCS National Championship.
It is the responsibility of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to tabulate and release the weekly standings that will ultimately determine who plays for the BCS National Championship.
To visit each BCS poll and computer ranking, as well as the Bowl Championship Series homepage, please click here.
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