National Football Foundation

The Bowl Championship Series Overview



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, utilized 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 oversaw the system during a two-year rotation concluded at the end of the 2009 season.

The BCS consisted 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 rotated between the sites of the four bowls as the BCS National Championship game. The fifth game allowed 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 earned automatic berths into BCS games included the Atlantic Coast, American, Big Ten, Big 12, Pacific 10 and Southeastern Conferences.

During its 2006-10 TV contract, the BCS games, with the exception of the Rose Bowl, were aired on Fox Sports. The Rose Bowl negotiated its contract separately from the other BCS Bowls, and was aired on ABC. ESPN televised the BCS games, following the 2010 regular season, from 2011-14 and the BCS title game from 2011-13. The Rose Bowl continued 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), Florida (2007), LSU (2008), Florida (2009), Alabama (2010), Auburn (2011), Alabama (2012), Alabama (2013) and most recently, Florida State (2014), have claimed the BCS National Championship.

It was the responsibility of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame to tabulate and release the weekly standings that ultimately determined who played 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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