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The Beginnings of the College Football Playoffs
When the Bowl Championship Series, or BCS, was started in 1998, the idea was to bring together the two best college football teams to play for a national championship. The plan was great until the 2012 season when two teams from the same conference played again for the national championship, which had many seeing red. The 2012 game featured No. 1 LSU vs. No. 2 Alabama. The pair had played earlier during the regular season with LSU winning 6-3 in Tuscaloosa in overtime. For some, it was a great defensive battle, but for others, it was a game that they didn't want to see again -- especially in the national championship game.
Many leaders in college football began to believe there was a better way to decide each seasons’ champion. What was known as the College Football Playoff was eventually born.
The college football playoff would pit the four best teams in college football against one another. The setup for the playoffs is somewhat similar to how the NFL does their playoffs, but of course with fewer teams.
Those top four teams are determined by a poll that is revealed every week by ESPN starting in October.
The games are played on neutral sites; the Peach, Orange, Sugar, Rose, Cotton and Fiesta Bowls have all hosted at least one playoff game since the playoffs started in 2014.
Though fairly successful, the college football playoffs haven’t been without controversy. While the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Pac 12 all have played in the championship game, the one power conference missing is the Big 12.
The Big 12, which is now down to 10 teams, has yet to make the championship game and until this past season, only had one team, Oklahoma, make it to the playoffs. In previous years, other Big 12 teams such as TCU -- who were ranked higher in the polls at the time -- had been jumped by teams like Ohio State.
Many blame it on the lack of conference championship game in the Big 12, but that will be changing in 2017, when the conference reinstates their title game.
Another controversy arose in 2016 when Ohio State, who didn't win the Big 10 conference, was the fourth team allowed in the playoffs. This again didn't sit well with many because the thought was only conference champions were allowed to be considered. But Ohio State was voted in by the committee as one of the four best teams in the country and the committee who votes on who gets into the playoffs, are made up of former players, coaches, writers and current athletic directors from schools across the country.
The First Winners of the CFP
The first playoff match-ups featured Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama.
Oregon, behind 2014 Heisman winner Marcus Mariota, defeated another Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, and Florida State by a score of 59-20. Meanwhile, No. 4 Ohio State upset then No. 1 Alabama 42-35 to play Oregon in the championship game. The Buckeyes had no problem handling the Ducks in the championship game defeating them, 42-20 to win the inaugural college football playoff championship.
The last two national championship games featured Alabama and Clemson. Alabama has been the only team to make the playoffs all three years. And in the second year of the playoffs, in a back and forth affair, Alabama defeated Clemson 45-40 behind Heisman winner Derrick Henry. This year's game was just like last year's game; a back and forth affair with Clemson winning with one second to go 35-31.
What Comes Next
Expectations are high for the 2017-18 Playoffs. It could be Clemson and Alabama part three, but Miami, Oklahoma, or Wisconsin might have the last word.
This year’s championship game will be hosted by the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and if you believe in fate, this may be good news for Alabama who could end up playing in Atlanta three times this season, following their season opener against Florida State.