Girl's Guide to College Football

Rankings and bowl games


There are three primary types of rankings - the BCS Standings, the Associated Press (AP) Top 25, and the USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Coaches poll is made up of head coaches at Division 1 FBS schools. Sportswriters across the US vote in the AP Poll. These two polls are done weekly from the start of the season, and the first BCS standings are released several weeks into the season, usually in mid-October. The BCS standings are determined by looking at the Harris Poll (comprised of former players, coaches, administrators and media), the Coaches' Poll and computer rankings.

UF band.

Bowl Games

What significance do rankings and standings have? They determine whether a team will play in a post-season bowl game, and if so, which they'll play in. A team must win at least 6 games over the course of the season to become bowl eligible. There are around 30 bowl games, so around 60 of the 120 Division 1 teams will be invited to play in a bowl. Games occur between mid-December and early January. Bowl Championship Series or (BCS) games include a National Championship game and four other games - the Rose Bowl (located in Pasadena, California), the Sugar Bowl (in New Orleans, Louisiana), the Fiesta Bowl (in Glendale, Arizona) and the Orange Bowl (in Miami, Florida).

There are six conferences that are part of the BCS - ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC. The top two teams of these play in the National Championship, and the conference champion from each league gets an automatic berth in another bowl. The remaining spots are given to "at-large" teams, determined by bowl committees.