When the 2014 season kicks off, teams will be playing for a spot in major college football’s first final four, a seeded, four-team playoff bracket. Here’s what we know, what we don’t know (but think we know) and some history about college football’s championship structure.Knowns
• Four-team playoff begins after 2014 regular season, replacing the BCS system.
• Teams will be selected by a committee
• The contract runs for 12 years.
• Six bowl games will be used for the national semifinals on a rotating basis. One of them will be the Champions Bowl, which pits Big 12 and SEC teams and also starts after the 2014 season.
• Semifinals will be played on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
• The championship game will not be branded as a bowl and be played at a neutral site, likely in a bid process.
• The title game will be played on “Championship Monday” and the first five dates have been identified: Jan. 12, 2015; Jan. 11, 2016; Jan. 9, 2017; Jan. 8, 2018; and Jan. 7, 2019Unknowns (and best guesses)
• Identity of the selection committee (Look for an NCAA-type lineup of current athletic officials)
• Media rights value and winning network ($300-$400 million annually, ESPN)
• Revenue distribution (BCS awards about 85 percent of TV/media income to power conferences. Non-power leagues like Conference USA want a greater share)
• Acceptance (Initial reaction is positive, but it’s still a pick-em system where opinion matters. Some believe an eight-team playoff to accommodate conference champions and at-large selections is ideal)Road to a playoff
Rutgers 6, Princeton 4 — college football’s first recognized game.
Michigan 49, Stanford 0 — Tournament of Roses Game, the game’s first bowl.
Associated Press poll debuts. Minnesota is the final No. 1 ranked team.
Bowl coalition formed to arrange final game between top two ranked teams, but Big Ten, Pac-10 and Rose Bowl don’t participate.
Bowl Championship Series debuts. Tennessee defeats Florida State in first championship game.
•2012: Presidential oversight committee announces four-team playoff to debut after 2014 season.