A point-by-point, not-so-quick explanation of the College Football Playoff.
The championship game, played on a Monday -- this year, it's Jan. 12 at Cowboys Stadium -- is not part of the rotation. It's a separate entity with a bid process all its own.
When a contracted bowl is hosting a semifinal, the league champ will be sent to one of the four other major bowls (unless it's involved in the playoff).
1. If the Pac-12 champ qualifies for the playoffs this season, it would be slotted into either the Rose or Sugar, depending on the placement of the seeds (1 vs 4, 2 vs 3).
2. If the Pac-12 champ doesn't qualify for the playoffs, it would be sent to the Fiesta, Cotton or Peach. (The Orange is locked up by contracts.)
3. Next year ... when the Rose Bowl isn't a semifinal host ... the Pac-12 champ will head to Pasadena, per usual, unless it qualifies for the playoff.
In that situation, the Rose could choose a replacement team from the Pac-12.
Note: There is no limit to the number of teams a conference can send to the New Year's Eve/New Year's Day games (so expect to see three or four from the SEC every year!).
Also note: The highest-ranked team from outside the Power Five leagues will also be eligible to participate in the semifinals or rotation bowls, with the location and opponent to be determined by the committee.
Speaking of ...
The first rankings will be released Oct. 28, then every subsequent Tuesday for five weeks.
The final rankings -- the ones that matter -- will be announced on Dec. 7, bowl selection day.
But you can be sure not everyone will agree with the committee's definition of "best."
Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin athletic director (and former coach)
Mike Gould, former Superintendent of Air Force Academy
Pat Haden, USC athletic director
Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
Jeff Long, Arkansas athletic director (committee chair)
Oliver Luck, West Virginia athletic director
Archie Manning, former Mississippi quarterback
Tom Osborne, former Nebraska coach and athletic director
Dan Radakovich, Clemson athletic director
Condoleezza Rice, Stanford professor
Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner
Steve Wieberg, former USA Today reporter
Tyrone Willingham, former Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington coach
Haden, for instance, must leave the room if USC is being discussed; the same goes for Rice when Stanford is on the table; or Manning with Ole Miss.
All told, nine of the 13 members will be subject to recusal. The four who aren't: Willingham, Wieberg, Tranghese and Jernstedt.