BCS
Updated: July 25, 2013, 6:26 PM ET

BCS selection procedures

Automatic Qualification, At-Large Eligibility and Team Selection

Automatic Qualification

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings (see below) shall play in the National Championship Game.

2. The champions of the Atlantic Coast, American Athletic, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conferences will have automatic berths in one of the participating bowls.

3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, or the Sun Belt Conference (hereinafter "non-AQ group") will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or

B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

No more than one such team from the non-AQ group shall earn an automatic berth in any year, unless non-AQ teams finish both No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings. (Note: A second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.) If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.

4. Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings.

5. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 4, and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 3 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier, provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.


At-Large Eligibility

If there are fewer than 10 automatic qualifiers, then the bowls will select at-large participants to fill the remaining berths. An at-large team is any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible and meets the following requirements:

A. Has won at least nine regular-season games, and

B. Is among the top 14 teams in the final BCS Standings.

No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections, unless two non-champions from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS Standings.

If fewer than 10 teams are eligible for selection, then the Bowls can select as an at-large team any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible, has won at least nine regular-season games and is among the top 18 teams in the final BCS Standings, subject to the two-team limit noted above and also subject to the following: (1) If any conference has two or more teams in the top 14, then two of those teams must be selected, and (2) from the teams ranked 15-18, a bowl can select only a team from a conference that has fewer than two teams in the top 14.

If expansion of the pool to 18 teams does not result in 10 teams eligible for selection, then the pool shall be expanded by blocks of 4 teams until 10 eligible teams are available, subject to the two-teams-per-conference limit noted above and also subject to the following: (1) If any conference has two or more teams in the top 14, then two of those teams must be selected, and (2) from the teams ranked 15 or lower, a bowl can select only a team from a conference that has fewer than two teams in the top 14.

Relative to the two preceding paragraphs, all teams ranked in the top 14, other than those from conferences that already have had two teams selected, must be included in the bowl selections.

Note: In order to participate in a BCS Bowl game, a team (1) must be eligible for post-season play under the rules of the NCAA and, if it not an independent, under the rules of its conference, and (2) must not have imposed sanctions upon itself prohibiting participation in a post-season game for infractions of the rules of the NCAA or the rules of its conference.


Team-Selection Procedures

The bowls will select their participants from two pools: (1) automatic qualifiers, all of which must be selected, and (2) at-large teams, if fewer than 10 teams qualify automatically. The following sequence will be used when establishing pairings:

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings will be placed in the National Championship Game (hereinafter "NCG").

2. Unless they qualify to play in the NCG, the champions of selected conferences are contractually committed to host selected games:

• Atlantic Coast Conference - Orange Bowl
• Big Ten Conference - Rose Bowl
• Big 12 Conference - Fiesta Bowl
• Pac-12 Conference - Rose Bowl
• Southeastern Conference - Sugar Bowl

3. If a bowl loses a host team to the NCG, then such bowl shall select a replacement team from among the automatic-qualifying teams and the at-large teams before any other selections are made. If two bowls lose host teams to the NCG, each bowl will get a replacement pick before any other selections are made. In such case, the bowl losing the No. 1 team gets the first replacement pick, and the bowl losing the No. 2 team gets the second replacement pick. If the Rose Bowl loses both the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions to the NCG, it will receive two replacement picks.

A bowl choosing a replacement team may not select:

A. A team in the NCG, or

B. The host team for another BCS Bowl;

Further, when two bowls lose host teams, the bowl losing the No. 1 team may not select a replacement team from the same conference as the No. 2 team, unless the bowl losing the No. 2 team consents.

4. After steps No. 1, 2, and 3 have been completed, any bowl with an unfilled slot shall select a team from the automatic qualifiers and/or at-large teams in the following order:

• January 2011 games - Sugar, Orange, Fiesta
• January 2012 games - Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
• January 2013 games - Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
• January 2014 games - Orange, Sugar, Fiesta

All teams earning automatic berths must be selected.

5. After completion of the selection process as described in Paragraph Nos. 1-4, the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings, taking into consideration the following:

A. Whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years; and/or

B. Whether two teams that played against one another in the regular season will be paired against one another in a bowl game; and/or

C. Whether the same two teams will play against each other in a bowl game for two consecutive years; and/or

D. Whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on ESPN and the bowls.

The pairings may not be altered by removing the Big 10 champion or Pac-12 champion from the Rose Bowl.


BCS Standings

The Harris Interactive College Football Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll and computer rankings each constitute one-third of the BCS Standings. To derive the three percentages, each team is assigned an inverse point total (25 for No. 1, 24 for No. 2, etc.)

The two poll percentages are calculated by dividing each team's point total by the maximum possible points, which is the number of panelists times 25. The computer rankings percentage is calculated by dropping the highest and lowest ranking for each team and then dividing the remaining total by 100 (the maximum possible points).

The percentage totals of the Harris Interactive Poll, USA Today Poll, and the computer rankings are then averaged. The teams' averages are ranked to produce the BCS Standings.

The six computer ranking providers are Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin, and Peter Wolfe. Each computer ranking provider accounts for schedule strength, won-loss record and home-and-away records within its formula.

The BCS Standings are used to:

• Determine the two teams that qualify to play in the BCS National Championship Game;

• Determine any other automatic qualifiers; and,

• Establish the pool of teams eligible for at-large selection by the bowls.

The BCS Standings are released for eight consecutive weeks each season, including the final Standings on selection Sunday. The National Football Foundation compiles and releases the Standings each week.


Harris Interactive College Football Poll

The Harris poll was first used during the 2005 regular season. To provide the initial pool of potential panelists, each conference submitted the names of 30 qualified individuals; Harris Interactive randomly selected 10 panelists from among the names submitted by each conference. Notre Dame submitted a list of six qualified individuals, from which Harris randomly selected three. Army and Navy together submitted a list of three qualified individuals, from which Harris selected one.

When a person leaves the panel, the conference that originally nominated the individual nominates three others to take the spot. Harris Interactive then randomly selects the replacement.

The Harris Poll is released for nine consecutive weeks each season, including the final poll on selection Sunday.


Tie-Breaking Procedure

The following steps will be used to resolve any ties in the BCS Standings after the computation is carried out to full decimal points:

1. Look to head-to-head result;

2. If the tie is not resolved by No. 1, evaluate results against the highest-ranked common opponent in the BCS Standings;

3. If the tie is not resolved by No. 1 or No. 2, calculate tied teams' place in BCS Standings using all six computer providers (i.e., do not throw out the high and low computer rankings) and the Harris and Coaches polls;

4. If the tie is not resolved by paragraph No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3, then conduct a drawing.