The Bowl Championship Series, or BCS for short, is a consortium of the top 5 college football bowl games for NCAA Division I teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Teams vie during the regular season to be eligible for one of the 5 bowl games in the BCS, either by automatic bids due to winning the conference championship in one of the six BCS conferences, or by being selected to play in one of the four remaining at-large bowl spots. The top two teams at the end of the regular season are selected to play in the BCS Title Game, which serves as a minimal type of playoff in lieu of a legitimate playoff that is endorsed by the NCAA.
Bowl Games Edit
The 5 bowl games that makes up the BCS are the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and the BCS Title game. The games are played starting on January 1 (Rose), and culminating about a week later with the BCS Title game.
Two sets of criteria exist for entrance into the BCS games. The BCS Title game participants are selected by being the top two teams as calculated by the BCS Ratings. The remaining four bowl games are populated with teams that have either earned an automatic bid by winning one of the six BCS conferences (and are not playing in the BCS Title game), or by being selected by the bowl organizers. The latter criteria is very subjective, as ratings and rankings aren't required to be used aside from the inclusion of teams from non-BCS conferences, and the Notre Dame rule (when applicable).
BCS Formula Edit
The BCS Formula is comprised of the USA Today Coaches' Poll, the Harris Interactive Poll, and a composite of six computer ranking systems, the Sagarin system, Massey system, Billingsley, Anderson, Wolfe, and Colley systems. The AP Poll used to be part of the BCS ratings, but was replaced in 2005 with the Harris Poll. The actual mechanics of the BCS formula is a closely guarded secret, but a few authors have produced a fairly accurate representation of it.