Automatic bids to college bowl games

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This article is about the contracted bowl tie-ins. For the actual teams selected, see 2014–15 NCAA football bowl games.

The teams that participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision earn the right to compete in a series of post-season games called bowl games. For all 35 bowl games in the 2011-12 NCAA college football bowl season, bowl games are contractually obligated to offer bids to specific conferences, a situation known as a "tie-in". The top five bowl games in the nation select their teams as part of a coalition known as the Bowl Championship Series. The remaining 30 bowl games have individual contracts with the conferences to offer preferential bids to teams from those conferences. As long as teams are bowl eligible, they may be selected by these bowls to meet these contracts.

College Football Playoff[edit]

The College Football Playoff consists of seven bowls: the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Peach Bowl, and College Football Championship Game. For the 2014-15 season, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will serve as national semifinals for the 2015 College Football Championship Game in Arlington, Texas, meaning that the teams ranked #1 through #4 in the College Football playoff rankings will play in those two bowls, with the winner advancing to the national championship.

Twelve schools are selected for the major bowls. These include the champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pacific-12 Conference and Southeastern Conference. The highest-ranked champion from the "Group of Five" mid-major conferences (American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt) is guaranteed a berth if the group's top team is not in the playoff.

The following tie-ins exist for bowls in the years they are not hosting the national semifinals:

2014 "New Year's Six" bowl games[edit]

Games First Game Conference Conference
Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual 1902 National semifinal National semifinal
Allstate Sugar Bowl 1935 National semifinal National semifinal
Capital One Orange Bowl 1935 ACC SEC #2, Big Ten #2, or Notre Dame
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic 1937 At-Large or "Group of Five" At-Large
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 1968 At-Large or "Group of Five" At-Large
Vizio Fiesta Bowl 1971 At-Large or "Group of Five" At-Large
College Football Championship Game 2015 Rose Bowl Winner Sugar Bowl Winner

Bowl Championship Series[edit]

From 1998 to 2013, the national champion was determined on the field by the Bowl Championship Series. The Bowl Championship Series consisted of five games, the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, as well as the BCS Championship Game. A composite system of computer rankings and human polls is used to rank the teams in the Division I–Football Bowl Subdivision. As with the College Football Playoff, the BCS consisted the champions of major conferences, at-large teams, and occasionally Notre Dame or teams from mid-major conferences. Consideration was given to historic associations between the conferences and the bowl games themselves. Tie-ins still apply, unless a team obligated to a certain bowl game is selected for the BCS Championship Game.

Other Bowl Games in 2014[edit]

The bowls that are not part of the CFP have contractual ties to specific conferences. For the 2014-15 bowl season, all bowls have at least two tie-ins, meaning that there are no at-large spots open in these bowls, assuming that all conferences produce enough bowl eligible teams. Many bowls also have contingency contracts to offer spots to other specific conferences should their first choice not be eligible. If any slot cannot be filled by a contracted conference at all, then the spot becomes open, and the bowl can offer the slot to any eligible team.

To be eligible, a team must not have a losing record in the FBS. If a school plays 12 games, they must have at least six wins to qualify. If a school plays 13 games, they must then have at least seven wins to qualify. A rule change for 2010 allows bowls to tender a bid to any team with a 6-6 record before teams with more than six wins.[citation needed] Previously, a bowl with an at-large bid to fill was required to select the remaining team with the best record over a 6-6 team that would have been more financially attractive in terms of bringing more fans to the respective bowl.

Records vs. selection order[edit]

The contracts specify that the respective bowl committees receive a certain choice of teams. It should be noted that the selection order lists show below (#1, #2, #3, etc.) indicate only the order in which the respective bowl committees make their selections. The choices are typically not predicated on end-of-season rankings or actually final regular season records/standings. For example, a bowl with the "# 3 pick" from a particular conference does not mean necessarily it has to select the "third place team" from that conference. When it becomes that committee's turn to pick, it may pick any of the remaining teams from that conference (with respect to the aforementioned eligibility rules detailed above).

A committee may select one team over another due to geographical proximity, travel ability for the fanbase, or other factors. Bowls may chose to "skip" teams in order to avoid regular season rematches, or perhaps bowl rematches from the previous season. In various cases, bowls have embraced a particular team(s) participating in same bowl in two consecutive seasons, but may shy away from inviting them for a third consecutive season. However, in most cases, the order loosely follows the general order of the regular season records/rankings.

Some conferences have special selection parameters written into their contracts with specific bowls — for example, the Citrus Bowl is contractually obligated to select the winningest Big Ten and SEC teams that do not make a CFP game (semifinal or New Year's Six Bowl), or a team within one win of the winningest in its conference. The MAC's bowl contracts require that both division champions, if eligible, receive bids to one of its three contracted bowls.

Bowl list[edit]

Bowl Game First Game Conference/Team Conference/Team Alternate
Hyundai Sun Bowl 1935 Pac-12 #4 ACC #4
Gator Bowl 1946 SEC #6 Big Ten #5
Citrus Bowl 1947 Big Ten #2 SEC #2
AutoZone Liberty Bowl 1959 C-USA #1 SEC #8 American #7
Chick-fil-A Bowl 1968 ACC #2 SEC #5
Advocare V100 Bowl 1976 ACC #7 SEC #10
National University Holiday Bowl 1978 Big 12 #5 Pac-12 #3
Outback Bowl 1986 Big Ten #3 SEC #4
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl 1989 Big 12 #4 Big Ten #4
Russell Athletic Bowl 1990 ACC #3 American #2
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl 1992 MWC #1 Pac-12 #5
Valero Alamo Bowl 1993 Big 12 #3 Pac-12 #2
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 1997 MWC #5 MAC #3
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl 1997 Big Ten #8 MAC #2
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl 1998 ACC #6 SEC #7 Bowl 1999 Sun Belt #2 MAC #1
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas 2000 Big 12 #6 Big Ten #6
New Mexico Bowl 2001 MWC #4 Pac-12 #7
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl 2001 C-USA #7 Sun Belt #1
Belk Bowl 2002 ACC #5 American #3
Fight Hunger Bowl 2002 Pac-12 #6 BYU ACC, MAC
Sheraton Hawaiʻi Bowl 2002 C-USA #2 MWC #4
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl 2003 C-USA #3 Navy
SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl 2005 MWC #2 Army MAC
BBVA Compass Bowl 2006 American #5 SEC #9
Military Bowl 2008 ACC #8 C-USA #6 MAC #4
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl 2008 American #6 C-USA #5
New Era Pinstripe Bowl 2010 American #4 Big 12 #7 Notre Dame
Heart of Dallas Bowl 2010 Big Ten #7 C-USA #4 MWC

2014 Order of selection[edit]

Teams must be bowl-eligible to be selected for a bowl game. Should a conference not have enough eligible teams to meet their obligations, the bowls at the end of the selection process are free to choose a replacement team from among any remaining bowl-eligible teams that are not already committed to a bowl game. If a conference provides an "at-large" selection to the BCS, the remaining bowls still select in the same order. Should a conference like the Pac-12 receive an "at-large" bid from the BCS, their remaining bowl tie-ins would be affected. The Alamo Bowl would then have the third (and not second) selection from the Pac-12, and all remaining bowls would be shifted accordingly. This increases the likelihood that the conference will not be able to provide enough teams to meet its tie-in obligations.

American Athletic Conference[edit]


Atlantic Coast Conference[edit]

2014: College Football Playoff if a team qualifies then:

Big 12 Conference[edit]


College Football Playoff if a team qualifies then:

Big Ten Conference[edit]


College Football Playoff if a team qualifies then:

Tier #1

Tier #2

Tier #3

Conference USA[edit]

2014: Conference Champion picks bowl game to attend

Mid-American Conference[edit]


Mountain West Conference[edit]


Pacific-12 Conference[edit]


Southeastern Conference[edit]

2014: College Football Playoff, the Allstate Sugar Bowl or the Discover Orange Bowl then:

Sun Belt Conference[edit]


Division I FBS Independents[edit]

Of the independent Football Bowl Subdivision teams, there are contractual agreements to play in certain bowl games should they become bowl eligible. All of these teams remain eligible for selection as a replacement team when the conferences do not have enough eligible teams to meet their obligations.

For 2014, the contractual obligations: