A Guide To The College Football Playoffs

A Guide To The College Football Playoffs

What our postseason destination means.

The playoff. The Orange Bowl. Top 4 ranking. ACC bid. I'm sure you all have heard these terms before. Just like basketball season concludes with March Madness, the college football season has the New Year's Six games, included in which is the College Football Playoff.

The college football championship-awarding system has always been controversial but has evolved over the years. Until the 90s, there was no national title game. The champion was determined solely by polls, both at the Associated Press and from the sport's coaches. The only time a "national championship game" ever happened was if #1 and #2 in the polls coincidently meet in a bowl game, which did not happen very often. Also, if the two polls awarded the national title to separate schools, then the national title ended in a tie.

The Bowl Championship Series, better known as the BCS, formed in 1998 for the purpose of having an on-field national championship each year. But even that was not without controversy. One year Miami beat FSU and both teams finished with one loss with one spot left to play Oklahoma in the national title game. For some reason, even though the Canes beat the Noles on the field, Florida State got the spot.

Years of similar controversies and many people began becoming sick of the system. A new system was put in place which added something that gave college football something that each other major sport had prior: A playoff.

The College Football Playoff (CFP) is simple. Its committee picks what it believes are the four best teams and seeds them 1-4. Teams in major conferences who win their conference with one or fewer losses almost always get in, while it is extremely hard to overcome the second loss or not being the conference champion.

But teams outside the top four are not sent home empty-handed in the committee's eyes. The CFP runs six bowl games, the Rose Bowl, Fiesta, Cotton, Sugar, Peach and Orange Bowl. Two of those bowls host semi-final games in the playoff each year, on a rotating basis. This year, the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will be hosting the playoffs.

The other four games that make up the "New Year's six" this year are the Fiesta, Cotton, Peach and Orange Bowls. If you win your conference but miss the playoff, or are the 2nd best team in a conference that has a team in the playoffs, you go to your conference's New Year's six bowl. For the ACC it's the Orange, the SEC is the Sugar, the Big 12 is the Cotton, and the Pac-12 and Big 10 is the Rose.

If a conference's bowl happens to be a playoff bowl that year, that conference's representative team can shift to a different New Years six bowl. Leftover spots are filled with the elite conference runner-ups, and at least one team from a minor conference.

Cover Image Credit: @sec

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6 Highlights From The 2018 Winter Olympics (So Far)

"I owe this medal a lot to [Reese Witherspoon] and to my mom. But, like, more to Reese in a way, ya know? Because she has more followers on Instagram."

The Olympics only happen every four years and they are arguably the highlight of those years. It's the one time that a varied field of events are celebrated and broadcasted on national television. Although they aren't over yet, there already have been a lot of memorable moments.

1. Red Gerard winning the first gold medal for the U.S. and swearing on live TV.

NBC might regret microphoning athletes after this one. The first U.S. gold medal was handed out on the second day of events to one of the youngest American Olympians this year. Red Gerard won the gold in Men's Slopestyle, but almost missed the event. Gerard nearly overslept after binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, lost his ski jacket, and was deducted heavily for his first two runs for falling.

He nailed his third run to clinch the gold and then dropped an f-bomb on live TV. He admitted that his entire family was enjoying themselves on the sidelines and spent a lot of their day shotgunning beers. It does not get any more American than that.

2. Anything Adam Rippon did.

If you haven't heard yet, it's twenty-gay-teen and what way to celebrate with the first openly gay, American Olympian. This is Rippon's first time at the Olympics and he has already made a name for himself by helping Team USA secure the bronze in the figure skating team event.

He also has shaded Mike Pence by refusing to meet with him as the Vice President headed to PyeongChang to support Team USA, citing his support of conversion therapy and generally just being a bigot.

Adam Rippon is arguably one of the more relatable Olympians and is a joy to watch skate. He is living his best life at the Olympics and truly deserves all of the recognition he is getting. Not even the sharp words and "fake news" from Donald Trump Jr. or Mike Pence can stop him from going from the gold.

3. Mirai Nagasu landing a triple axel.

Nagasu made history by being the first America woman to land a triple axel during the Olympics, and the third woman overall to land the jump in Olympic history. The rest of her program was also flawless and finished her routine with a new personal best score.

4. A Finnish coach stress-knitting while waiting for his athlete to compete.

Olympic coaches get stressed too. If you're going to be stressed, at least you can get a nice blanket out of it or something.

5. Chloe Kim hunger-tweeting in between runs (and then winning gold).

Chloe Kim, who is also only 17, represents Gen Z by sending tweets about food while waiting to compete in the Women's Halfpipe finals. Not only did she tweet about wanting ice cream, but also about regretting not finishing her breakfast sandwich that morning. She won the gold regardless of her hanger. Do you, Chloe. After all this training you definitely deserve some ice cream.

6. Shaun White winning his third Olympic gold.

Shaun White is the GOAT of Men's Halfpipe. After dropping out of Slopestyle and failing to medal during the Sochi Olympics, White came back with a vengeance. With only a point difference between himself and Ayumu Hirano from Japan who sat in first place after their second runs ended he had to do the absolute most to secure the gold.

He nailed back to back 1440's which he had never done before during a final. His third gold medal was also Team USA's 100th gold medal in the history of the games.

The Olympics continue on during February and are sure to have many more inspiring, hilarious, and relatable moments. Team USA has definitely brought their A-game and I will definitely continue to tune in every night to catch the action.

Cover Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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In This Game Of Life

Keep playing, no matter what.
"Just like it taught me, sports will teach you to be strong.You will discover the power and grace of your body. You will learn to move and the way to move others. Sports will teach you the strength of allies, whether its by blood, or by ball.The goals you reach, you reach together.You will find the courage to stand tall, work harder, and speak louder on whatever playing field you choose in this life." -Gatorade Sisters in Sweat ft. Serena Williams

Running down the field, I could feel my breaths force themselves from my chest. I could feel my heart pounding throughout my whole body as every inch of me was fighting. I could feel the fight in me, and the will to keep playing, just one more minute. Keep playing.

I was in the game. The minute I took my first breath in this life, my game had started... and I was playing.

It has been in the pursuit of my dreams, and the discovery and rediscovery of myself, that I have been able to build a foundation for my life that can not be shaken. It has been on this playing field that I have fallen and risen again.

At the age of 9 years old I picked up my first stick. I remember the way it felt in my hands, it was almost as big as me, but I was in love.

I was in love with the 6 a.m. lifts, the nights under the lights running suicides, the sweat I felt run along the side of my goggles that lined my face, it was the moments I held my breath as it came down to that one single point. It was the pounding of my heartbeat as I had my hand placed over my chest, singing the national anthem before a big game, it was the look I gave my teammate as our eyes pushed one another to do just... one... more.

It was the sound of my stick hitting my teammates as she made that shot, and it was the look in the eyes of my competitors as we lined up after the game had ended... paying respect to the heart on that field.

I was in love with the process, not just the outcome.

I will never forget the "split second" moments... looking up at the scoreboard, with a smile that radiated my face as my teammates sprinted across the field to enjoy those seconds together, but that second wasn't what I was in it for.

I was in it for the hours of training, the hour of play, the plane rides, the warm-ups, and the days spent in "chalk talk" preparing ourselves for that next step.

This is the game. This is life.

The playing field has changed from the Lacrosse field to my daily practice. But the core of who I am is built on the 100 yards of turf that built me.

If you are in it for the "split seconds" of bliss... they will come, but they will also pass.

Those moments are experienced, but it is the process that creates these moments. It has been the process that I have found teammates and built a foundation. The process creates the foundation to who you are and the life you experience. It takes hard work and discipline to build something worth meaning, so enjoy the process, because what you devote your breaths on this earth to, is your testimony. So,

"I beg you, in this game of life, keep playing."

In playing this game of life, it will take hard work, so breathe hard... and sweat harder.

Cover Image Credit: Varsity Views

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