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What is the Bowl Championship Series?

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Quick Answer

The Bowl Championship Series was a computerized selection system that created the five "best" bowl game match-ups among the top teams in the Division-I Football Bowl Subdivision of college football. The system is now defunct after being replaced by the College Football Playoff in 2013.

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Full Answer

The Bowl Championship Series system was in place from 1998 to 2013 and succeeded the Bowl Alliance system. The Bowl Championship Series was the primary system used to select the two best teams in the country to compete in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game as well as other top teams to compete in the four Bowl Championship Series bowl games.

The Bowl Championship Series process for selecting match-ups relied on polls and computerized algorithms. The process was intended to avoid having co-champions, as coaches were contractually obligated to vote for the Bowl Championship Series National Championship winner as the No. 1 team in the Coaches' Poll. However, at the end of the 2003 season, the USC Trojans led the AP Poll and the LSU Tigers led the Coaches' Poll, thus leading to co-champions. The Bowl Championship Series was highly criticized throughout its tenure, mostly due to its subjective voting assessments. Among its most famous critics were college football announcer Brent Musburger and U.S. President Barack Obama.

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