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    How many teams are there in college football

    Trying to explain college football to the uninitiated often raises more questions than answers: Why do people so fervently support teams that represent schools they never attended? why are there 12 teams in the big 10 and 10 teams in the big xii? what the hell is a hokie?

    The bottom line is that very little about college football makes much sense. But in an effort to bring order to the chaos, we’ve selected five frequently asked questions to answer as a beginner’s guide to America’s second-favorite sport.

    Reading: How many teams are there in college football

    what constitutes college football major?

    There are four levels of college football in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), but the one that really matters is the Football Subdivision (FBS). If you’re scoring at home, the other three tiers are the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, and Division III.

    There are 124 teams on FBS, divided into 11 conferences: Notre Dame, Brigham Young University, Army, and Navy are the only four schools on FBS that are not affiliated with a conference. Six of those 11 leagues (the Southeastern Conference, the Big XII, the Big 10, the Pac-12, the Big East and the Atlantic Coast Conference) are considered important.

    the conference or sec of the southeast is composed largely of public institutions of the old confederation. it has earned a reputation as the best soccer conference in the country, by virtue of a member institution winning the national championship in each of the last six seasons.

    The Big XII is based primarily in the Great Plains states and Texas; the earliest oklahoma and texas longhorns are the traditional powers of him. the league, while still a powerhouse, has lost four members in the last two years due to other conferences while adding only two schools, thus the discrepancy between conference name and membership.

    The Big 10, the nation’s oldest conference, features primarily large land-grant institutions from the upper Midwest, with Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State representing the best programs. Having been known as the Big 10 since 1917, the conference kept the name despite adding Penn State in 1993 and Nebraska in 2011.

    the pac-12 is made up of schools from the pacific coast and rocky mountain regions: southern cal, oregon and stanford lead the way. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) stretches from Boston College in the north to Miami in the south, with Miami, Virginia Tech and the state of Florida taking top honors. Finally, the Big East, soon to feature teams as far away as San Diego, used to be home to the top college programs along the East Coast. recent defections have made it a major conference in name only.

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    No school outside of these six conferences has ever played for the national championship in the era of the Bowl Championship Series, which began in 1998 when these six conferences and Notre Dame formed an alliance to produce a true national champion.

    how is a champion determined?

    Each team’s goal is to finish the regular season first or second in the Bowling Championship Series (BCS) standings, and therefore be selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game.

    During the regular season, teams play most of their games against other members of their conferences (Big XII and Pac-12 play nine conference games per season, while ACC, SEC and Big 10 play eight). east, which has only eight members who play soccer, can only play seven games against their league rivals).

    at the end of each regular season, a conference champion is crowned. In the case of Pac-12, Big 10, Sec, and Acc, the champion is determined in a winner-takes-all league championship game. The Big XII and Big East Championships are awarded to the team with the best record in regular season intra-conference matchups.

    The six conference champions, plus four additional teams selected primarily, but not exclusively, from the six major leagues, are invited to participate in all five BCS Bowl games, which include the Orange Bowl in Miami, the Fiesta Bowl in the Phoenix area, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and the BCS National Championship Game, which is played at one of four other major bowling sites, on a rotating basis. The top two teams according to the BCS rankings are invited to play in the BCS Championship Game, with the winner being named the BCS Champion.

    bcs rankings are based on human polling and a computer algorithm to determine the top two teams in the country. the best way to earn a place in title contention is to be a member of one of the six major conferences and win every game in the regular season, although in seven of the 14 years this system has been in place, at least one of the teams playing in the title game has entered the contest with at least one loss and twice a team from a major conference that hasn’t been beaten during the regular season but hasn’t been invited to play for the championship: Auburn of the Sec in 2004 and Cincinnati of the Far East in 2009.

    how and why are teams ranked before the season starts?

    Prior to the season, selected fbs coaches and members of the media covering the sport are polled, asking them to rank who they think will be the best teams in the country during the upcoming season. these speculative rankings are largely based on how a team performed the previous year, the level of talent returning to the team for the upcoming season, and the quality of incoming players.

    each week during the season, pollsters are asked to re-rank the teams in order, taking into account the previous week’s results. a team that is ranked and wins usually maintains its position or is promoted as a result of the loss of a team that was ranked higher.

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    but the classifications are not scientific. rather they are based on the opinions of pollsters. the computer algorithm used to help determine which two teams play for the national championship does not take into account the two human polls. This means that although Alabama, currently the top-ranked team in both the media and coaching polls, is considered the best team in the country, this is more a matter of opinion than fact.

    however, since polls are part of the formula used to determine who plays for the national championship, these rankings are of vital importance.

    (note: in 2005, the media poll, known as the associated press poll, was dropped from the formula used to determine the top two teams in the country. a new poll, the harris interactive poll, comprised of former players , coaches, college administrators, and non-AP journalists, was invented the following year to replace the AP poll. Traditionally, the polls have the same teams ranked in pretty much the same places as the season progresses).

    what’s the deal with all these bowling games?

    For the most part, all fbs teams that finish the regular season with at least six wins are eligible to participate in a postseason game. there are 35 such contests, but outside of the bcs national championship game, none have anything to do with identifying the national champion. rather, an invitation to a bowling game is largely seen as a reward for a team that has had a successful season, a feather in the cap of such a team’s coach, and the opportunity for a hefty payday for the schools. participants, although the value of these payments has been questioned in recent years.

    Each bowl game is a separate entity and matchups are determined primarily by conference affiliation. for example, the Big 10 have agreements in place with eight bowl games, so if eight of the 12 teams in the league finish with six wins or more, they will play in one of those contests. However, the rise of the BCS National Championship Game and the proliferation of bowl games – in 1998 when the BCS began, there were only 23; 35 were played last year – they have greatly diminished the prestige of these types of contests.

    why do people care?

    America is a sports-obsessed country, but its sports are local, and so are its politics. college football thrives in the towns, cities and regions that professional sports have neglected. college football also predates its professional counterpart; the love for these teams has been passed down from generation to generation.

    plus, in college sports, the viewer doesn’t have to deal with the inconvenience of depending on the outcome of games played by strangers who will make more money in a year than he or she has in a lifetime. . college players are considered local heroes, regardless of where they come from.

    they are our boys. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, for example, is to the Yellow Hammers state what Eli Manning of the Giants is to New York City. In the absence of an NFL franchise, the USC Trojans have become Los Angeles’ premier football team, dissected in the local media and on radio shows since the Patriots are in Boston.

    College football is how American sports fans spend their Saturdays in the fall. it’s a one-sided love story that often makes little sense. but who says love has to?

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