BCS Bits - How are teams selected for BCS games? (October 7, 2009)With BCS Selection Sunday (December 6) two months away, this week's Bits topic is "How are the teams chosen for BCS games?"

The answer really is quite simple: some earn automatic berths, others are selected by the bowls.  Basically there are four ways to qualify:

1.  The top two teams in the final BCS Standings qualify automatically.   

2.  The champions of six conferences have annual automatic berths.

3.  Other teams can qualify automatically as follows:
A.   The highest-ranked champion from the MAC, MWC, WAC, Sun Belt or C-USA qualifies if it finishes in the top 12; (or top 16 if ranked higher than the champion of a conference that has an automatic berth)
B.   Notre Dame qualifies if it finishes in the top eight.

4.  If spots remain after the above teams are slotted, a bowl can select any other team that finishes in the top 14, but no more than two teams from a conference can participate.

That's the Cliff's Notes version. But it's always useful to understand the entire novel, and so the full selection procedures are here . As you will see, they include a handful of steps to address other scenarios.  

The ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC earned their automatic qualification by virtue of contracts with the host bowls and by meeting performance standards. As agreed by all 11 conferences, the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 regular seasons were evaluated using three criteria: rank of the highest-ranked team, rank of all conference teams and number of teams in the top 25. Those six met the standard.

The 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons will be evaluated to determine if a seventh conference achieves automatic qualification for the BCS games that will conclude the 2012 and 2013 seasons.