From the NCAA: Bowl Championship Series Qualifications

Automatic Qualification, At-Large Eligibility
and Selection Procedures, 2007-2010 Games

Automatic Qualification

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings shall play in the National Championship Game.

2. The champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and Southeastern conferences will have automatic berths in one of the participating bowls after the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons.

3. The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:

A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,

B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in the final BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.

4. Notre Dame will have an automatic berth if it is in the top eight of the final BCS Standings.

5. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 4, and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 3 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier, provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

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At-Large Eligibility

If there are fewer than 10 automatic qualifiers, then the bowls will select at-large participants to fill the remaining berths. An at-large team is any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible and meets the following requirements:
A. Has won at least nine regular-season games, and

B. Is among the top 14 teams in the final BCS Standings.

No more than two teams from a conference may be selected, regardless of whether they are automatic qualifiers or at-large selections.

If fewer than 10 teams are eligible for selection, then an at-large team will be any Football Bowl Subdivision team that is bowl-eligible, has won at least nine regular-season games and is among the top 18 teams in the final BCS Standings.

If fewer than 10 teams are eligible after expanding the at-large pool to 18 as noted above, then the at-large pool will continue to be expanded by four additional positions in the BCS Standings until 10 or more teams are eligible.

Note: in order to participate in a BCS Bowl game, a team (i) must be eligible for post-season play under the rules of the NCAA and, if it not an independent, under the rules of its conference and (ii) must not have imposed sanctions upon itself prohibiting participation in a post-season game for infractions of the rules of the NCAA or the rules of its conference.
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Team-Selection Procedures
The bowls will select their participants from two pools: (1) automatic qualifiers, all of which must be selected, and, (2) at-large teams, if fewer than 10 teams qualify automatically. The following sequence will be used when establishing pairings:

1. The top two teams in the final BCS Standings will be placed in the National Championship Game (“NCG”).

2. Unless they qualify to play in the NCG, the champions of selected conferences are contractually committed to host selected games:

Atlantic Coast Conference—Orange Bowl
Big Ten Conference—Rose Bowl
Big 12 Conference—Fiesta Bowl
Pac-10 Conference—Rose Bowl
Southeastern Conference—Sugar Bowl

3. If a bowl loses a host team to the NCG, then such bowl shall select a replacement team from among the automatic-qualifying teams and the at-large teams before any other selections are made. If two bowls lose host teams to the NCG, each bowl will get a replacement pick before any other selections are made. In such case, the bowl losing the No. 1 team gets the first replacement pick, and the bowl losing the No. 2 team gets the second replacement pick. If the Rose Bowl loses both the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions to the NCG, it will receive two replacement picks.

A bowl choosing a replacement team may not select any of the following:

A. A team in the NCG;

B. The host team for another
BCS Bowl;

C. When two bowls lose host teams, then the bowl losing the number one team may not select a replacement team from the same conference as the number two team, unless the bowl losing the number two team consents.

4. After steps No. 1, 2 and 3 have been completed, any bowl with an unfilled slot shall select a team from the automatic qualifiers and/or at-large teams in the following order:

A. The bowl played on the date nearest to the National Championship Game (for 2008, Orange Bowl) will pick first;

B. The bowl played on the date second-nearest to the National Championship Game (for 2008, Fiesta Bowl) will pick second;

C. The bowl hosting the game that is played in the time slot immediately after the Rose Bowl game (for 2008, Sugar Bowl) will pick third.

The rotation noted in paragraphs A, B and C will be as follows:

January 2007 games: Sugar, Orange, Fiesta
January 2008 games: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar
January 2009 games: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange
January 2010 games: Orange, Fiesta, Sugar

All teams earning automatic berths must be selected.

5. After completion of the selection process as described in Paragraph Nos. 1-4, the conferences and Notre Dame may, but are not required to, adjust the pairings taking into consideration the following:

A. whether the same team will be playing in the same bowl game for two consecutive years;
B. whether two teams that played against one another in the regular season will be paired against one another in a bowl game;
C. whether the same two teams will play against each other in a bowl game for two consecutive years; and
D. whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on Fox and the bowls.
The pairings may not be altered by removing the Big 10 Champion or Pac-10 champion from the Rose Bowl.
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Tie-Breaking Procedure

The following steps will be used to resolve any ties in the standings after the computation is carried out to full decimal points:

1. Look to head-to-head result;

2. If the tie is not resolved by paragraph No. 1, then evaluate results against the highest-ranked common opponent in the BCS standings;

3. If the tie is not resolved by paragraph Nos. 1-2, then calculate tied teams’ place in BCS Standings using all six computer providers (i.e., do not throw out the high and low computer rankings) and the Harris and Coaches polls;

4. If the tie is not resolved by paragraph Nos. 1-3, then draw.
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Conference Automatic Qualification in Future
The Football Bowl Subdivision conferences have developed standards for annual automatic qualification for conference champions after the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons. The standards are based on performance during the 2004-2007 regular seasons. The computation will be based upon each conference’s membership as of December 3, 2007. Such standards will not prohibit the champion of any conference that has contracted with a bowl to play in any particular game from playing in one of the participating BCS bowls. For example, the Big Ten and Pac-10 champions will, by contract, play in the Rose Bowl every year unless one or both qualifies for the National Championship Game.


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