College Football Playoff History

A look back at the history of the College Football Playoff.

November 27, 2023

After decades of trying to determine the college football national champion through often controversial methods, the powers that be launched the four-team College Football Playoff in 2014 to (hopefully) end the arguments that some deserving teams had been excluded from having a chance to stake their claim to the crown.

For decades, the Associated Press and UPI Coaches’ Polls had each done rankings after the bowl games to pick the national champion, but that occasionally resulted in split champions. The so-called Bowl Coalition and Bowl Alliance for a few years attempted to pit the top two ranked teams in a bowl game as a pseudo (but unofficial) championship game, and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) was launched in 1998.

The BCS, through a blend of the AP and Coaches’ Polls and computer rankings, determined the top two teams in the nation and then matched them in the BCS Championship Game. That imperfect system suffered a couple of controversies, such as the 2003 USC Trojans, who were ranked No. 1 in both the AP and Coaches’ polls but were left out of the BCS Championship Game.

In attempt to include the most qualified teams, the four-team CFP began in the 2014 season, with two semifinal games followed by the national title game. Even this system has not been without controversy, with some excellent and undefeated teams being excluded from the four-team playoffs.

After several years of discussion about expanding the field, the CFP will increase to a 12-team format starting in the 2024 season. There will be virtually no chance of an undefeated team not making the CFP in the expanded format.

College Football Playoff Champions Throughout the Years


  • CFP Semifinal, Rose Bowl – No. 2 Oregon 59, No. 3 Florida State 20
  • CFP Semifinal, Sugar Bowl – No. 4 Ohio State 42, No. 1 Alabama 35
  • CFP National Championship – Ohio State 42, Oregon 20


  • CFP Semifinal, Orange Bowl – No. 1 Clemson 37, No. 4 Oklahoma 17
  • CFP Semifinal, Cotton Bowl – No. 2 Alabama 38, No. 3 Michigan State 0
  • CFP National Championship – Alabama 45, Clemson 40


  • CFP Semifinal, Peach Bowl – No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 4 Washington 7
  • CFP Semifinal, Fiesta Bowl – No. 2 Clemson 31, No. 3 Ohio State 0
  • CFP National Championship – Clemson 35, Alabama 31


  • CFP Semifinal, Rose Bowl: No. 3 Georgia 54, No. 2 Oklahoma 48 (2OT)
  • CFP Semifinal, Sugar Bowl: No. 4 Alabama 24, No. 1 Clemson 6
  • CFP National Championship: Alabama 26, Georgia 23 (OT)


  • CFP Semifinal, Orange Bowl: No. 1 Alabama 45, No. 4 Oklahoma 34
  • CFP Semifinal, Cotton Bowl: No. 2 Clemson 30, No. 3 Notre Dame 3
  • CFP National Championship: Clemson 44, Alabama 16


  • CFP Semifinal, Peach Bowl: No. 1 LSU 63, No. 4 Oklahoma 28
  • CFP Semifinal, Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 Clemson 29, No. 2 Ohio State 23
  • CFP National Championship: LSU 42, Clemson 25


  • CFP Semifinal, Rose Bowl: No. 1 Alabama 31, No. 4 Notre Dame 14
  • CFP Semifinal, Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28
  • CFP National Championship: Alabama 52, Ohio State 24


  • CFP Semifinal, Cotton Bowl: No. 1 Alabama 27, No. 4 Cincinnati 6
  • CFP Semifinal, Orange Bowl: No. 3 Georgia 34, No. 2 Michigan 11
  • CFP National Championship: Georgia 33, Alabama 18


  • CFP Semifinal, Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 TCU 51, No. 2 Michigan 45
  • CFP Semifinal, Peach Bowl: No. 1 Georgia 42, No. 4 Ohio State 41
  • CFP National Championship: Georgia 65, TCU 7

College Football Playoff Fun Facts

Which Teams Have Made the College Football Playoff the Most?

Alabama has made the most appearances in the CFP, with seven. Clemson and Ohio State each have been in the CFP five times.

How Many Teams Have Made College Football Playoffs?

These teams have all been in the CFP in its nine-year history:

  • Oregon
  • Florida State
  • Ohio State
  • Alabama
  • Clemson
  • Oklahoma
  • Michigan State
  • Washington
  • Georgia
  • Notre Dame
  • LSU
  • Cincinnati
  • Michigan
  • TCU

Which of the Power Five Conferences Have Had the Most Teams in the CFP?

The SEC (Alabama, Georgia, LSU), Big 12 (Oklahoma, Cincinnati, TCU) and Big Ten (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State) each have been represented by three schools in the CFP. The ACC (Florida State, Clemson) and Pac-12 (Oregon, Washington) have had two.

College Football Playoff Predictions

On Tipico Sportsbook, these are the odds (as of Nov. 27) to reach the CFP:

  • Michigan -5000
  • Georgia -475
  • Oregon -280
  • Florida State -150
  • Texas +117
  • Washington +200
  • Ohio State +1300

The top odds to win the title are:

  • Michigan +190
  • Georgia +210
  • Oregon +500

Bet on the College Football Playoff with Tipico

Who’s your bet to reach the CFP? Check out our odds here and place a wager if you are so inclined! You might just hit paydirt yourself!

Also, check out our college football page for more coverage and analysis and also the home pages for our active states:

Alex Valdes
Alex Valdes is Web Content Manager at Tipico North America. He has written, edited and performed user and site analysis at MoneyTalksNews, NBC Sports, MSN, Bing, MSNBC, as well as newspapers and magazines.