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College football league structure

In the United States, there are many sports leagues, such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB, the highest-grossing leagues in the world, and college football is just as popular and generates huge revenues as those leagues.

We will explore why college football, an amateur league, is so popular in the United States!

The structure of College Football


The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is the main organization for college athletics in the U.S. The NCAA is an organization that establishes uniform rules and regulations as a league for each sport.

The NCAA is divided into divisions, Division 1, 2, and 3, based on criteria such as how much money a university spends on athletic teams. Therefore, the divisions do not change depending on the teams’ results.


It is estimated that there are about 650 football teams in the United States, and this division allows them to compete on a level playing field financially. In fact, Division 1 is also divided into two parts for football. Division 1 is also divided into two parts for football (FBS & FCS). FBS generates a lot of revenue from televised and box office games. Most of the famous teams that you may possibly have seen belong to FBS.


This alone may give you an idea of the size of college football, but it is also divided into two major conferences within the FBS: the Power 5 and the Group of 5. Within these two conferences, there are conferences and independent schools in each district, each consisting of 5-7 schools.

As an example, here are Power 5 conferences.

  1. the Big Ten Conference (ex. Univ. Michigan)
  2. the Big 12 Conference (ex. BYU, TCU)
  3. the Pacific-12 Conference (ex. Stanford, UC Berkley)
  4. the Southeastern Conference (ex. Alabama, Florida, Texas)
  5. the Atlantic Coast Conference (ex. Clemson, Duke)
  6. Independents (ex. Notre Dame)

The conference, which used to have a strong regional flavor, is now gradually becoming more regionally independent, with UCLA, formerly a member of the West Coast Pac-12 Conference, moving to the Big Ten Conference in the northern region.

Regular Season Games

The season begins in late August or early September. The regular season ends in late November or early December. The regular season ends in late November or early December and the winner of each conference is determined. The conference standings are determined based on the teams’ results in the same conference, not on the results of teams from other conferences or FCS schools. In conferences with a two-district system, the championship game will be played between the two schools that won their districts. What is also interesting is that the rankings are not simply determined by the results of the competition but are judged from multiple angles, including the severity of the schedule.

Bowl Games - New Year’s Six

To determine the National Champion school, the strongest team of the year must be selected. Therefore, a College Football Playoff (CFP) will be held to narrow the field to the final two schools. A 13-member committee ranks and determines four teams that will compete in this CFP based on regular season wins and losses and the severity of their schedules. At the same time, in order to preserve the entertainment game of bowl games that have been loved for many years, the following two bowl games are played each year as CFP games.

・Rose Bowl

・Suger Bowl

・Orenge Bowl

・Cotton Bowl

・Peach Bowl

・Fiestan Bowl

Currently, this format is used for the FBS playoffs, but this format has been controversial in terms of how the playoff schools are determined.

The team that wins this playoff will win that year’s National Champion!

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