PASADENA, Calif. -- The Bowl Championship Series era, which began in 1998, ended Monday night in the Rose Bowl.
Starting next season, it becomes a four-team battle royale to determine college football’s champion instead of a two-team faceoff, a format that will create a host of new challenges.
“It’s going to be that much harder to get to where you want to go, that’s for sure,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”
For the teams that make it to the College Football Playoff, it will take two wins instead of the customary one to determine a champion.
That means coaching staffs will be preparing scouting reports on not only their upcoming opponent, but also the two teams they could be facing in the title game.
Fisher said it wouldn’t be all that different than the way scouting reports are prepared during the season.
“You would have two or three weeks that you’d have your [graduate assistants] break down both opponents and have them ready … just like you would during the season,” Fisher said.
As many as seven non-seniors on Florida State could be considered potential pro prospects and have until Jan. 15 to decide whether to declare for the NFL Draft.
The list includes running backs Devonta Freeman (Miami Central High) and James Wilder Jr., receivers Rashad Greene (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) and Kelvin Benjamin, tight end Nick O’Leary, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and offensive lineman Cameron Erving.
“It’s been my dream since I’ve been playing football. I’m always going to think about it,” said Freeman, a junior. “But I haven’t made a decision on nothing. I just want to win a championship.”
Fisher’s new deal
Fisher’s new contract doesn’t put him in Alabama coach Nick Saban’s league. But it’s still one of the sweetest deals in college football.
Fisher will earn an average of $4.07 million per year over the course of the five-year deal. That makes him one of the 10 highest-paid coaches, though well short of Saban’s average annual compensation that is expected to surpass $7 million.
Fisher’s contract contains a number of perks. He will receive $100,000 for each year of the contract he completes starting in 2015. He also will receive bonuses of $200,000 for winning the national championship, finishing in the top five in the AP poll and going undefeated.
Perhaps more significantly, the salary pool for FSU’s nine assistant coaches will increase by $500,000.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and defensive back Jalen Ramsey were named to the Football Writers Association of America All-Freshman team.
Winston became the second freshman quarterback named to both writers’ group’s All-America and All-Freshman teams, following in the footsteps of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
Arkansas running back Alex Collins (South Plantation High School) was also named to the All-Freshman team. Florida defensive back Vernon Hargraves III and University of Miami kick returner Stacey Coley were also chosen to the freshman team.