The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), in American football, is a selection system that creates five bowl match-ups involving ten of the top ranked teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), including an opportunity for the top two to compete in the BCS National Championship Game.
The BCS relies on a combination of polls and computer selection methods to determine relative team rankings, and to narrow the field to two teams to play in the BCS National Championship Game held after the other college bowl games. The American Football Coaches Association is contractually bound to vote the winner of this game as the BCS National Champion and the contract signed by each conference requires them to recognize the winner of the BCS National Championship game as the official and only Champion. The BCS was created to end split championships and for the Champion to win the title on the field between the two teams selected by the BCS. Despite this objective on one occasion it failed to produce a consensus champion, as the 2003 NCAA Division I-A football season ended with a split title.
The Associated Press (AP) College Poll provides weekly rankings of the top 25 NCAA teams in one of three Division I college sports: football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The rankings are compiled by polling sportswriters across the nation. Each voter provides his own ranking of the top 25 teams, and the individual rankings are then combined to produce the national ranking by giving a team 25 points for a first place vote, 24 for a second place vote, and so on down to 1 point for a twenty-fifth place vote. Ballots of the voting members in the AP Poll are made public.[dead link]