It's About Time Line

After 145 years, college football finally has a playoff. There has been plenty of racket en route to the bracket
December 15, 2014

[The following text appears within a diagram. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual diagram.]

1869

The entire season consists of two games between Rutgers and Princeton. Each team wins one game, yet the Tigers are later declared champions by two outlets. Ivy League bias, pre--Ivy League.

1871

No games are played, thus no champion is crowned. Alabama claims the title anyway.

1926

A formula for determining No. 1 created by a University of Illinois professor lasts 15 years. College football powers vow to never again let math influence the selection of a champion.

1935

A year before the Associated Press introduces its weekly poll, an AP editor, Alan J. Gould, picks three teams as co-champions but omits 12--1 TCU. Get used to it, Horned Frogs.

1954

The wire service polls split the champions for the first of 11 times as Ohio State (AP) and UCLA (UPI) both finish No. 1. Woody Hayes punches Charlie Bauman in frustration.

1969

President Nixon presents a national champion plaque to No. 1 Texas after its regular-season-ending win over No. 2 Arkansas. Penn State, which also finishes unbeaten, says Nixon robbed 'em. Prez responds: "I am not a crook."

1992

After two straight years of split champs, the Bowl Coalition—and later, Bowl Alliance—is created to avoid that outcome. Process works perfectly—for five years.

1998

BCS is introduced, creating a title game featuring undisputed top two teams. Except for 2000. And '01. And '04. And '06. And....

2014

Playoff finally arrives, and there is absolutely no more controversy about who deserves to be champion. Pipe down, Art Briles.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The Sixers had to replay the first 16 seconds of their Dec. 3 game after they began shooting at the wrong basket. Philly bounced back to beat the T-Wolves 85--77, ending its 0--17 start.

PHOTORUTGERS UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES (RUTGERS) PHOTONICK CARTER/AP (GOULD) PHOTONEIL LEIFER/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (NIXON) PHOTOGREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (BRILES) PHOTOHANNAH FOSLIEN/AP (SIXERS) DIAGRAM

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)