The tweak to the postseason format that will start in 2014 was made Monday during a meeting of conference commissioners and university presidents.
In September, a proposal was put forth to add a seventh game to the format that would match the best team from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American Conference against a team from the Pac-12 or Big 12.
But ultimately that plan was dumped, and instead a guaranteed spot was created to give those conferences access to the top games.
The national semifinals will rotate through six bowl games, setting up two playoff games and four major bowl games every season. The title game will be bid out each year through a separate process similar to the Super Bowl.
The six games will include three "contract bowls" and three "host bowls." The spots in the contract bowls are reserved for teams that have deals with those bowls.
The Rose Bowl has a longtime relationship with the Pac-12 and Big Ten. The Sugar Bowl just agreed to a deal with the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference. The Orange Bowl over the summer signed a deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference and is working on a deal to have a team from the SEC or Big Ten, or Notre Dame, play in the Miami-based game.
The top team from the other five conferences without ties to a contract bowl will be assured a spot in one of the host bowls. Under the original plan, teams from those five leagues could get in only through an at-large bid.
A selection committee will pick the four playoff teams and fill the spots in the host bowls.
The commissioners and presidents also announced that a higher portion of the revenue from the new format will go to the conferences of the four teams that qualify for the playoff and participate in the other games.
Also, part of the revenue sharing will be based on the NCAA's academic progress report scores.