What If…College Football Playoff Scenarios

The College Football Playoff Committee had a pretty easy job when they announced the top four teams. It was obvious to everyone that LSU, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma would be involved in some way. The only argument was – who gets the #1 seed. I believe they got the order right. Some – Tommy Nuggets – may cry about this for a while. However, LSU was the clear #1 team in the nation.

Obviously, everyone would love a much larger playoff picture. I decided to take a look at what games we could have if the playoff field were to expand.

To keep things consistent, I used the latest CFP rankings to determine seeding:

*Oklahoma State is #25 – it didn’t fit in the screenshot

Six Team Playoff

A six team playoff looks pretty nice. The top two seeds are rewarded with a bye in the opening round. Every Power 5 conference champion gets in, plus one at large team – Georgia. The one thing I do not like about this is that we could see another LSU-Georgia game.

If Georgia and Oregon were to swap places – this would be the ultimate playoff bracket for me. We would avoid another SEC rematch possibility until the championship game.

As it stands with the current format, teams can play an additional two games. This bracket sets up the possibility of a team playing three postseason games.

Eight Team Playoff

I like the opening round games we get in this bracket. Wisconsin comes in as a solid #8 seed, we would see if LSU is the real deal or if the Big 10 is legit. Clemson would get their first true test of the season against #6 Oregon. Ohio State would likely steamroll #7 Baylor to show how weak the Big 12 was this year.

Twelve Team Playoff

This is where things start to look messy. You have the possibility of teams playing an additional four postseason games with this bracket. We are also looking at a number of possible rematches – with Oregon and Utah immediately playing back-to-back games in the opening round. Georgia would play Auburn for a second time this season. Penn State would set up to play Ohio State again with a win – Florida would have a rematch against LSU with a win.

I would LOVE to watch a playoff like this, but many of the games are looking redundant.

For this to work they would need to have the ability to flex the seeding to avoid conference rematches in the opening round. If we swapped Auburn and Utah – we could get a rematch between Oregon and Auburn, along with an interesting Georgia and Utah game.

Sixteen Team Playoff

We get all of the same opening round games that we would get from the twelve team playoff. Rather than awarding a first round bye to the top four seeds, they would play against the 13th-16th ranked teams in the opening round.

This would buy us an interesting game with #13 Alabama against #4 Oklahoma – a game the Crimson Tide would likely win. #15 Notre Dame at #2 Ohio State would give us a classing matchup in the opening round.

The nice thing about this is, if you focus in on Oklahoma – they would have to prove they are for real against SEC competition before making it to the semifinal.

Thirty-Two Team Playoff

#26-#32 were based upon highest vote getters in the AP poll.

This is ridiculous. The two teams in the national championship would play five postseason games.

Final Thoughts

As it stands this season – I think the best playoff format would be a six team playoff. You include all of the Power 5 conference champions and one at large team. You also have an opportunity to reward the two best teams with a first round bye.

As we expand the playoff the games get a little redundant – the regular season would lose too much meaning if you make this thing too big.

What do you think the playoff should look like? Are you happy with the four team format, or would you prefer to expand this thing?

– Buzz

College Football Overhaul: Conference Realignment – Version 2.5

This is my second attempt at fixing college football. There have been a few subtle changes – but the general idea is the same. If you want to read in depth about Version 1.0, follow the link.

Version 1.0

Version 2.0

Changes:

  • Missouri and Nebraska have moved from the Pac 18 to the Big 18.
  • Oklahoma and Oklahoma State moved from the Big 18 to the Pac 18.
  • LSU, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State are now in the Big 18: Greater Texas.
  • Arkansas, Nebraska, and Missouri are now in the Big 18: Mississippi River.

This looks significantly better at first glance. The Mississippi River division of the Big 18 was awkward in Version 1.0. Now it is split into what is essentially North and South. The biggest issue I have with this is that Oklahoma and Texas are no longer in the same conference. However, they are now set up to meet in the National Semi-Final if everything pans out – so I like that angle. The addition of Oklahoma evens out the divisional powers in the Pac 18 too.

Version 2.5

Changes:

  • The River Valley Conference is now the Northeast Conference.
  • River Valley: Great Lakes is now called Northeast: River Valley.
  • River Valley: Northeast is now called Northeast: Coastal.
  • Louisville and Kentucky move from the ACC: Mideast to the Northeast: River Valley division.
  • Virginia and Virginia Tech move from the River Valley: Great Lakes to the ACC: Mideast.

The East Coast is a lot more visually appealing now. The divisions make a little more sense, and look less awkward. You never really think about Louisville and Kentucky as being close to all of the Big Ten schools until you look at a map – I think this works well.

Wrap Up

Looking at the map now, I’d like to find a way to strengthen the Northeast: Coastal division. What other changes would you like to see? What teams are still being left out?

– Buzz

College Football Overhaul: Conference Realignment

I love college football. Even with the many flaws that are within the game – it remains one of the most entertaining forms of content in the world. I got bored the other day and decided to see what I could do about making the season more meaningful and entertaining for me. Everyone thinks they can fix college football – so this is what I think would work.

With this map I have the sport moving to four conferences with 18 teams, 72 teams total in Division 1.

Each conference would have two divisions with nine teams. To help build the schedule – each team plays a game against those within their division. That’s 8 games. Teams get to 12 games by playing four of the teams in the other division within their conference. There would be no out of conference games.

Geography and traditional rivalries were heavily considered when I put this together. I respected state borders and kept in state teams in the same division.

Pac 18

When I started working on this map I started on the West Coast. The first version of this had Fresno State, Colorado State and Utah State included – but as I moved the map East I had to bump them out. The reality of the geographical college football landscape is that there are just a larger number of competitive teams on the East Coast. Therefore, I had to stretch the Pac 18 all the way to Missouri in order to make things work.

The Pac 18 Coastal has a traditional Pac 10 vibe to it. Boise State earns their way in with the Power 5 schools after proving year in and year out that they belong with the big dogs.

The Pac 18 Desert reminds me a bit of the old Big 12 – with Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Colorado joining the Arizona and Utah schools. BYU has to dump their conference independence – but fits in well in a division with their rival Utah.

Big 18

The Big 18 turned into a fun combination of many of today’s college football conferences. We have Big 12, Big Ten, AAC and SEC schools in this new conference.

The first thing I started with was finally placing all of the Texas schools in the same division. I then added in the two Oklahoma schools along with neighboring Arkansas to get to nine in the Greater Texas division.

The Mississippi River division was hard to put together. The name is from all of these schools coming from states that border the river. I wanted to keep in-state rivalries in tact – and it would be interesting to see the SEC schools going to play in-division games in the North late in the season.

River Valley

I am unsure about the name that I gave this conference – but all the schools are generally in the area of the Ohio River Valley.

The Great Lakes division has classic Big Ten vibes – and it finally pulls Notre Dame into a conference. I also included neighboring West Virginia and the two Virginia schools.

The Northeast division is probably the weakest of all from a football standpoint – but the strongest from a patriotic standpoint thanks to the two military academies.

ACC

The new ACC is a combination of SEC, ACC, and AAC schools. This is the strongest conference with Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia at the top.

The ACC: Southeast is the strongest division that I put together. You have SEC powers Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia joining the Florida schools. Georgia Tech is also there.

The ACC: Mideast is a strong baseball and basketball division – but the football is just OK. Clemson likely runs away with this division most years, but the battle for 2nd could be interesting. I had to bump Wake Forest out of this division to get it down to nine. For me, it did not make sense to have four schools coming from North Carolina – so the Demon Deacons got removed.

Playoffs

Playoffs would consist of 16 teams. The top two teams from each division make the playoffs. The top seed from one division would play the two seed from the opposite division. The winners would play for the conference championship.

The conference winners would get us to our college football playoff semi-final. The Pac 18 winner would play the Big 18 winner. The ACC winner would play the River Valley winner. The teams that win those National Semi-Finals would go on to play for the National Championship.

So you have 12 regular season games, a conference semi final, a conference final, a playoff semi final, and a national championship. That is a maximum of 16 games. Clemson played 15 games last year – not bad.

Wrap Up

After staring at this for a while it is really hard to if there is anything that I missed. Were any important or traditional schools left out that should have been included? Any ideas for better conference names? Is there a better way to draw this up? I’d love to hear any input and will update this if there are any big changes.

– Buzz