Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. Also, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.
If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…
Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Notre Dame
Semifinal 2: #2 Kansas State vs. #3 Oregon
National Championship Game: Alabama over Oregon
Thus far this year, there’s a top four, and then everyone else. That may change, but with the evidence we’ve amassed through nine games, these are your best teams and a playoff would be the perfect way to decide which of them is best. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait on that in real life, but here, we get to “watch” it play out. I’m more and more convinced each week that Oregon and Alabama would be the most fun you’ll ever have watching a National Championship Game, while ND vs. Alabama could be the most insufferable of all possibilities. Unless LSU creeps back into the top four, it’s hard to visualize another team punching ‘Bama in the mouth quite like the Tigers did last Saturday night.
If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…
First Round (winners in italics)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC champ) vs. #43 UL-Monroe Warhawks (Sun Belt champ)
#2 Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champ) vs. #39 Central Florida Knights (C-USA champ)
#3 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) vs. #28 Boise State Broncos (MWC champ)
#4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (at-large) vs. #25 Toledo Rockets (MAC champ)
#5 Georgia Bulldogs (at-large) vs. #20 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)
#6 Florida Gators (at-large) vs. #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (B1G champ)
#7 LSU Tigers (at-large) vs. #10 Florida State Seminoles (ACC champ)
#8 South Carolina Gamecocks (at-large) vs. #9 Louisville Cardinals (Big East champ)
#1 Alabama vs. #8 South Carolina
#2 Kansas State vs. #7 LSU
#3 Oregon vs. #6 Florida
#4 Notre Dame vs. #5 Georgia
#1 Alabama vs. #7 LSU
#3 Oregon vs. #5 Georgia
#3 Oregon over #7 LSU
The way things are currently laid out favoring the SEC, you end up with a ton of chalk in the first round (lame), but then in this scenario, all hell breaks lose come the quarterfinals. For the most part, these have been the country’s eight best teams for much of the season (save Georgia, who’s in and out), so it’s a toss-up on a lot of the games. On the quarterfinal upsets, I picked LSU over K-State because the Tigers know how to attack a one-trick team like the Wildcats. Georgia got the nod over Notre Dame due to the Bulldogs’ offensive depth. Regarding the LSU over Alabama pick, I alluded to this up top that Alabama’s big problem would be meeting up with LSU again. Well, in this case they do, and this time, the Tigers get the job done. There’s no stopping the freight train that is Oregon, though, so they get the National championship in our hypothetical 16-team event.
Be sure to check back on these each week, as we lay out a four- and 16-team playoff based on current BCS standings.