College Football Playoffs: Negative Impacts for ACC, Orange Bowl

To the ACC, a College Football Playoff May Seem Great, Until the League Takes a Look at the Disadvantage It's Dealt

As we’ve detailed before, a college football playoff is happening. There’s no turning back, and the most likely outcome is a four-team “event” matching the top four teams at neutral locations. The twist now, is whether they’ll implement the “Mandel Plan” — a design that gives a slight nod to its possible architect, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel. Under the “Mandel Plan,” the two semifinal matchups are played at the traditional conference bowl tie-in sites of the one- and two-seeds, respectively. The theory goes that this preserves the bowls (the Rose Bowl would still host at least one of the Pac-12/Big Ten champs, unless they were the third and fourth seeds) and ensures higher seeds aren’t forced to “host” games in hostile environments.

For the five power leagues, this all would make perfectly equitable sense… if everything were perfectly equitable, that is. A look at how the four-team playoff would have been set up over these past 14 years, using the BCS standings as our ranking tool (a revised version of the same rankings will probably be deciding the actual playoff participants, albeit under a different moniker): Continue reading

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College Football Playoff: Four-Team Tournament Imminent, But How Do We Create It?

ESPN's College Gameday Is Great Now -- Imagine It On Campus for a National Semifinal

As you probably know by this point, it appears we, the fans of college football, have finally been heard. There’s now a pretty good chance we’re headed toward a four-team college football playoff. And while it’ll never be perfect, anything is better than keeping the status quo of the old system — which BCS executive director Bill Hancock officially declared “dead” late Wednesday.

Our big issues now, however, are how this thing’s constructed. The four-team model appears to be what we’re going with (though not official yet, of course), but there’s still tons of uncertainty on who’d play in it and where. Some of our key questions:

Would only conference champions play in the tournament?

Dear God, I hope not. And that’s removing myself completely from rooting for the ACC to place a team in the playoff. ESPN has already told everyone that our league would be much better off with the model being pushed by Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. And though this fact is true (since the ACC hasn’t had a team in the top four of the final BCS standings since the 2007 season), a champs-only format wouldn’t really help decide the country’s best team. Continue reading

Hypothetical College Football Playoffs: ACC (Football) Tournament

What If the ACC Football Championship Were Decided By a Similar Tournament to its Basketball Championship?

In this spirit of the NCAA Tournament truly kicking off today, we wanted to take a look at an interesting concept for determining postseason bowl/playoff participants. Recent discussions have touched on both a large-scale tournament model for a college football posteason, or the more feasible progressive scheduling, with varying degrees of actual support. Instead of taking on the entire postseason in a more macro fashion though, we’ll be tossing around an idea to decide an ACC champion. This can also be applied to any other conference, but for our purposes, we’ll use our conference as the example. The basics:

  • Only 12 of the 14 teams get in. Adding multiple tiers of byes makes this thing unruly from the start.
  • Teams are seeded according to their conference record, with head-to-head, then overall W-L used as tiebreakers.
  • In this theoretical reality, the regular season would last 11 games and then launch into tournaments like this one across the country. The season would always begin the last weekend of August and have conference titles wrapped up before Christmas.
  • All games played at campus sites, save the title game. Those are played at the nearest NFL stadium to the highest seed remaining.
  • For our test here, we’re using 2011 records, and including Syracuse and Pittsburgh. They’ll be seeded 12th and 11th, based on their respective 1-1 and 1-0 records versus conference foes. Continue reading

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 15)

A Playoff Would Still Likely Result in LSU Hoisting Up the National Championship Trophy

For the final time in 2011, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids. There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ) 

#4 Stanford Cardinal (at-large) v. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) v. #21 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (C-USA champ)

#6 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. #18 TCU Horned Frogs (MWC champ)

#7 Boise State Broncos (at-large) v. #15 Clemson Tigers (ACC champ)

#8 Kansas State Wildcats (at-large) v. #10 Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten champ)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #10 Wisconsin Badgers

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #7 Boise State Broncos

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #6 Arkansas Razorbacks

#4 Stanford Cardinal v. #5 Oregon Ducks

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #5 Oregon Ducks

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys

National Championship (Rose Bowl)

#1 LSU Tigers over #3 Oklahoma State Cowboys

After a weekend of unexpected results, we saw a very different field for this hypothetical playoff. And yet, the champion remains the same. Some differences of note this week — Oklahoma State ends up in the National Championship Game (as they should be in the real world), mostly chalk moves on throughout this projection and this tournament sorely misses out by not including USC. Just for fun, let’s quickly examine what would happen if they weren’t ineligible, and they held the number-four seed (likely if they’d played and beaten Oregon for the Pac-12 title):

Round 1 Winners: #1 LSU, #2 ‘Bama, #3 OSU, #4 USC, #5 Stanford, #6 Arkansas, #7 Oregon, #10 Wisc.

Round 2 Winners: #1 LSU, #7 Oregon, #3 OSU, #4 USC

Final: LSU over OSU

… Same result, yes. But a much more entertaining way to get there, in my opinion.

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 14)

If LSU Beats Georgia Saturday, There's Little Doubt We're Headed for an All-SEC Title Game

Each week, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids (decided by head-to-head tiebreakers if no conference title game here). There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ) 

#4 Stanford Cardinal (at-large) v. #23 West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5  Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC champ) v. #18 TCU Horned Frogs (MWC champ)

#6 Houston Cougars (C-USA champ) v. #13 Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten champ)

#7 Boise State Broncos (at-large) v. #10 Oklahoma Sooners (at-large)

#8 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. #9 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #13 Michigan State Spartans

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #10 Oklahoma Sooners

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #9 Oregon Ducks

#4 Stanford Cardinal v. #5 Virginia Tech Hokies

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #9 Oregon Ducks

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #4 Stanford Cardinal

National Championship (Rose Bowl)

#1 LSU Tigers over #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Based on this weekend’s championship games, these rankings are guaranteed to change. With a big win over Oklahoma, OSU could still (potentially) leapfrog Alabama into the number-two spot, and LSU could (but won’t) lose the SEC title game. If Michigan State manages to win the Big Ten title, they could also potentially move into the top 10 of these rankings. Taking a look at the SEC/Pac-12 semifinals, it remains the most likely scenario as they, along with the Cowboys, are the least-flawed teams in this field.

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 13)

Les Miles and LSU Continue To Win in Real Life and in Our Hypothetical Playoff

Each week, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids (decided by head-to-head tiebreakers if no conference title game here). There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ) 

#4 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v, NR West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5 Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC champ) v. #20 TCU Horned Frogs (MWC champ)

#6 Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champ) v. #14 Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten champ)

#7 Boise State Broncos (at-large) v. #10 Oregon Ducks (at-large)

#8 Houston Cougars (C-USA champ)  v. #9 Oklahoma Sooners (at-large)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #20 TCU Horned Frogs

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #10 Oregon Ducks

#3 Arkansas Razorbacks v. #9 Oklahoma Sooners

#4 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #6 Stanford Cardinal

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #4 Oklahoma State Cowboys

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #3 Arkansas Razorbacks

National Championship (Rose Bowl)

#1 LSU Tigers over #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Big upsets over this past weekend created a pretty sizable seeding shake-up, allowing Boise State to re-enter the playoffs while also almost knocking out Oregon. Since there’s still plenty of room for error in these most recent BCS standings, there were plenty of upsets in the hypothetical first round (three of eight lower seeds won). Unfortunately, this ended up creating several unfavorable second-round matchups (OSU-Stanford, ‘Bama-Oregon) for underdogs that look insurmountable on paper. So once again, after round one, it was all chalk. Fun to see in-state opening round games like LSU-Louisiana Tech and Arkansas-Arkansas State shake out though.

Hypothetical College Football Playoff (Week 10)

If College Football Had a Playoff, Would Stanford be Playing for the Title?

Each week, we’ll discuss what a 16-team college football playoff would look like. Using the BCS standings, we’ll hand out five at-large berths, to go along with the 11 conference champions, who all receive automatic bids. There are no limits on how many teams from one league can qualify, and conferences may very well end up facing each other in the first round. Teams are seeded in order of BCS ranking, and reseeded after each round.

First Round (winners in italics)

#1 LSU Tigers (SEC champ) v. NR Nevada Wolfpack (WAC champ)

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide (at-large) v. NR Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champ) v. NR Arkansas State Red Wolves (Sun Belt champ)

#4 Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 champ) v, #24 West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East champ)

#5 Boise State Broncos (MWC champ) v. #13 Houston Cougars (C-USA champ)

#6 Oklahoma Sooners (at-large) v. #11 Clemson Tigers (ACC champ)

#7 Arkansas Razorbacks (at-large) v. #10 Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big Ten champ)

#8 Oregon Ducks (at-large) v. #9 South Carolina Gamecocks (at-large)

Quarterfinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #11 Clemson Tigers

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #10 Nebraska Cornhuskers

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys v. #8 Oregon Ducks

#4 Stanford Cardinal v. #5 Boise State Broncos

Semifinals

#1 LSU Tigers v. #8 Oregon Ducks

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide v. #4 Stanford Cardinal

National Championship

#1 LSU Tigers over #4 Stanford Cardinal

Funny enough, I predicted this title game back in August (in the current bowl system), but with both teams still undefeated, it’s absolutely possible. While LSU was virtually untested in this theoretical playoff due to some lucky upsets, Stanford faced off against a gauntlet of high-powered foes, culminating with the Tigers. With the huge #1 v. #2 game this Saturday between the Tigers and Crimson Tide, these rankings will definitely be shaken up for next week. But right now, it’s hard not to see LSU take home their third title of the BCS era.