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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Atlantic Coast Convos BCS Projections (Week 14)

The SEC Could Celebrate Another Title Before the Game Is Even Played

Rather than an in-depth rundown of all of this weekend’s championship games, we’re just going to look at the end-game — what happens after league titles are decided, and it’s time to hand out bids to the big money bowls. Along with each game below, we’ll include a brief explanation of the matchup, and how we got there. For our longer ACC Championship Game preview, however, please head over here.

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. West Virginia Mountaineers — Orange Bowl organizers, forced to take the eventual Big East champion, actually end up with a pretty favorable scenario here. A regional matchup between these two former conference-mates also allows them to put the Black Diamond Trophy up for grabs in a battle of one staunch defense against another high-powered offense.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Wisconsin Badgers — The Rose Bowl gets its wish this season, getting back to tradition by pitting the Pac-12 champ against the Big Ten champ. Oregon shouldn’t have much of a problem getting here, but the Badgers will face a tough contest this weekend against Michigan State. Both sporting high-scoring offenses, it’ll be an interesting test of wills between UO’s LaMichael James and UW’s Montee Ball to see who can run the ball more effectively.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Stanford Cardinal — On paper, this one’s an exciting matchup between two of the top five schools in the country. However, the returns may not end up that way. OSU’s offensive tempo is similar to Oregon’s, and while the Cowboys’ defensive quickness may not compare to the Ducks’, the speedy passing attack will keep the Cardinal off-balance all day.

Sugar Bowl: Houston Cougars vs. Michigan Wolverines — If the SEC and Big Ten title games shake out the way they’re supposed to, organizers will likely have to choose between Kansas State and Michigan in this one to see who faces Houston. With the guiding logic that UM will draw more TV viewers, it’s too obvious the Wolverines (by that point in the BCS top 14) will be headed to New Orleans.

BCS National Championship: LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide: Rumor has it that even if the Tigers are somehow upset in their conference title game, there’s little standing in the way of a big SEC West rematch in the national championship game. We’re hoping for a higher-scoring affair than last time obviously, but with two quality programs and a nearly-undisputed 1 v. 2 matchup, it would promise to be a great game (unlike many title games before it).