Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2013: Week 9

If The College Football Playoff Happened This Season, Here's Who We'd Be Watching...

If the College Football Playoff Happened This Season, Here’s Who We’d Be Watching…

The dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (immediately following the 2014 season), so this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-another-year 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 a large majority of the individuals who will ultimately decide who’s in and who’s out.

So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (projected by BCSGuru where necessary), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Rose Bowl (semifinal): #2 Florida State vs. #3 Oregon

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #1 Alabama vs. #4 Ohio State

National Championship: #1 Alabama over #2 Florida State

Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Missouri

Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Fresno State

Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Texas Tech

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Miami vs. Auburn

A lot’s changed here: a new national champ, new teams occupying most of the top bowls, and a bunch of very intriguing matchups, plus ACC and SEC dominance in full force. All of that will happen when half of the top 10 loses in a single week. Alabama v. Florida State is the National Championship game we’d all pay to see. FSU-Oregon is the semi-final we’d pay an incredible amount to attend. For the first time in this hypothetical setup, we have a slew of appealing games that remind us why we wanted this setup in the first place…

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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Notre Dame, ACC Announce Football Opponents Rotation for 2014 Through 2016 Seasons

Syracuse and Notre Dame Will Face Off Twice in the First Three Years of the ACC Scheduling Arrangement

Syracuse & Notre Dame Face Off Twice in the First Three Years of the ACC Scheduling Arrangement

The big news out of Notre Dame‘s camp today (after yesterday’s announcement regarding the NBC contract extension) is the rotation of ACC football opponents for the 2014 through 2016 seasons. As a quick refresher, the Fighting Irish will play five ACC teams per season going forward, and with 14 conference teams, there’s no simple rotation available. Still, per the release today, the schedule will look like this (dates TBD):

2014

Home: Louisville, North Carolina, Wake Forest
Road: Florida State, Syracuse

2015

Home: Boston College, Georgia Tech
Road: Clemson, Pittsburgh, Virginia

2016

Home: Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech
Road: NC State, Syracuse

… we took a crack at figuring what the schedule would look like about a month ago, and while we swung and missed on several of these (understandably so — there were a lot of options to go with), we did correctly guess that Syracuse would be doubled up on the first rotation. This is likely due to the Meadowlands arrangement that’s already in place, rather than a favoritism toward facing the Orange (if anything, I’m sure ND would rather play BC or Pitt more often than the others).

So while that all appears pretty cut-and-dry, it actually ends up leading to a few more questions: Who gets doubled up on the rotation’s next go-around? Will it have to be a high-profile team (FSU, Clemson, Georgia Tech, VaTech) or one playing at a neutral site? And where will these games be televised? Assuming ESPN, for sure, on these Notre Dame road games. But what of the home games? Are they all just automatically sent over to NBC?

The Irish also have to spend some time clearing room on the 2014 schedule, with one more game left to go after they removed Arizona State. I’d bet the pick there is Rice, but at the same time, the Owls would be one of Notre Dame’s only breaks in what’s otherwise a monster slate of major-conference teams.

Thoughts? Complaints? Sour grapes over Syracuse getting two games in this rotation despite being one of the “new guys?” Share your commentary below.

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Conference Realignment: What If Conferences Were Redrawn By Academics?

What if college athletic conferences were realigned based on institutions’ academic standing?

With the apparent breakneck speed of the conference realignment carousel, most have lost sight of the fact that these teams are academic institutions, and not just brands. But what if, instead of athletic earning potential, they were rearranged by academic ranking? The stature of conference partners may not matter to Florida State trustees, but it apparently matters a good deal to those in-charge at Miami. So while this would obviously never happen, it’s fun to imagine what-if. Especially for the fan bases that are a bit more obsessive about how academics fit into the realignment game than others may be.

For the groupings below, we took a look at U.S. News & World Report’s Top National Universities list for 2012. Yes, we’re well aware these rankings mean nothing and are very imperfect and flawed. Funny enough, so are the BCS rankings and conference realignment, yet those play an pretty important role in a lot of college football happenings, now don’t they? Since we were limited to the top 200 overall, just 93 FBS schools were ranked (service academies not included).

Conference One: The “Not-Quite-Ivy” League

In order: Stanford | Duke | Northwestern | Rice | Vanderbilt | Notre Dame | California | USC | UCLA | Virginia | Wake Forest | Michigan

By division: East: Duke, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Virginia

West: Stanford, Rice, California, USC, UCLA, Michigan

Commentary: All four California schools from the Pac-12 stick together, and align themselves with Michigan and Notre Dame, two schools they all have plenty of experience playing over the years (some more than others). Vanderbilt and Rice definitely upgrade themselves to a group of more academically-suitable peers, and not surprisingly, there are three ACC schools here, too. Also of note, four of these schools appear in early renditions of a 2012 top 25. This setup also wouldn’t do half-bad from a money standpoint, capturing the Los Angeles, Bay Area, Chicago and Nashville markets outright, along with Raleigh, Houston, Detroit and Washington D.C. Continue reading