Imagine the College Football Playoff. WIth eight teams. I’m probably the first to put that thought in your mind huh? No. Probably not. Since before the four team playoff, people were talking about an eight team playoff. With five power conferences and a dominant Group of 5 team every season, it makes no sense to have just four. However, four has been enough to satisfy the last couple of seasons. We’ve had Georgia-Oklahoma, Georgia-Alabama, Alabama-Clemson, and Ohio State-Alabama and a couple of snoozers. But aside from the first season, there’s been little controversy on who the best team in the land is. However, do we really know? Would an eight team playoff get rid of all doubt? Just about.
How would it work anyway and what would it look like? Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Every P5 Champion gets an automatic bid
- Highest Ranked G5 team gets a bid (If they are in the top 15)
- Two highest ranked non-champions get in
- CFB Playoff Committee ranks those teams from 1-8 using same criteria as now
- First Round is on higher ranked opponents home field, 1.5-2 weeks after the conference championship.
- Final Four continues the way it does now
Pretty easy right? We only add 1 more game, and only two teams play that 16th game and never have to play two within 7 days. If needed, taking away a regular season game or giving every team an extra bye week and starting the season a week early. Whatever gives us more football but not putting the student-athlete or more risk than they already are.
Anyway, interested to see how this would have played out in 2014-15-16 and 17? I’ll show you using the CFB Playoff Committee Rankings and WhatIfSim (An awesome sports simulation)
2014 Field :
1. Alabama 12-1 – SEC Champ vs 8. Michigan State 10-2 – At Large
2. Oregon 12-1 – P12 Champ vs 7. Mississippi State 10-2 – At Large
3. Florida State 13-0 – ACC Champ vs 6. TCU 11-1 – At Large
4. Ohio State 12-1 – B10 Champ vs 5. Baylor 11-1 – B12 Champ
Boise State was ranked 20th and at 11-2 there shouldn’t be much uproar about them not getting in. They did, however, beat #11 Arizona in their bowl game that year but still finished 16th.
First round results:
Alabama 41 Michigan State 13 It was 35-10 at the start of the fourth. Bama was not about to lose at home to Michigan State, they did beat them 38-0 the next year.
Mississippi State 30 Oregon 27 – Dak Prescott vs Marcus Mariota ends in a nail biter. Oregon kicks a FG to tie it and Prescott leads them down the field with 1:31 to go to kick the game winning field goal as time expires. Wow already better than a four team playoff.
TCU 37 Florida State 26 – Jameis Winston was sacked 5 times and TCU rushed for over 200 yards in this one, this is pretty close to what the score would have been in real life. FSU was 13-0 but wasn’t fooling anyone and TCU is the reason we had an 8 team playoff discussion to begin with.
Baylor 23 Ohio State 14 – This is where things get weird. Baylor that lost to UCF in their bowl game gets beat by Ohio State who beat Bama a day later in real life. Oh well, it’s just for fun.
Second Round results (Neutral Field) :
1._Alabama 38 5. Baylor 17 – Alabama was up 38-10 at the start of the fourth. I was unaware Bama was this good in a down year.
6. TCU 38 7. Mississippi State 36 – Considering TCU won this game 42-3 that season, I’d stop writing this article if MSU had won. This game was tied 20-20 going into OT. 3 OT later and MSU fails to convert a pass play on a two point conversion and loses the game. A lot more exciting than the real life match up.
1._Alabama 41 6. TCU 10 – What? Did you think Bama was just gonna lose or something? To be fair, I simulated it 10 times and Bama won 8 with the rest of the games being a lot closer. But Nick Saban wins his third championship in a row in this simulation.
On to 2015! Hey Baker and Deshaun! and Iowa?
1 Clemson 13-0 – ACC vs 8 Notre Dame 10-2 – G5?
2 Alabama 12-1 – SEC vs 7 Ohio State 11-1 – At Large
3 Michigan State 12-1 vs B10 6 Stanford 11-2 – PAC
4 Oklahoma 11-1 – B12 vs 5 Iowa 12-1 – At Large
Houston was 12-1 and ranked 18th… Maybe it’s time for a rule change as they’d go on to beat Florida State. Ratings favor Notre Dame.
First Round (Home Field):
8 Notre Dame 41 1 Clemson 38 – Oh no. College Football is turned upside down. Watson throws 5 TD’s and 4 interceptions. Kizer goes 2-0.
2 Alabama 28 7 Ohio State 0 – Urban Meyer apparently is bound to get shutout in the playoff during this time period it looks like. What’s really weird? I changed the lineup to Cardale Jones and Jones lost 21-28. Alabama’s gonna win again huh…
3 Michigan State 24 6 Stanford 17 – Okay, we’re starting to make sense again. Michigan State scores all 3 TD’s in the fourth quarter.
4 Oklahoma 31 5 Iowa 13 – Funny enough, this was also the exact result of the 2011 Insight Bowl. Don’t ask me how I know. Baker throws 3 TD’s.
4 Oklahoma 28 8 Notre Dame 23 – This makes sense, Oklahoma rushes for 200+ yards and Baker throws 2 TD’s. Clemson beat them that year but Notre Dame wouldn’t have.
3 Michigan State 16 2 Alabama 13 – For those who remember, this game happened and Bama won 38-0. Apparently, that doesn’t happen in the Sim world. Sparty is going for a title after a GW FG!
4 Oklahoma 37 3 Michigan State 13 – Well Sparty it was nice while it lasted. Oklahoma, who was beaten 37-17 in the Orange Bowl by Clemson that year and would have had to face Bama, gets a gift from Notre Dame and Michigan State, two teams they were able to beat get that national championship. Bob Stoops likely retires into the sunset a year early.
1 Alabama 13-0 SEC vs 8 Western Michigan 13-0 G5
2 Clemson 12-1 ACC vs 7 Oklahoma B12 10-2
3 Ohio State 11-1 B10 vs 6 Michigan At-Large 10-2
4 Washington 12-1 PAC vs 5 Penn State At-Large 11-2
Western Michigan was #15 #RowTheBoat!
First Round Results (Home Field):
1 Alabama 38 8 Western Michigan 22 – Not a bad performance from WM. After the first 5 minutes, Alabama only outscored them by 2.
7 Oklahoma 34 2 Clemson 16 – Wow. Baker is the Playoff GOAT in WhatIF. He’s 4-0 but Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine have had a big say in that along with their defense.
6 Michigan 26 3 Ohio State 17 – In the epic rematch (for those that remember) Michigan finally wins a playoff game against hated rival Ohio State. It’s been a rough playoff time for the Buckeyes. This game would have been epic in real life too.
4 Washington 49 5 Penn State 24 – Well. Jake Browning was really good this year. But the fact that Washington was up 33-0 is crazy. But like I said, this is college football. It’s hard to be surprised at this point. Penn State would go on to lose to USC in an epic Rose Bowl in real life football.
1 Alabama 31 4 Washington 24 – Alabama won this 24-7 in real life football that year, which isn’t too much of a surprise to see Washington finally scored a couple more. However, they forgot to stop Bama one more time and the Crimson Tide advance as Browning’s 3 TD’s aren’t enough.
7 Oklahoma 55 6 Michigan 37 – 55-37? Okay, sign me up for this 8 team playoff. This totally beats the 31-0 Clemson beating that they put on Ohio State two years ago. Baker throws 5 TD’s in 24 attempts while Michigan rushes for 300+.
7 Oklahoma 49 1 Alabama 24 – Okay. College Football is back to upside down. Oklahoma who lost to Houston and got demolished by Ohio State earlier in the season by 24, finishes on a 12 game winning streak. Mayfield has now thrown 15 TD’s and 0 interceptions in these simulations and a 6-0 record. What is life.
Can he three-peat in the next season? It will be decided by CFB SIM, not WhatIF Sim, so who knows what the future holds.
1 Clemson vs 8 UCF
2 Oklahoma vs 7 Auburn
3 Georgia vs 6 Wisconsin
4 Alabama vs 5 Ohio State
UCF makes it! Can they win it all?
First Round (Home Field):
8 UCF 23 1 Clemson 20 – Oh no, we’ve broken the matrix. A missed FG at the end of the game dooms #1 Clemson. Was UCF right all along? Either way, this beats the Bama-Clemson game.
2 Oklahoma 62 7 Auburn 20 – Dear lord, I go to this school and if they were 7-0 in playoff games I wouldn’t know what to do with myself (I solemnly swear I didn’t rig it, I use the first simulation no matter what). Even Kyler Murray scored in this one.
3 Georgia 40 6 Wisconsin 9 – This I agree with. Fromm throws 3 TD’s and Chubb scores 2 himself. Poor Wisconsin. 12-0 just to lose the last two. But better to dance and lose 40-9 than to never dance I guess.
4 Alabama 34 5 Ohio State 31 – See this is what it’s all about. Two teams arguing and deciding it on the field. This is about what I’d expect the score to be, and the sim has Bama winning it 6/10 times.
8 UCF 10 4 Alabama 27 – The game of the century for UCF fans. The wait is over. We know the true real life national champion (if we didn’t already). Bama won this 82% of the time with an average score of 38-21.
2 Oklahoma 10 3 Georgia 23 – The epic rematch of one of the best bowl games of all time is close but doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Baker throws his first interception and Georgia’s defense holds an Oklahoma offense that just scored 63, to 10. As a Sooners fan, this season feels a lot more accurate *sigh*. Georgia gets a chance to right their wrong in the national championship game.
National Championship (Part 2):
3 Georgia 24 4 Alabama 13 – Wow. So Alabama wins a championship in the only year it didn’t play for one, and Georgia finally takes down the king of the SEC. This game doesn’t beat the last one, but if you ask America, they’d rather see Bama lose by 11 than win an exciting game. Bama losing is exciting in its own.
The College Football Playoff is awesome right now. There’s a little more blowouts than their is close games, but that doesn;t necessarily change when you move to eight. What’s cool though is seeing Group of 5 teams and 7th and 8th seed teams proving they finished the season as the best team.
Baker has two rings, Deshaun Watson got none, Urban Meyer might be fired by now, and Bama only has 1 championship in the last four seasons. Is this an alternate reality you would prefer? It’s too late now, but with an 8 team playoff it seems the chances of a great playoff increase tremendously. More games, more overtimes, more time to spend with the sport. It’s a win win for everyone except Urban Meyer.