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 Oregon
Semifinal 2: #2 Florida vs. #3 Kansas State
National Championship Game: Alabama over Kansas State
Oregon moved down again this week, however, they still have what may amount to four games against top 25 competition (and three against top-10 foes) left, meaning they could very well vault themselves right back up the line by season’s end. While ‘Bama-K-State may not sound like the most alluring matchup we could come up with, it’s still very much a battle of strengths: Tide defense vs. Wildcats offense.
If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…
First Round (winners in italics)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC champ) vs. #39 UL-Monroe Warhawks (Sun Belt champ)
#2 Florida Gators (at-large) vs. #33 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (C-USA champ)
#3 Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12 champ)vs. #29 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (WAC champ)
#4 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) vs. #24 Ohio Bobcats (MAC champ)
#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (at-large) vs. #22 Michigan Wolverines (B1G champ)
#6 LSU Tigers (at-large) vs. #21 Boise State Broncos (MWC champ)
#7 Oregon State Beavers (at-large) vs. #15 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Big East champ)
#8 Oklahoma Sooners (at-large) vs. #12 Florida State Seminoles (ACC champ)
#1 Alabama vs. #8 Oklahoma
#2 Florida vs. #7 Oregon State
#3 Kansas State vs. #6 LSU
#4 Oregon vs. #5 Notre Dame
#1 Alabama vs. #6 LSU
#2 Florida vs. #4 Oregon
#1 Alabama over #4 Oregon
Under the 16-team format, we end up with a lot of chalk, due to the disparity between the top eight and the rest of the field. As stressed in our weekly top 25 vote, the top 10-12 are very much set this year, with little discrepancy, but the rest of any poll (BCS included) is a muddled, close race. Within the top eight or so, they’re also very close. So while I advanced three of the top four to the semifinals, it was no easy decision. Results could very well have gone the opposite way (no scientific method here, so that’s a virtually certainty), but we are learning more about these teams every week.
Be sure to check back on these each week, as we lay out a four- and 16-team playoff based on current BCS standings.