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 who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (projected by BCSGuru), 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…
National Championship: #2 Oregon over #4 Stanford
LSU’s loss to Georgia last week really tossed a wrench in the gears of what we had going on. But the reworked version for this week certainly looks like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? We switched Clemson and Stanford around to avoid an all-Pac-12 Rose Bowl (assuming that’s what they’d do in real life), and the Ducks were awarded the title by way of being terrifying this year. Also good to see: UCLA nabbing a Fiesta Bowl spot against LSU in what would be an extremely entertaining matchup.
If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…
First Round (winners in italics)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC Champ) vs. NR Texas State Bobcats (Sun Belt champ)
#2 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) vs. #37 East Carolina Pirates (C-USA champ)
#3 Clemson Tigers (ACC champ) vs. #24 Fresno State Bulldogs (MWC champ)
#4 Stanford Cardinal (at-large) vs. #21 Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes (B1G champ) vs. #12 UCLA Bruins (at-large)
#6 Georgia Bulldogs (at-large) vs. #11 Louisville Cardinals (AAC champ)
#7 Florida State Seminoles (at-large) vs. #10 LSU Tigers (at-large)
#8 Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12 champ) vs. #9 Texas A&M Aggies (at-large)
#1 Alabama vs. #12 UCLA
#2 Oregon vs. #10 LSU
#3 Clemson vs. #9 Texas A&M
#4 Stanford vs. #6 Georgia
#1 Alabama vs. #10 LSU
#4 Stanford vs. #9 Texas A&M
#4 Stanford over #10 LSU
In this setup, Stanford is easily dealt the toughest hand of all (LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia) due to upsets, but I still think they get the job done vs. LSU. Those same upsets though, do create quite the bracket overall, with a ton of exciting, surprising matchups across the board. For top teams like Clemson and Oregon, matchups with teams like LSU and Texas A&M are brutal. We can also see Alabama somehow walking through this entire thing unscathed, since they get to face low seeds the whole time. Fingers crossed the FBS secession brings this together sooner rather than later.