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), 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 #1 Alabama
Last week’s upset-riddled Saturday shakes up a lot of what this playoff has looked like up to this point, with two (!!) ACC teams occupying the top four spots, yet both exiting in the semi-finals. In the top money bowls, Miami becomes ACC team no. 3 to enter the conversation, while Baylor also moves into one of the major slots to face a fading Stanford team. No, I’m still not sold on Alabama, which is why they’re losing to Oregon here.
If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…
First Round (winners in italics)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (SEC champ) vs. NR UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (Sun Belt champ)
#2 Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 champ) vs. NR Tulane Green Wave (C-USA champ)
#3 Clemson Tigers (ACC champ) vs. #22 Northern Illinois Huskies (MAC champ)
#4 Florida State Seminoles (at-large) vs. #19 Fresno State Bulldogs (MWC champ)
#5 Ohio State Buckeyes (B1G champ) vs. #12 South Carolina Gamecocks (at-large)
#6 LSU Tigers (at-large) vs. #11 Stanford Cardinal (at-large)
#7 Texas A&M Aggies (at-large) vs. #10 Baylor Bears (Big 12 champ)
#8 UCLA Bruins (at-large) vs. #9 Louisville Cardinals (AAC champ)
#1 Alabama vs. #8 UCLA
#2 Oregon vs. #7 Texas A&M
#3 Clemson vs. #6 LSU
#4 Florida State vs. #5 Ohio State
#1 Alabama vs. #6 LSU
#2 Oregon vs. #4 Florida State
#2 Oregon over #6 LSU
There’s a whole lot of chalk in round one, but that clouds some very tight matchups with Texas A&M and Baylor, UCLA and Louisville, and LSU v. Stanford. It also sets up a ton of very close quarterfinal games, including the Oregon v. Texas A&M matchup we’ve all been dying to watch for quite awhile. Inevitably, we just end up at the same title game as last week, though: Oregon and LSU, albeit with LSU only needing to pull off two upsets this time around, versus three last time (a three-spot jump in the BCS rankings will do that). The Ducks are still pretty far behind Alabama in the numbers however, despite the predictions in favor of them to win it. And of course, should another weekend like this past one happen, we could be in for yet another major shake-up.