What would a college football playoff look like this year?

Last year, I proposed an eight-team playoff system for college football that would take the place of the BCS. Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. There would need to be some sort of ranking system used. For now, we will use the BCS.

2. If a conference champ is ranked lower than #15 in the rankings, they give up their automatic bid and it becomes an at-large bid. (This rule is to ensure that the regular season keeps its meaning and only the elite teams make the playoffs.)

3. Seeds and at-large bids are distributed based on the current BCS standings. Certainly, these rankings need to be tweaked to place more of an emphasis on head-to-head matchups, but they are fine for now. If an at-large team has a better BCS ranking than a conference champion, they will get a higher seed.

4. There will be three rounds of playoffs. The first round will be held at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and the final will rotate amongst the four BCS cities (Miami, Pasadena, Tempe and New Orleans), so that those cities don’t lose the revenue from the bowl games.

So, at this point in the season, what would a playoff look like?

#8 Oregon @ #1 Florida/Alabama
I’m assuming everyone wins out, so since the Gators and Tide are ranked 1/2 in the BCS, the winner would be the #1 seed. Oregon is currently ranked #13, but still face two ranked teams (#17 Arizona and #23 Oregon State), so they would definitely finish in the top 15 if they win out.

#5 TCU @ #4 Cincinnati
The Horned Frogs have been destroying teams of late and another win next week against #16 Utah would help convince the voters that TCU belongs. If Cincy wins out (including wins over Virginia Tech and Pitt), then they’ll likely leapfrog the Frogs and get a home game in the first round.

#6 Georgia Tech @ #3 Florida/Alabama
Tech has to beat Duke next week before their regular season closer with in-state rival Georgia. They will likely face Clemson in the ACC championship game, which will mean that if they win out, they’ll have three wins over ranked opponents. They’d likely travel to the SEC runner-up for the first round of this playoff.

#7 Iowa @ #2 Texas
Texas is a good bet to win out and would move up to #2 since Florida and Alabama will still have to play each other in the SEC championship. Iowa is currently ranked #10, but a win next week against Ohio State would put them in position to clinch the Big Ten title. If the Buckeyes win out, they’d likely get this playoff spot.

Who gets screwed?
Boise State. They haven’t lost a game this season and have a head-to-head win over Oregon, who is in position to make the playoffs. At this point, the Broncos have to hope that the voters recognize this and rank them ahead of TCU. But then TCU would be screwed. A couple of things could be done to prevent this: 1) expand the playoff to 12 teams, or 2) if a non-BCS school has a head-to-head win over a BCS team and is ahead of that team in the rankings, then they get the bid. In this case, Boise State would replace Oregon, because the Broncos are ranked ahead of the Ducks and have a head-to-head win this season.

Please discuss.


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