What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Version 3.0)

Every Monday through the end of the college football season, I update my “what if” eight-team college football playoff. (Want to see how this bad boy has developed? Here are links for Version 1.0 and Version 2.0.)

Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. If they are ranked behind a non-BCS school, and have a head-to-head loss to that team, then they give up their playoff bid to that team. (I debuted this rule last week to account for Boise State’s head-to-head win over Oregon. I call it the “I Drink Your Milkshake” Rule.)

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.

People want to know why I don’t utilize a 12-team or 16-team format. Simply stated — I don’t think that either format is feasible given our current situation. Maybe we can get there down the line, but there are too many anti-playoff pundits who say that a playoff makes the regular season meaningless. (I’m looking at you, Kirk Herbstreit.) The larger the playoff, the more “meaningless” the regular season becomes. This playoff needs to be as exclusive as possible while still being inclusive enough that there isn’t a sh*tstorm when the bracket is announced.

That said, what does a college football playoff look like this season?

#8 Ohio State @ #1 Florida/Alabama
This week Florida plays Florida State and Alabama plays Auburn. Then the two teams will play in the SEC Championship for the right to have the #1 seed. The Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten title, but are #10 in the rankings, so they’re the #8 seed.

#5 Cincinnati @ #4 TCU
TCU plays New Mexico at home on Saturday, while the Bearcats have Illinois this week and #9 Pittsburgh next week. These two teams are pretty close in the standings, so it’s possible that a pair of Cincy wins might vault the Bearcats over the Horned Frogs and into the #4 seed. That would move the game from Fort Worth to Cincinnati.

#7 Georgia Tech @ #2 Texas
Texas has Texas A&M this week and Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship. Georgia Tech faces Georgia and #18 Clemson in the ACC Championship.

#6 Boise State @ #3 Florida/Alabama
Boise State takes Oregon’s spot due to the “I Drink Your Milkshake” Rule. (The Broncos beat the Ducks, 19-8, early in the season.)

Who gets screwed?
Nobody. #8 Oregon lost to #6 Boise State, while #9 Pitt has its shot when they face Cincy. #11 Iowa lost to Ohio State and #12 Oklahoma State lost to Texas. The regular season still matters…a lot.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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