What If There Were a playoff? Longhorns Title Hopes Crushed in First Round!

Jon Sarver@https://twitter.com/sarvercgCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2009

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 27:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 27, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

What Would be the 2009 NCAA Football Second Round Pairings If There Were a 16 Team Playoff ?  

The first round is over and the first-ever 2009 16-Team College Football Playoff was a smashing success. With home games awarded to the top four seeds it looked on paper like a certainty there would be no surprises. 

It was anything but...

The GridIron Gauntlet Committees Pairings turned out to be very exciting as each first-round game was anything but routine. 

We stated last week...

"The committee believes the final BCS poll was fairly accurate with one slight change which would fit our exclusive 'injustice criteria.' This criteria puts Florida ahead of Cincinnati and TCU based on 'strength of loss' to Alabama. However, because of the location of the Cotton Bowl site to TCU, we feel this round has been fairly bracketed for all the teams."

First Round Pairings Explained

All first-round games are played at the top four teams' home sites regardless of how many teams from the same conference might be included.

In this case we have rewarded two SEC teams for great regular seasons. The remaining four games will be held in traditional non BCS bowl sites for the first four years with an opportunity for other non BCS bowl sites to bid after the initial four years.

It is important to note that the teams are required to arrive at these sites the traditional 36 hours before the game (See GridIron Gauntlet Explained for more detail).


Super Saturday Dec 12th, 2009

Sugar Bowl Bracket

#1 Alabama (36) vs #16 West Virginia (34) (12:30 PM Kickoff EST):

Coach Nick Saban stated the Crimson Tide were "a bit flat after their emotional victory over Florida," the week before and lucky to come from behind with 36 seconds left to edge a tough West Virginia team 36-34 before an overflow crowd of 93,210 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Greg McElroy completed a 36-yard touchdown swing pass to Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram who caught the ball in the back field and proved that he was the right Heisman pick by breaking four tackles on the way to the end zone.

West Virginia's Jarrett Brown was 16-for-30 for 200 yards, but passed his way to the Mountaineer 34 yard line where a 51-yard field goal grazed the goal post and fell away as Alabama continued its perilous march to the GridIron Gauntlet National Championship Game in late January

#8 Ohio State (34) vs #9 Georgia Tech (20)  (1:15 PM Kickoff EST):

In Orlando at the Capital One Bowl Site, the eighth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes proved a long held contention that the Big Ten could be competitive if they simply had more games between the traditional bowls and the end of their season.

That was the case as Terrelle Pryor and Brandon Saine confused the Georgia Tech defense all day together completing 23-of-30 pass attempts for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Buckeyes broke a late 20-20 tie with two late scores.

Jonathon Dwyer was the workhorse for Georgia Tech with 20 carries for 139 yards and a 62-yard touchdown that gave Georgia Tech the halftime lead of 14-10.

The second half proved too much for the Yellow Jackets, however, as Josh Nesbitt's threw a late interception as Tech was driving for the tying score that ended up being the nail in the coffin. Ohio State came away partially vindicated for several major BCS Bowl loses during the last few years.

This sets up a second-round Sugar Bowl matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 8 Ohio State in the 2010 Sugar Bowl to be played New Years Eve at 8:00 EST.


Fiesta Bowl Bracket

#5 TCU (46) vs #12 LSU (28) (2:00 PM EST):

In a game  played at the new Cotton Bowl site, Cowboys Stadium, TCU dismantled LSU 46-28 before 100,215 crazy TCU fans in a game that was not as close as the score indicated.

Behind Andy Dalton's two long first quarter touchdown passes, TCU ran out to a 21-0 first half lead, and the all-Texas party was in full effect.

Joseph Turner closed out the first half scoring with a 30-yard touchdown and LSU was done. TCU remained undefeated headed into a second-round game in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st.

#4 Cincinnati (21) vs #13 Penn State (20)  (2:45 PM EST):

In the best back-and-forth game of the day, the Cincinnati Bearcats struggled to a hard fought 21-20 victory over Joe Paterno and the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Bearcats' Nippert Stadium before a very excited sellout crowd.

Tony Pike lead the Bearcat charge with a 21-yard touchdown pass that vaulted Cincinnati to an early lead despite several close calls late in the game.

Evan Royster led Penn State with 121 yards rushing and just missing getting his team into field goal position in the last 25 seconds of the game. Penn State missed on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game.

Both Cincinnati and TCU advanced to the Fiesta Bowl pitting two undefeated teams against each other in the evening of January 1st.


Rose Bowl Bracket

#2 Texas (35) vs #15 Miami (38) (FL) (3:30 PM EST):

In a game that vindicated a playoff and knocked off the No. 2 team in the country, a perennial NCAA football power announced "We're back!" by shocking Texas 38-35 with a 26-yard touchdown pass as time ran out.

It was a frustrating game for Texas all day as they proved the close call with Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship was no fluke. The defense of Texas struggled all day as Miami ran and passed up and down the field.

Over 101,000 Texas fans sat in dismay as they came to grips with the fact that they were indeed the second best team in the state of Texas. Colt McCoy ended his distinguished Longhorn career with a fumble with 120 seconds left that led to the winning score.

Mack Brown, a strong proponent of a 16-team college football playoff, was heard saying as he walked off the field, "That's why we play the game and this is why we have a playoff. It just stinks it was my team that proved this is the right playoff plan for these times."


#7 Oregon (59) vs #10 Iowa (28) (5:45 PM EST):

It was a game that awoke memories of Rose Bowls past. No. 7 Oregon continued to dominate late in the season with a convincing 59-28 dismantling of a once very solid Iowa Hawkeye team at Qualcom Stadium in San Diego.

Oregon, the lone PAC 10 representative, because of a very tough overall Pac 10 conference, proved that they belonged in the GridIron Gauntlet 16-team college football playoff. 

Jeff Maehl caught seven passes and three touchdowns from quarterback Jeremiah Masoli as Oregon torched Iowa every way a team can be beaten.

John Boyett intercepted a Ricki Stanzi pass and ran it back for a 95-yard touchdown to give Oregon a 38-28 lead late in the third quarter setting up a 21-point fourth quarter and the final score.

Oregon will represent the Pac 10 against Miami in the 2010 Rose Bowl at its traditional kickoff time on New Year’s Day.


Orange Bowl Bracket

#6 Boise State (42) vs # 11 Virginia Tech (35) (4:15 PM EST):

Coach Chris Petersen was heard saying, "We are vindicated," as the Broncos handed Virginia Tech a tough last-second loss.

Kellen Moore and the Broncos roughed up Virginia Tech's defense for 615 total yards. Moore's 410 yards passing was only slowed down by two red zone turnovers. Jeremy Avery rushed for 125 yards to lead the relentless Bronco attack in the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.

Ryan Williams led a balanced Hokie attack with 187 all-purpose yards and Tech's defense came up with two critical late turnovers that kept them in the game. Boise State will continue its quest for a perfect season in the Orange Bowl.


#3 Florida (36) vs. #14 BYU (27)  (6:30 PM EST):

Tim Tebow returned to Heisman form as No. 3 Florida dismantled BYU 36 -27.

Tebow ran for 100 yards and passed for 215 as Florida controlled a close game.

Gators coach Urban Meyer, who was lukewarm at best about a playoff, said, "I'm sure glad I was overruled! The atmosphere at our first-round game was as intense as any time this year and we are happy to be moving on to an Orange Bowl game that has regained its national prominence."

BYU senior tight end Dennis Pitta led the Cougars with eight receptions and 125 receiving yards.

Florida moves on to play undefeated Boise State in a suddenly very compelling 2010 Orange Bowl.

OK, we can all dream can't we? Check back often to see how your team is doing in the GridIron Gauntlet 16 Team Playoff . We will cover two games during each of the next two weeks to set up for the semi-finals in January! 

Is a playoff a possibility? Yes, if you get involved!  Check out FanRevolt.net for more information and see how you can make a difference during this BCS Bowl season!


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