College Football 2010: How a 16-Team BCS Playoff Would Play Out
Although fans have been calling for it and television ratings are drooling over the idea, a playoff still has not been implemented into the world of college football—just yet.
The idea comes straight from the craziness and excitement of its brethren, the NCAA basketball tournament. The fans have seen it succeed on the hard floor with 64 teams, and they know it can be done just as easy on the gridiron. So what's holding this idea back?
Just for the hell of it, let's take a futuristic stab at what may be college football's new postseason look in a 16-team format.
The year is 2010, and the BCS rankings are lining up for yet another great year of playoff football. The brackets are set, the media is buzzing and the teams are getting ready for a grueling postseason slate of football. The tournament, which would take a month to complete, would start in the second week of December (the 11th) and finish on New Year's Day.
Let's get to it.
How They Were Chosen
The brackets are laid out in two divisions of eight with teams seeded from one to eight.
Although some may think an 8-team format may be more easier, a playoff would only work with 16 teams according to Bill Hancock, "A 16-team playoff in the only way to have a playoff because it would include all of the conferences," the BCS director said earlier in the season.
The teams are seeded one to eight in both divisions based on the current BCS rankings (as of Week 9).
Now with that in mind, all Big Six conferences must also be accounted for. Therefore, Florida State moves up in the rankings (but not in seed) in order to represent the ACC, and Pitt takes Arizona's spot (currently No. 14 in the rankings) due to the Big East's automatic berth.
Games will be played each Saturday, with the higher-seeded team always hosting. The national championship will be held at The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Here's how they look:
1: Auburn, Oregon
2: Boise State, TCU
3: Michigan State, Missouri
4: Alabama, Utah
5: Oklahoma, Wisconsin
6: Ohio State, LSU
7: Stanford, Nebraska
8: Florida State, Pitt
First Round: (No. 8) Florida State at (No. 1) Auburn
On paper, this game looked to be an exciting matchup with Christian Ponder and Cameron Newton taking the field against one another.
However, Auburn is clearly one of the best teams in the nation and shows that the moment after kickoff, taking the lead and never looking back. Newton, already an All-American selection, accounts for five touchdowns, while the Tigers defense shows the Seminoles the difference between SEC and ACC speed.
First Round: (No. 5) Oklahoma at (No. 4) Alabama
Everyone knows the Roll Tide were better than a No. 4 seed, but thanks to a lopsided loss to South Carolina, Nick Saban found himself as a middle-of-the-pack team in this bracket.
However, Oklahoma isn't all that bad either. In what is one of the most intriguing coaching matchups of the past decade, Mark Ingram leads his team into the second round with a punch-in touchdown with only a few minutes left on the clock. A last minute drive, led by Landry Jones, is stopped inside the 20 and the clock runs out on Bob Stoops' first tournament appearance.
First Round: (No. 7) Stanford at (No. 2) Boise State
A clash between the hard-noised play of Jim Harbaugh's Cardinal and the Boise State prolific offense is one to watch.
The matchup, featuring two of the nation's best arms in Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck, comes down to the fourth quarter until the Broncos' home-field advantage kicks in. Moore and his high-powered offense score 40 and run the ball to victory over the final 15 minutes.
The defense in blue struggles, but thanks to their quarterback's Heisman-worthy performance, it's just enough to hold on. Boise advances to Round Two.
41-35 Boise State
First Round: (No. 6) Ohio State At (No. 3) Michigan State
It's only right that these two teams magically end up slated against each other due to the fact that they didn't face off during the Big Ten portion of the schedule.
The Buckeyes, still angry over losing the conference to the Spartans, come out firing on all ends. Kirk Cousins has an awful showing, throwing for two picks and nearly getting sacked on every passing play. Terrelle Pryor is too much to handle for Greg Jones and the Michigan State defense, using his legs and downfield passing to win this football game.
The true Michigan State is exposed as they go on to lose the game by a wide margin to a bigger, stronger and more athletic Ohio State team.
30-14 Ohio State
First Round: (No. 8) Pitt at (No. 1) Oregon
Behind Jon Baldwin's receiving skills, the Panther offense jumps out in front right out of the gate, but Oregon shows exactly why they were granted a No. 1 seed to begin with and why it was such a controversy for Pitt to be in this playoff in the first place.
Behind LaMichael James' legs and Darron Thomas' pocket presence, combined with a stingy defense full of elite speed and athleticism that overpowers the offense of Pitt, the Ducks take care of their first-round game with ease.
First Round: (No. 5) Wisconsin at (No. 4) Utah
In what happened to be one of the best matchups of the first round, the gritty Badgers met up against a record-setting mid-major offense that featured some of the nation's best kept secrets.
Although Utah succeeds in putting the ball in the air, the run game never quite got going. With a top-notch Wisconsin defense on the field, the difference is on the ground, as John Clay leads his team into the second round solely on his shoulders (and two legs). The Badgers survive another day.
First Round: (No. 7) Nebraska at (No. 2) TCU
Forget the seedings, this game turns out to be much closer than what statistics might have told everyone. Featuring one of the best defenses in the country, the Cornhuskers play their style of football from the start to beginning.
However, TCU once again is overlooked and proves to be one of the most consistent elite programs out there. Behind Andy Dalton's experience and leadership, TCU legs out yet another impressive win over a Big-Six foe, this time beating Nebraska at their own game in the trenches.
TCU's quest for respect moves on to round two thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown and late defensive stop.
First Round: (No. 6) LSU at (No. 3) Missouri
The Mizzou fans come to the game ready and are as loud as ever due to the great success 2010 was for their football program. However, no matter what kind of year they've had, no one wants to play Les Miles' program.
Under the lights, Mizzou did just that, taking on the Tigers and pulling out a late victory in order to move on the Round Two. Patrick Peterson bedazzled the crowd and the nation with two Blaine Gabbert interceptions, but in the end, wasn't enough to push LSU over the feel good story of Mizzou.
Second Round: (No. 4) Alabama at (No. 1) Auburn
Matchup-wise, this second-round game turns out to be the most anticipated of the Second Round. Two SEC powerhouses going toe-to-toe, right after a November 26th matchup in which the Tigers were able to sneak out a win.
However, this time around is different. With experience and poise by Greg McElroy, serving as a leader rather than a true quarterback, will the Roll Tide to victory in overtime? Cameron Newtown shows up once again, but without much else, the Tigers fail to score in the extra period after a sack by Marcell Dareus to push Auburn out of field-goal range. The Roll Tide are the first to knock off a No. 1 seed and move on to the semifinals.
24-17 (OT) Alabama
Second Round: (No. 6) Ohio State at (No. 1) Boise State
Ohio State had been a great, inconsistent team all year long. After all, when Terrelle Pryor is leading your team, you better be ready for a roller coaster ride of emotions.
After impressing in Week 1, Pryor gets off to a terrible start and is rattled by the Boise atmosphere. The Bronco defense shows up, and because of that, the offense reaps the benefits. Titus Young and Kellen Moore march up-and-down the field on this Buckeye defense. Jim Tressel is left scratching his head, and Chris Peterson can finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
35-21 Boise State
Second Round: (No. 5) Wisconsin at (No. 1) Oregon
All year long, Wisconsin showed a nitty-gritty style of football. Hard-noised effort on almost every down on both sides of the ball, showing the country how this game is truly supposed to be played.
However, that is until they met up against the modern style of playing the game—the spread offense combined with speed, athleticism and a complete team. The Ducks use their speed to their advantage once again, showing the Badgers something they hadn't seen all season besides the damage done by Denard Robinson to them. After a close first half, Oregon pulls away with consecutive LaMichael James double-digit touchdown runs in the third quarter and never looking back.
Second Round: (No. 6) Missouri at (No. 2) TCU
In what may have been the least anticipated game of the playoff, two underrated teams with a lot to prove met in Texas to decide whose journey would continue into the semi's.
The matchup of quarterbacks told the tale here—an inexperienced, talented Blaine Gabbert vs. a seasoned veteran in Andy Dalton. In the end, playing away from home and the extremely pestering TCU defense proved to be too much for the underclassmen, as Dalton gave his best Greg McElroy impression, willing his team to the win. It may not have been pretty, in a game that including three turnovers for each team and plenty of penalties, but TCU earned their way to a third game.
The final four consisted of the two mid-major powerhouses (Boise State, TCU) and two of the nation's most consistent powerhouses (Oregon, Alabama).
Semifinals: (No. 5) Alabama at (No. 2) Boise State
In what many people thought may be the "dream" national championship at the beginning of 2010, the matchup comes a week earlier as Boise State hosts Alabama in the semifinals of the bracket.
Coming into the game with a chip on the shoulders, trying to prove they actually do deserve to be mentioned among the nation's best, Kellen Moore takes it upon himself to lead his team to a win. Although it's close, as the Alabama defense puts heavy pressure on the Bronco offense all day long, Moore's rare blend of leadership and talent push his team over the top, sending the Broncos to their first national championship game appearance--something they have been waiting on for years now.
28-21 Boise State
Semifinals: (No. 2) TCU at (No. 1) Oregon
TCU turned out to be among the elite yet again in 2010, finishing the regular season undefeated and earning a No. 2 seed in the playoff.
However, Oregon would turn out to be a terrible matchup (like they are for most teams) for the Horned Frogs. Because of the dual-threat in the backfield and the extreme speed of the Ducks, TCU was never able to keep it close.
The Oregon game plan was to make TCU put the ball in the air, and in result, Andy Dalton felt the heat all day from the edges. Interceptions, sacks and incompletions were a common theme for the TCU offense as Oregon advances to the national championship to take on the true cinderella story in Boise State.
National Championship: (No. 2) Boise State vs. (No. 1) Oregon
The final game. The end all. The BCS national championship.
Boise State, making their first appearance in the big game, comes out as fired up as ever. Electing to receive first, Kellen Moore punches in a third-down run to take the lead out of the gate. Boise fans are electrified, and a true fairytale is brewing.
That is, until LaMichael James touches the football. James, rushing for over 150 yards on the day, breaks a 60-yard run on the first drive, killing all momentum for the Broncos and never giving it back. Darron Thomas and James put on a true show for the nation, accounting for all five of the Oregon touchdowns, leading their team to the promised land. It was closer than the final score indicated, but in the end, both sides of the football, especially the trench battles, are controlled by the team donning the yellow and charcoal uniforms.
The Ducks overcome the story of Boise Sate on their way to a National Championship ring.