Our weekly exercise in NCAA football insanity is explained here, and now that we are in the middle of October, everything gets more serious, week by week. A loss now really has the potential to kill a team’s hopes to make it into the four-team College Football Playoff.
Why are over which team is No. 4 when we can debate which team is No. 16 instead? More teams deserve a shot at a real NCAA title in Division I college football (not the current mythical national championship), and it’s time to recognize the fact this sport is the only major sport on the planet not legitimately running a championship tournament.
A little change this week, in terms of seeding and participants. Here is the way we see a 16-team Division I-A football championship tournament, right now after seven-plus weeks of regular-season action (asterisks indicate new teams since last week’s rendition of this list):
- Ohio State (B1G auto)
- Alabama (SEC auto)
- Wisconsin (B1G at-large)
- Oklahoma (Big XII auto)
- Clemson (ACC auto)
- LSU (SEC at-large)
- Oregon (Pac-12 auto)
- Notre Dame (Independent auto)
- Texas (Big XII at-large)
- Washington (Pac-12 at-large)
- Boise State (MWC auto)
- Central Florida (AAC auto)
- Appalachian State (Sun Belt auto)
- Virginia (ACC at-large)
- Western Michigan* (MAC auto)
- Florida Atlantic (C-USA auto)
Dropped out: Toledo (MAC auto)
Remember, we aim for balance in the at-large slots, so each Power 5 conference gets a second bid. Unlike major-media outlets like ESPN that have vested financial interest in pimping certain conferences’ perceived strength, we go for balanced fairness.
In trying to avoid conference rematches in the first round, we will switch Washington and Texas in the seedings. We also would like to give the higher seeds a slight “regional” advantage for this first round only. Thus, the preliminary first-round matchups would take place at mid-tier bowl games as follows, to be played on December 21, a full two weeks after the conference title matches:
- No. 16 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 1 Ohio State at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis
- No. 15 Western Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama at the Outback Bowl in Orlando
- No. 14 Virginia vs. No. 3 Wisconsin at the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix
- No. 13 Appalachian State vs. No. 4 Oklahoma at the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix
- No. 12 Central Florida vs. No. 5 Clemson in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta
- No. 11 Boise State vs. No. 6 LSU in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA
- No. 10 Texas vs. No. 7 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego
- No. 9 Washington vs. No. 8 Notre Dame in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando
The second round/quarterfinals will require just four bowl sites, so we choose the next four oldest bowls to host them on December 28:
- Liberty winner vs. Camping World Bowl winner at the Sun Bowl in El Paso
- Outback winner vs. Holiday winner at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas
- Fiesta winner vs. Independence winner at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville
- Cheez-It winner vs. Peach winner at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando
The semifinals celebrate the traditions of two major bowls, second only to the Rose, and these games would be played on January 4:
- Sun winner vs. Citrus winner at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans
- Cotton winner vs. Gator winner at the Orange Bowl in Miami
The final will be played on January 11 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. All the other superfluous bowls could continue if they choose to by inviting non-playoff teams, and college football could have the best of both worlds.
This really is too simple to not implement. The fans need to demand more legitimacy.
Check back every Wednesday for new CFP analysis and projections this season.