Well, with two more upsets of undefeated teams from Power 5 conferences last weekend—both teams were in the Top 4 of the corrupt College Football Playoff committee’s first week rankings—everything is getting more hectic, isn’t it?
Schools will jockey for position in that chase, and our projections here will change, too. After all, 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 running a legitimate championship tournament.
(Our process is explained here, if you’re joining us late in the season.)
Here is our 16-team Division I-A football championship tournament, right now after 11-plus weeks of regular-season action. The upsets changed things a bit (asterisks denote the new team to the tourney), and there are some surprising developments this week in contrast to last week’s status quo maintenance.
So, despite Minnesota’s win over Penn State at home, the Nittany Lions remain the second-best B1G team in our estimation based on the entire body of work. This does minimize a head-to-head result, but home-field advantage plays into this as well. Perhaps if Penn State had hosted the Golden Gophers, the outcome would have been different.
We stick to the maths, even if our hearts tell us something else.
- Ohio State (B1G auto)
- LSU (SEC auto)
- Alabama (SEC at-large)
- Clemson (ACC auto)
- Oregon (Pac-12 auto)
- Penn State (B1G at-large)
- Oklahoma (Big XII auto)
- Utah (Pac-12 at-large)
- Baylor (Big XII at-large)
- Notre Dame (Independent auto)
- Central Florida (AAC auto)
- Boise State (MWC auto)
- Miami-FL* (ACC at-large)
- Appalachian State (Sun Belt auto)
- Florida Atlantic (C-USA auto)
- Western Michigan (MAC auto)
Dropped out: Virginia (ACC at-large)
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: There will be no conference also-ran pretenders in our championship tourney.
We 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 Western Michigan vs. No. 1 Ohio State at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis
- No. 15 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 2 LSU at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport
- No. 14 Appalachian State vs. No. 3 Alabama at the Outback Bowl in Orlando
- No. 13 Miami-FL vs. No. 4 Clemson at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta
- No. 12 Boise State vs. No. 5 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego
- No. 11 Central Florida vs. No. 6 Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix
- No. 10 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Oklahoma in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando
- No. 9 Baylor vs. No. 8 Utah in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix
The second round/quarterfinals will require just four bowl sites, so we choose the next four oldest traditional bowls to host them on December 28, using slotted pairings (no re-seeding for upsets):
- Liberty winner vs. Cheez-It winner at the Sun Bowl in El Paso
- Independence winner vs. Camping World winner at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas
- Fiesta winner vs. Outback winner at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville
- Peach winner vs. Holiday 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, the Grandaddy of Them All. All the other superfluous bowls could continue if they choose to, inviting non-playoff teams, and college football fans can 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.