Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

How the "champions only" plan would've worked

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 3, 2012


How the latest playoff proposal would've worked out over the years.

"Champions Only" Proposal

How it would've worked - '04-'11
 


By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews

On the table is a plan for a four-team college football playoff of the top four conference champions that finish in the top six. If there aren’t four conference champions in the top six, then the highest-ranked team in the top six would get in. How would this plan have worked from 2004 to 2011?

- How would it have worked? 1998 to 2003

2004
No. 1 USC (Pac-10)
No. 2 Oklahoma (Big 12)
No. 3 Auburn (SEC)
No. 4 Utah (Mountain West, ranked No. 6)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 8 Virginia Tech, 2) No. 9 Boise State

This season would’ve been perfect for the “champions only” playoff system. Auburn was the unbeaten SEC champ and got left out in the cold, but it would’ve been in the playoffs along with unbeaten USC and Oklahoma juggernauts. No. 4 Texas only lost one game in a 12-0 thriller against Oklahoma and No. 5 Cal’s only loss came against USC, but they wouldn’t have had any argument. Virginia Tech won the ACC title but would’ve been shut out, while No. 9 Boise State rolled through the WAC to an 11-0 season and would’ve just missed. Why? Urban Meyer and Alex Smith helped Utah blow through everything in its path on the way to a perfect year. Four unbeaten teams would’ve been in the playoffs for the first time with the little guy finally getting its shot. Considering how hot the relatively new spread offense was, the Utes would’ve made it interesting.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 USC over No. 4 Utah, No. 3 Auburn over No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 1 USC would’ve beaten No. 3 Auburn for the national championship.

2005
No. 1 USC (Pac-10)
No. 2 Texas (Big 12)
No. 3 Penn State (Big Ten)
No. 4 Notre Dame (Independent, No. 6)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 4 Ohio State, 2) No. 7 Georgia, 3) No. 11 West Virginia

No one would’ve been that interested in a playoff with the hope being that USC and Texas would stay alive to be able to meet for an epic showdown. Adding some intrigue to the mix would’ve been Notre Dame, who would’ve slipped into the playoff from the No. 6 spot with No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Oregon each failing to win their respective conference titles. Considering the Irish lost to a bad Michigan State team and had already lost to USC in the Bush Push classic, SEC fans would’ve wailed that Georgia didn’t get in after stunning LSU for the conference title. West Virginia rolled up a 10-1 record on the way to the Big East title – and ran past Georgia in the Sugar Bowl – but wouldn’t have been within sniffing distance of the playoffs.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 USC over No. 4 Notre Dame, No. 2 Texas over No. 3 Penn State, No. 2 Texas would’ve beaten No. 1 USC for the national championship.

2006
No. 1 Ohio State (Big Ten)
No. 2 Florida (SEC)
No. 3 USC (Pac-10, ranked No. 5)
No. 4 Louisville (Big East, ranked No. 6)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 3 Michigan, 2) No. 8 Boise State

Michigan would’ve made a big, BIG stink, but it wouldn’t have had a case – it didn’t win its conference title, and neither did No. 4 LSU. The argument in 2006 was about Michigan and Ohio State getting together in a rematch, but the playoffs wouldn’t have bailed out the Wolverines with Pac-10 champion USC and Bobby Petrino’s Louisville getting in. 11-1 Wisconsin wouldn’t have been close even at No. 7, while unbeaten Boise State would’ve been mad after being left out for Louisville.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 Ohio State over No. 4 Louisville, No. 2 Florida over No. 3 USC, No. 2 Florida would’ve beaten No. 1 Ohio State for the national championship.

2007
No. 1 Ohio State (Big Ten)
No. 2 LSU (SEC)
No. 3 Virginia Tech (ACC)
No. 4 Oklahoma (Big 12)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 7 USC, 2) No. 10 Hawaii

Unbeaten Hawaii and Colt Brennan might have wanted to get in on the fun, but this year would’ve been an easy call for the playoffs. No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 Missouri didn’t win their respective conference titles, and USC lost to a bad Stanford team and Oregon. The Trojans might have had a wee bit of a claim, but they weren’t really close at No. 7 and with Oklahoma a lock at No. 4 after beating No. 1 Missouri in the Big 12 championship. A playoff would’ve been fair considering Virginia Tech was the highest-ranked team at the end of the regular season according to the BCS computers.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 4 Oklahoma over No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 LSU over No. 3 Virginia Tech, No. 2 LSU would’ve beaten No. 4 Oklahoma for the national championship.

2008
No. 1 Oklahoma (Big 12)
No. 2 Florida (SEC)
No. 3 USC (Pac-10, ranked No. 5)
No. 4 Utah (Mountain West, ranked No. 6)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 3 Texas, 2) No. 7 Texas Tech, 3) No. 8 Penn State, 4) No. 9 Boise State

This would’ve been the year when a four-team playoff really wouldn’t work. In a perfect world, Texas, who beat Oklahoma and missed out on playing in the Big 12 championship because of the BCS rankings, should’ve been able to get in the dance from the No. 3 spot. Texas Tech, who also went 11-1 and tied for the South title, beat Texas, but lost to OU, would’ve had a case, too. Many would’ve been clamoring for Alabama to have been in after losing a heartbreaking SEC title game to the Florida Tebows, but it didn’t have a complaint after not winning the conference championship.

Meanwhile, Boise State blew through the regular season unbeaten and wasn’t even close to getting in. No. 9 Big Ten champion Penn State went 11-1 – with the lone loss coming in the final seconds against Michigan – and wasn’t close to finishing in the top six.

USC lost to Oregon State early before blowing through an awful Pac-10 and would’ve gotten in, and Utah would’ve had its shot after finishing the year as one of two unbeaten teams – Boise State being the other.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 Oklahoma over No. 4 Utah, No. 2 Florida over No. 3 USC, No. 2 Florida would’ve beaten No. 1 Oklahoma for the national championship.

2009
No. 1 Alabama (SEC)
No. 2 Texas (Big 12)
No. 3 Cincinnati (Big East)
No. 4 TCU (Mountain West)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? 1) No. 6 Boise State, 2) No. 7 Oregon, 3) No. 8 Ohio State

Unbeaten Boise State would’ve been mad about being left out of the fun, and Pac-10 champion Oregon and Big Ten champion Ohio State might have had angry fan bases, but there wouldn’t have been too much of a debate about the final four. All four teams were unbeaten conference champions, and even though Tim Tebow’s Florida Gators might have been the second best team in the country, it lost and wasn’t an SEC champion. TCU would’ve represented the little guy while Cincinnati would’ve capped off a fun year by getting its chance in the show. However, Alabama and Texas were the juggernauts that everyone wanted to see go at it.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 Alabama over No. 4 TCU, No. 2 Texas over No. 3 Cincinnati, No. 1 Alabama would’ve beaten No. 2 Texas for the national championship.

2010
No. 1 Auburn (SEC)
No. 2 Oregon (Pac-12)
No. 3 TCU (Mountain West)
No. 4 Wisconsin (Big Ten, ranked No. 5)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? No. 9 Michigan State

This would’ve been easy. Auburn, Oregon, and TCU were the only three unbeaten teams in the nation and would’ve been obvious locks, while Wisconsin steamrolled over everything in its path on the way to an 11-1 record. The next conference champion in the rankings was No. 7 Oklahoma, and it went 11-2 in the regular season. No. 9 Michigan State beat the Badgers and finished 11-1, but it only had a mild complaint after getting blasted by Iowa 37-6. No. 4 Stanford would’ve been close, but it lost to Oregon.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 Auburn over No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 2 Oregon over No. 3 TCU, No. 1 Auburn would’ve beaten No. 2 Oregon for the national championship.

2011
No. 1 LSU (SEC)
No. 2 Alabama (SEC, didn’t win conference championship)
No. 3 Oklahoma State (Big 12)
No. 4 Oregon (Pac-12, ranked No. 5)
Who Would’ve Had A Beef? No. 10 Wisconsin

The SEC would’ve had its wish. Wisconsin might have won the Big Ten championship, but it wasn’t within ten miles of the top six ranked No. 10. Boise State might have been ticked it missed out ranked No. 7, but TCU won the Mountain West title. No. 4 Stanford wouldn’t have had an argument, and neither would No. 6 Arkansas or No. 8 Kansas State. Alabama would’ve slipped in despite not winning its division title, while Oklahoma State and Oregon would’ve had their chances.

What Would’ve Happened? No. 1 LSU over No. 4 Oregon, No. 2 Alabama over No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 2 Alabama would’ve beaten No. 1 LSU for the national championship.

- How would it have worked? 1998 to 2003