What If There Was A Playoff? ... 2000
Miami QB Ken Dorsey
Miami QB Ken Dorsey
Posted Jan 14, 2012

With all the fun every year with March Madness and the NFL Playoffs, it's a shame college football isn't able to come up with a similar way to crown a champion. What if there was an eight team college football tournament in 2000? What likely would've happened? CFN tries to figure out how a playoff would've gone.

If There Was A Playoff ... 2000

What If There Was A Playoff ...
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It's that time of year ... the second guessing season.

What might happen if Oklahoma State got its shot? How would TCU have done if it got its shot at Auburn at the end of the 2010 season? How about if Boise State got a chance at Alabama in 2009 or if several other BCS fiascos were decided on the field?.

Forget basketball's gimmicky post-season, where a seventh best team in a conference gets a shot to play for the national title, rendering the regular season relatively meaningless. CFN has created the best of all possible worlds for a playoff to make sure the regular season still holds the weight it does now, if not more, while providing the solution everyone wants (outside of Bill Hancock, the college presidents, the yellow-jacket bowl kids, and 99% of the coaches). Here’s the plan …

Take the six BCS conference champions and give them automatic bids. Take the highest ranked non-BCS league champion (Notre Dame included), and give it an automatic bid. The eighth and final slot would be a Wild Card, which would go to the top ranked team in the BCS that isn’t already in.

We'd have to keep this in the land of the real with the geographic and economic concerns in mind by rewarding the top four teams with a first round home game - fan bases aren't going to travel to three neutral field sites if their team goes to the national championship.

The seeds wouldn’t necessarily go according to BCS ranking, again, with the idea to put teams close to the right region to make sure the opposing fans can get there as easily as possible.

The Final Four games would be held in Pasadena and New Orleans, and the national title would rotate sites like it does now. Meanwhile the rest of the bowl system would be kept in place. If you watched the Liberty Bowl before, you’d still watch it if there's  an eight team playoff.

So what would’ve likely happened had the CFN system been in place since the BCS was in place in 2000? Here’s the best guess with the seedings and the results.

Final BCS Ranking In Parentheses

ACC – Florida State (2)
Big East – Miami (3)
Big Ten – Purdue (NR)
Big 12 – Oklahoma (1)
Pac 10 – Washington (4)
SEC – Florida (7)
Non-BCS – Notre Dame (11)
Wild Card – Virginia Tech (5)

Bubble Busted: Northwestern (NR), Michigan (16), Oregon State (6), Oregon (10), Nebraska (8), Kansas State (9)

There would've been a really, really wild and fun debate. Virginia Tech, the hot team coming into the year led by Michael Vick, would've been a wee bit of a no-brainer for the Wild Card having gone 10-1 with the lone defeat coming to a phenomenal Miami team. However, the Pac 10 would've been screaming. Oregon State, led by Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh, went 10-1 (and eventually destroyed Notre Dame 41-9 in the Fiesta Bowl) with the lone loss a 33-30 war at Washington. However, before the win over the Irish, they only beat one team, Oregon, that finished with a winning record.

The Huskies' lone loss came at Oregon and they were the only team to beat Miami, but they got the overall tie-breaker to get to the Rose Bowl and would've gotten the automatic bid into the playoff. The Big Ten would've had even more issues. Michigan finished higher than Purdue in the BCS rankings, but the Boilermakers won the head-to-head battle and didn't play Northwestern, the third team to earn a share of the Big Ten title. The Wolverines lost to Northwestern in a classic 54-51.

First Round Matchups

No. 3 Miami vs. No. 6 Purdue
No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 7 Notre Dame
No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Florida
No. 4 Washington vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech

Matchup Analysis:
Remembering the economics of the playoff and the necessity to fill stadiums, Purdue would’ve been bumped up to a No. 6 seed to play a killer Hurricane team. Drew Brees and the Boilermakers were good, but Miami was growing into a juggernaut and would’ve had way too much talent. Florida should be a No. 7 seed, if not a 6, but Florida State beat the Gators 30-7 in the final game of the regular season and no one would want to see a rematch, even if it was played in Miami. Getting Notre Dame would appease the Miami game’s officials who would’ve wanted the Gators. It wouldn’t have mattered; FSU would’ve won in a blowout.

Florida won the SEC title by easily beating Auburn, but this wasn’t a dominant Gator team and would’ve struggled against the rock-solid Oklahoma defense playing a home game in Dallas. Washington vs. Virginia Tech would’ve been a classic with the Washington defense having to keep Michael Vick under wraps. It wouldn’t have been able to do it. This wasn’t a special Washington defense, while the Hokie D that stopped Woody Dantzler and Clemson in a 41-20 Gator Bowl win would’ve gotten the job done against Marques Tuisasosopo.

Projected Final Four

Rose Bowl – No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 3 Miami
Sugar Bowl – No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Virginia Tech

Matchup Analysis:
Oklahoma’s defensive front wasn’t athletic and it wasn’t full of future NFL stars, but it didn’t give up much of anything. Rocky Calmus and the linebacking corps would’ve gotten the job done against Vick, while the offense would’ve powered its way to the national title game. The Seminole-Hurricane matchup would’ve been the one everyone was waiting for after the Canes won a 27-24 classic the first time around. Miami wouldn’t have lost the rematch even though the Noles were rolling over the second half of the year with destructions of fantastic NC State, Clemson, and Florida teams. After beating Vick and Virginia Tech 41-21, the Canes beat Pitt, Syracuse and Boston College, all good teams that finished with winning records, by a combined score of 113 to 13 to close out the regular season.

Projected National Championship:
No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Miami
Projected National Champion: No. 3 Miami

Matchup Analysis:
Oklahoma’s defense came up with an all-time of a stunner to beat Florida State 13-2 in the Orange Bowl for the national title, but Miami was loaded. LOADED. That team had 19 players drafted over the next two seasons and had 13 players drafted in the first round over the next three years. By comparison, the Sooners had four players taken in the draft over the following two seasons (Roy Williams, Rocky Calmus, Torrance Marshall and Josh Heupel). Oklahoma was special and was a true team in every measure of the word, but there wouldn’t have been enough firepower to keep up with a Cane team that, unlike Florida State, played with a serious attitude.

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