What If There Was A Playoff? ... 2004
USC WR Steve Smith
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 2004? What likely would've happened? CFN tries to figure out how a playoff would've gone.
If There Was A Playoff ...
What If There Was A Playoff ...
- 2011 | 2010
| 2009 |
- 2004 |
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
college presidents, the yellow-jacket
bowl kids, and 99% of the
coaches). Here’s the plan …
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
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
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.
what would’ve likely happened had the
CFN system been in place since the BCS
was in place in 2004? Here’s the best
guess with the seedings and the results.
Final BCS Ranking In Parentheses
ACC – Virginia Tech (8)
Big East – Pitt (21)
Big Ten – Michigan (13)
Big 12 – Oklahoma (2)
Pac 10 – USC (1)
SEC – Auburn (3)
Non-BCS – Utah (6)
Wild Card – Texas (4)
Bubble Busted: California (5), Boise State (9), Louisville (10), Iowa (12)
would’ve been some tremendously disappointed teams that deserved a spot
in the playoffs more than some of the automatic choices. 10-1 Cal would
prove it wasn’t all that great with a loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday
Bowl, but Bear fans would’ve gone ballistic with the lone regular season
loss coming to USC (23-17). Iowa would’ve been a little bit upset after
finishing ahead of Michigan in the BCS even after losing the
head-to-head battle. Boise State was 11-0 and Louisville 10-1, with the
lone loss a 41-38 thriller at Miami, but they picked the wrong year to
be great; Utah was the obvious non-BCS pick. The Broncos and Cardinals
played an amazing Liberty Bowl with Louisville winning 44-40.
First Round Matchups
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Michigan
No. 3 Auburn
vs. No. 6 Utah
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech
No. 1 USC vs. No. 8 Pitt
Matchup Analysis: The Texas –
Michigan showdown would’ve been a thriller. Vince Young was just a wee
bit better than Braylon Edwards in the Rose Bowl shootout, the Longhorns
won 38-37, but with Michigan getting a bit more of a home field
advantage, the razor-thin edge would’ve likely have tipped the other
way. Auburn was the team left without a chair when the music stopped in
the national title chase in 2004, and Jason Campbell, Cadillac Williams,
and Ronnie Brown’s offense would’ve been expected to show up and shine
in the tournament.
There have to be upsets somewhere in the tournament,
and Utah’s spread attack, coached by Urban Meyer and led by Alex Smith,
would’ve been the perfect team to pull it off. Sound crazy? That Utah
team was better than the one that ripped through Alabama in the 2009
Sugar Bowl, and 2004 Auburn struggled against Virginia Tech in the
Sugar. The other big upset call would be Virginia Tech over Oklahoma. The Hokies were just good enough on defense to keep Jason White
and the high-powered Sooners (who didn’t blow up on many defenses with
pulses) from exploding, while Bryan Randall and the inconsistent Tech
offense was just flaky enough to come up with one big game to pull off
the shocker. USC would’ve blasted Pitt by 40.
Projected Final Four
Bowl – No. 1 USC vs. No. 5 Michigan
– No. 6 Utah vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech
Matchup Analysis: Michigan had the talent to hang around with USC, but it
wouldn’t do it. Matt Leinart and the Trojan attack would’ve hung 40+ on
the board and the Wolverines wouldn’t have been able to keep up.
Virginia Tech’s defense would’ve given Smith and the spread a hard time
for about a half, but Utah was the real deal. Remember, in 2004 no one
had quite figured out the spread yet and Utah was running it with
tremendous speed and precision.
Projected National Championship:
No. 1 USC vs. No. 6 Utah
Projected National Champion:
No. 1 USC
Matchup Analysis: Utah was
good, really good, but USC would’ve been on a big game mission. The
Trojans struggled at times throughout the season, most notably in a
battle with UCLA at the end of the regular season, but they would’ve
been focused and workmanlike to win the national title in a fun
What If There Was A Playoff ...
| 2009 |
- 2003 |