What If There Was A Playoff? ... 2005
Texas QB Vince Young
Texas QB Vince Young
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 2005? What likely would've happened? CFN tries to figure out how a playoff would've gone.

If There Was A Playoff ... 2005

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 2005? Here’s the best guess with the seedings and the results.

Final BCS Ranking In Parentheses

ACC – Florida State (22)
Big East – West Virginia (11)
Big Ten – Penn State (3)
Big 12 – Texas (2)
Pac 10 – USC (1)
SEC – Georgia (7)
Non-BCS – Notre Dame (6)
Wild Card – Ohio State (4)

Bubble Busted: Oregon (5), Miami (8)

There would’ve been a little bit of controversy with the Wild Card. Oregon’s lone loss came to USC, everyone’s No. 1 team, while Ohio State had list at home to Vince Young and Texas and on the road against a Penn State team that would finish 11-1 with an Orange Bowl win over Florida State. Miami didn’t have all that much of a beef going 9-2 before finishing with a 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl.

First Round Matchups

No. 3 Penn State vs. No. 6 Notre Dame
No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Georgia
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 7 West Virginia
No. 1 USC vs. No. 8 Florida State

Matchup Analysis:
USC would’ve waltzed past a Florida State team that had four losses at the time, but stunned Virginia Tech in the ACC title game. Penn State had a sound, veteran team that would’ve come up with just enough big plays against the awful Notre Dame defense to move on. The real excitement would’ve come in the other two games as Vince Young would’ve battled Pat White in a showdown of spread wizards in one battle, while Ohio State and Georgia would’ve waged a war in the other first rounder. Don’t just assume a Texas win over West Virginia, the Mountaineers were really that good, but Young wouldn’t have let the Horns lose. The Buckeyes were better than the Bulldogs, but it’s OSU vs. the SEC; it’s just too tough to pick against history in a relatively even matchup.

Projected Final Four

Rose Bowl – No. 1 USC vs. No. 5 Georgia
Sugar Bowl – No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Penn State

Matchup Analysis:
The Penn State defense would’ve kept Young from running amok, but Michael Robinson and the offense would’ve sputtered a bit too often against a Texas defense that had the speed and athleticism to keep the score low. USC in the Rose Bowl … the Trojans wouldn’t have lost to a very good Georgia team that took its eyes off the ball in the Sugar Bowl loss to West Virginia. Reggie Bush would’ve had a huge game to overcome a sluggish day from Matt Leinart.

Projected National Championship:
No. 1 USC vs. No. 2 Texas
Projected National Champion: No. 2 Texas

Matchup Analysis:
Vince Young, Vince Young, Vince Young. It took one of the greatest performances in college football history for the Longhorns to get by the Trojans 41-38 in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

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