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What If There Was A Playoff? ... 2008
Florida QB Tim Tebow
Florida QB Tim Tebow
CollegeFootballNews.com
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 2008? What likely would've happened? CFN tries to figure out how a playoff would've gone.


If There Was A Playoff ... 2008

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 2008? Here’s the best guess with the seedings and the results.

Final BCS Ranking In Parentheses
 

ACC – Virginia Tech (19)
Big East – Cincinnati (12)
Big Ten – Penn State (8)
Big 12 – Oklahoma (1)
Pac 10 – USC (5)
SEC – Florida (2)
Non-BCS – Utah (6)
Wild Card – Texas (3)

Bubble Busted: Alabama (4), Texas Tech (7), Boise State (9)

Alabama would’ve gone from No. 1 and unbeaten to out of the tournament after a tough fourth quarter in the SEC title game. Texas Tech would’ve been ticked that it tied Oklahoma and Texas for the Big 12 South title yet was left out (and wouldn’t even be considered). Boise State was one of two unbeaten teams at the end of the year but would’ve been bumped out of the Non-BCS slot by Utah.

First Round Matchups

No. 4 Penn State vs. No. 5 USC
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 Cincinnati
No. 1 Oklahoma vs. No. 8 Virginia Tech
No. 3 Texas vs. No. 6 Utah

Matchup Analysis:
Cincinnati would’ve hung around with Florida for about a quarter before the roof caved in. Virginia Tech wouldn’t have had much of a chance to keep up with the point-a-minute Oklahoma juggernaut. Texas vs. Utah would’ve been interesting, and while the Utes proved they could play with the big boys in the Sugar Bowl blasting of Alabama, they wouldn’t have been able to deal with the precision of a hot Colt McCoy. It would’ve gone down to the wire, but no one, including Brian Johnson, was better at coming up with the big late drive than McCoy. Penn State couldn’t get the offense going against the all-timer of a USC defense until it was too late in the loss in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans wouldn’t have won in a walk, but they would’ve moved on.

Projected Final Four

Rose Bowl – No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Texas
Sugar Bowl – No. 1 Florida vs. No. 5 USC

Matchup Analysis:
Texas had Oklahoma’s number the first time around, but the Oklahoma offense was playing at a different level by the end of the season. It’s hard to beat the same team twice, and OU had the linebacker situation figured out after losing Ryan Reynolds in the first matchup. Don’t discount how big that was. Reynolds was knocked out, Colt McCoy picked apart the middle of the field, and UT won. Florida’s defense would’ve stopped the inconsistent USC offense (don’t forget the Cal and Arizona games), while the key for the Gator O would’ve been the health of Percy Harvin. Assume he’s playing, and assume the Gators do to the Trojan defense what Penn State was able to do in the second half of the Rose Bowl.

Projected National Championship:
No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Oklahoma
Projected National Champion: No. 1 Florida

Matchup Analysis:
Florida, as long as Harvin was healthy, was the best team in America in all areas and would’ve been the pick if Texas had gotten here. However, don’t forget just how close OU was to pulling off the win.

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