What If There Was A Playoff? ... 2009
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
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 2009? What likely would've happened? CFN tries to figure out how a playoff would've gone.

If There Was A Playoff ... 2009

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 2009? Here’s the best guess with the seedings and the results.

Final BCS Ranking In Parentheses

ACC – Georgia Tech (9)
Big East – Cincinnati (3)
Big Ten – Ohio State (8)
Big 12 – Texas (2)
Pac 10 – Oregon (7)
SEC – Alabama (1)
Non-BCS – TCU (4)
Wild Card – Florida (5)

Bubble Busted: Boise State (6), Iowa (10)

There would've been a tremendous theoretical debate; do you take a one-loss SEC team that might be the second best team in America, or do you take an unbeaten Boise State to make it two non-AQ teams in the dance? The humans ended up voting the Gators fifth and the Broncos sixth, but if there was a playoff, the sentiment might have been there to put in the unbeaten Broncos to see what they could do. However, that Gator team was a monster that might have woken up, and might have played better in the SEC Championship loss to Alabama, with the pressure off and with a playoff to fall back on. Iowa's tremendous 10-2 season might have been worth of a second shot for the Big Ten, but there's no way to justify the Wild Card bid over Florida or Boise State.

First Round Matchups
No. 3 Cincinnati vs. No. 6 Oregon
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Georgia Tech
No. 2 Texas vs. No. 7 Ohio State
No. 4 TCU vs. No. 5 Florida

Matchup Analysis:
Alabama's defense would've stoned the Georgia Tech rushing attack, but it would've been a bit of a fight before the Tide attack put the game away. Texas vs. Ohio State would've been the best matchup by far, and while the Buckeye defense was good enough to have kept it close, in Dallas, a healthy Colt McCoy would've outdueled Terrelle Pryor in a bit of a shootout. This was a good OSU team, but it would've buckled late against the Longhorn D. Assume Brian Kelly doesn't leave for Notre Dame with his Bearcats in the playoff, and also assume that the Oregon offense rolls through the Bearcat defense, doesn't make a slew of mistakes, and wins in a wild back-and-forth, pinball machine battle that might be among the most fun games of the season. TCU was tough, athletic, and plucky, but it would've struggled when stepping up into the big time. Forget about getting by Tim Tebow and company in a big bowl game.

Projected Final Four

Rose Bowl – No. 2 Texas vs. No. 5 Florida
Sugar Bowl – No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 6 Oregon

Matchup Analysis:
Having dealt with the Georgia Tech offense the week before, and having already beaten Florida in the SEC Championship, the Alabama defense would've been more than ready for the Oregon spread. The Tide offense would've gone to the power running game and would've gotten by a game Duck team that would've provided a major scare well into the second half. Tebow vs. McCoy would be the marquee matchup, and the Gators would've come through with a great defensive effort to keep the score low. McCoy would outplay Tebow, but not by enough to get by in a hard-hitting battle that would leave Urban Meyer's club beaten, battered and bruised.

Projected National Championship:
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 Florida
Projected National Champion: No. 1 Alabama

Matchup Analysis:
There wouldn't be a repeat in the rematch of the 32-13 SEC Championship stomping, but the Bama offensive line would still be more physical than the Florida defensive front, while the the Gator offense would come up with a few extra wrinkles with a second shot. It wouldn't be enough as Mark Ingram would pound away for more than 100 yards in a bruising title win.

What If There Was A Playoff ...
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