The playoff that should be in 2013

After the crazy aftermath of yesterday’s rivalry week, the conversations have begun. In the last year of the incredibly idiotic system we have to determine a champion, we have plenty of controversy. The BCS standings will show two teams sitting at 12-0, most likely with both in the top two. Fans around the country know that there is plenty to argue about when it comes to whether the 12-0 should be an automatic qualifier for a shot at the crystal ball.

Auburn, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma State, and more all sit just outside now, contemplating dream scenarios that will allow each into the national title in the last year of Lord BCS.

Dan Wetzel wrote a book titled “Death to the BCS” that gives the full story behind how dumb the idea of the BCS really is. In his book he proposes a 16 team playoff that will encompass all of Division 1-A (or FBS), and give everyone an equal chance at first place. We are one step closer to Wetzel’s dream with the creation of a 4-team playoff that will begin next season. A 4-team playoff this season would allow for the following match-ups (if everyone in the top 4 wins out):

#1 Florida State vs. #4 Alabama
#2 Ohio State vs. #Auburn

The majority of the season, people were looking to Alabama vs. Florida State for the BCS championship. A 4-team playoff would allow them to still face off, but in the semifinals instead. The biggest argument is going to come between Ohio State and Auburn, and who should be the #2 team. Ohio State is undefeated, but with a weak schedule and no big wins. Auburn has a loss (to a top 15 team), but beat the juggernaut that is Alabama, who was the #1 team all year long to that point. The 4-team playoff that is set to begin next year would let the two just play each other for the right to represent in the title game. And best of all – the possibility of a rematch between Auburn and Alabama would be in the horizon with this scenario, but on a neutral field.

But since we’re just dreaming, and are stuck with the BCS for another year, let’s look at a 16-team bracket and see how it would play out. The qualifiers would be:

10 conference champions

Florida State, ACC Champ (Championship game winner)
Central Florida, AAC Champ (Best record)
Auburn, SEC Champ (Championship game winner)
Oklahoma State, Big 12 Champ (Best record)
Ohio State, Big 10 Champ (Championship game winner)
Arizona State/Stanford winner, Pac-12 Champ (Championship game winner)
Rice/Marshall winner, Conference USA Champ (Championship game winner)
Northern Illinois, MAC Champ (Championship game winner)
Fresno State/Utah State winner, Mountain West Champ (Championship game winner)
Louisiana-Lafayette, Sun Belt Champ (Best record)

6 At-large bids

– One independent auto-bid, if inside top 16 of Coaches poll. If multiple teams are inside top 16, highest ranking gets bid. No team gets this auto bid this year.
– No more than 3 teams from one conference, so no more than 2 at-large teams from any given conference.

The following bracket is assuming that FSU, Ohio State, and Auburn all win this coming weekend in their conference championship games, therefore retaining their current 1/2/3 ranking, and giving Michigan State and Missouri second losses.

It also assumes Oklahoma State defeats Oklahoma, Northern Illinois defeats Bowling Green, UCF defeats SMU, and Louisiana-Lafayette defeats South Alabama – all of which are following current trends. The other conferences are either 100% determined or too close to call. Upsets happen, but this is taking the higher ranking teams if they all win.

With all of that said, here are the 6 at-large teams this year:

Top 2 in

Alabama (11-1)
Baylor (11-1)

Last 4 in

Clemson (10-2)
South Carolina (10-2)
Oregon (10-2)
Michigan State (11-2)

First 4 out

Stanford/Arizona State loser will have 3 losses, and I think be out, leaving way for Oregon to make it in.
Missouri will fall out with a loss to Auburn, giving them 2 losses. South Carolina will get final SEC spot in on head to head performance against Missouri.
LSU will be out due to 3-team rule, and 3-losses puts them at the bottom of the higher ranked SEC teams.
Louisville will probably lose a nod to a team like Michigan State.

—–

First round Second round Semifinals Finals
1  Florida State (H)
16  Fresno/Utah State
 Higher Ranked Team
 Hosts Game
8  Ariz. St./Stanford (H)
9  Clemson
 Sugar Bowl
 New Orleans, LA
5  Oklahoma State (H)
12  Central Florida
 Higher Ranked Team
 Hosts Game
4  Alabama (H)
13  Northern Illinois
 AT&T Stadium
 Arlington, TX
6  Baylor (H)
11  Michigan State
 Higher Ranked Team
 Hosts Game
3  Auburn (H)
14  Louisiana-Lafayette
 Rose Bowl
 Pasadena, California
7  South Carolina (H)
10  Oregon
 Higher Ranked Team
 Hosts Game
2  Ohio State (H)
15  Rice/Marshall

—–

Once the final BCS standings are released and teams are for sure in, I will re-seed the bracket from there and pick who I think would win in a 16-team playoff if there was one this season. It would be very interesting to see, that’s for sure. Maybe one day, our dreams will come true.

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Jon Lunceford is a sports media broadcaster and digital professional. Jon is a graduate of the University of Alabama school of journalism, and played football at Birmingham-Southern College. He has also won two AHSAA Football State Championships while at Homewood High School and was a two-time World Cyber Games Team USA representative. He currently hosts Primetime on WJOX 94.5 and runs the high school athletics site JoxPreps.