The Messenger’s hypothetical 16-team playoff

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, December 11, 2013

With the BCS on its deathbed, college football is moving to a four-team playoff. While four teams is a good start, until the playoff expands to 16 teams, there will always be a controversy about who is the true national champion.

With this in mind, we sat down and attempted to come up with a 16-team playoff system that would be inclusive of all FBS schools. Here’s what we came up with:

The 16 teams would consist of the 10 FBS conference champions and six at-large teams. The six at-large teams would be chosen by a selection committee in a manner similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

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Seeding the teams is a difficult prospect. The selection committee would select the top eight conference champions to serve as the top eight seeds in the tournament. The remaining two conference champions would be seeded with the six at-large teams to serve as the bottom eight seeds.

In our playoff, the bracket is divided in to four sections, the Pacific (Rose), the Mountain (Fiesta), the Central (Sugar), and the Eastern (Orange), to correspond with the current BCS bowl lineup. Four teams are placed in each region. In the first round, the higher seeded team hosts a playoff game. The national quarterfinals are played at the BCS bowl that corresponds to the region. The champion of each region would meet another region champion in a national semifinal game at a neutral location such as Atlanta or Dallas. For sake of fairness, the regions would alternate semifinal matchups every year. The Championship game would alternate between the four BCS bowls every year as it currently does.

Instead of arbitrarily placing teams in regions, we propose that the teams choose their position in the bracket based on their seeding. For example, since Florida State is the consensus top team this year, they would have the first pick in the “bracket draft”. Auburn would have the second pick, followed by Michigan State, and so on.

We believe this would make for intriguing games, as teams would be able to select their playoff opponent. We also think a televised “bracket draft” would garner endless media coverage and would be the major topic of discussion among college football fans.

For instance, this year, would teams try their hardest to avoid Florida State? Would Alabama place itself in Auburn’s bracket for a chance at revenge? The speculation is endless.

While this all may seem confusing, it is actually a fairly simple solution.