Brad’s 14th Annual Mock 16-Team College Football Playoff

For the 14th straight season, I have created a mock college football playoff bracket based my proposed college football playoff system.  I know that a four-team playoff has emerged, but I still think we can do a lot better.  You will see below that 16 is clearly the magic number for the ideal college football playoff, as I will present to you the most comprehensive college football playoff proposal you will see anywhere.  Anyone that would like to see this playoff in an excel bracket format then just let me know, and I’ll send you a copy.

The Field: Clemson (ACC  Champ),  Michigan State (Big 10 Champ), Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ), Stanford (Pac-12 Champ), Alabama (SEC Champ), Houston (AAC Champ), San Diego State (MWC Champ), Western Kentucky (C-USA Champ), Bowling Green (MAC Champ), Arkansas State (Sun Belt Champ), Iowa (at-large, # 5 in Playoff Rankings), Ohio State (at-large, # 7 in Playoff Rankings), Notre Dame (at-large, # 8 in Playoff Rankings), Florida State (at-large, # 9 in Playoff Rankings), North Carolina (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings), TCU (at-large, # 11 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Arkansas State, Friday December 18th- 8:00 (ESPN), Annapolis, MD

(2) Notre Dame vs. (3) TCU, Thursday December 17th- 8:00 (ESPN), Tampa, FL

Winners play Saturday December 26th at 3:30 in Atlanta, GA (ABC)

West Regional

(1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Western Kentucky, Saturday December 19th- 8:00 (ESPN), San Antonio, TX

(2) Iowa vs. (3) Houston, Saturday December 19th- 3:30 (ESPN), Albuquerque, NM

Winners play Saturday December 26th at 3:30 in Phoenix, AZ (ESPN)

East Regional

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Bowling Green, Saturday December 19th- 12:00 (ABC), Mobile, AL

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Florida State, Thursday December 19th- 8:00 (ABC), Memphis, TN

Winners play Saturday December 26th at 8:00 in Orlando, FL (ABC)

Midwest  Regional

(1) Michigan State vs. (4) San Diego State Saturday December 19th- 12:00 (ESPN), Houston, TX

(2) Stanford vs. (3) North Carolina, Saturday December 19th- 3:30 (ABC), Las Vegas, NV

Winners play Saturday December 26th at 12:00 in Arlington, TX (ESPN)

Final Four/Championship

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday January 2nd- 3:30 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA

East Champ vs. Midwest Champ, Saturday January 2nd- 8:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA

Championship Game, Saturday Jan 9th- 8:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL

Basic Format:

  • 16 teams (10 conference championships and 6 at-larges chosen by the top 6 in the Playoff Rankings, which can be chosen exactly as it is now with a committee of 12/13.)
  • 4 regions (teams seeded 1-4 based on committee)
  • Bowl sites will become tourney sites.  See further explanation below.
  • Selection Sunday will be held the day after conference championship day and the first game will be played two weeks after that or one week depending on how late regular season ends.
  • A couple of special stipulations are that two teams from the same conference can’t play in the same region, and each conference is limited to four total playoff teams.


  • I’ve even drafted a mock game schedule that takes into consideration both the interests of the viewers and  television providers.  I’m going to assume that ABC/ESPN buy the rights to playoff coverage, since they have already purchased future New Year’s Six coverage rights.
  • Week 1 (First Round):  Game 1: Thursday 8:00- second best game of the week (ESPN);  Game 2: Friday 8:00- worst game of the week (ESPN); Games 3 and 4: Saturday 12:00- two non-west region games (ABC/ESPN split); Games 5 and 6: Saturday 3:30- two games of any type (ABC/ESPN split); Games 7 and 8: Saturday 8:00- game of the week is on ABC; ESPN has other game.
  • Week 2 (Elite 8): Game 1: Saturday 12:00- Third biggest game of the week but can’t be midwest/west regional final (ESPN); Game 2: Saturday 3:30- Worst game of the week (ESPN); Game 3: Saturday 3:30- Second biggest game of the week (ABC); Game 4: Saturday 8:00- Featured game of the week (ABC).
  • Week 3 (Final Four): Game 1: Saturday 3:30- Second biggest game of the week (ESPN); Game 2: Saturday 8:00- Featured game of the week (ESPN).
  • Week 4 (Championship Game): Saturday 8:00 (ESPN)

Playoff Sites:

  • Lower-tier bowl sites will become first round sites on a rotational basis.   
  • 2015: Tampa, FL; Annapolis, MD; Memphis, TN; Mobile, AL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV. 2016: Jacksonville, FL; New York, NY; Shreveport, LA; Birmingham, AL; Fort Worth, TX; Boise, ID; San Francisco, CA; Honolulu, HI. 2017: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Nashville, TN; St. Petersburg, FL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Tempe, AZ; San Diego, CA.
  •  The bowl sites of Arlington (Cotton), Orlando, FL (Citrus), Phoenix (Fiesta), and Atlanta (Peach) will be annual elite 8 sites.
  • The Final Four/Championship games will be held in Pasadena, New Orleans, and Miami.  The championship game will rotate between the 3 sites, and the two final four games will be played in the non-championship cities.
  • Other notes: (1) New bowl sites coming into existence must replace old ones.  (2) The first-round sites that are off of the playoff rotation will still hold bowl games.  More explanation on that to follow.

Remaining Bowl Games:

  • This is time where things get tricky, as I try to accommodate the rest of the bowl eligible teams who do not make the 16-team playoff.
  • There will be 20 bowl games held at all the first-round sites who are off  of the playoff rotation and the three bowl-only sites of: Nassau, Bahamas, Montgomery, AL, Tucson, AZ, and Boca Raton, FL.
  • The names of the bowls can either change depending on which bowl is being played each year, or a bowl game can be played every year at different sites.  It doesn’t really make a difference to me.
  • The tie-ins for the bowls will try to replicate those for the current bowl games with the obvious omission of all tie-ins of conference champions.  Also, the number of bowl teams from each conference may fluctuate depending on how many teams it sends to the playoff in a particular season.
  • Overall, in this system there will be 56 1-A postseason teams (16 in playoff, 40 in bowls), which is much more reasonable than the current number of 80.  Honestly, by taking out some of the garbage teams who currently squeak into bowl games, I think this system will actually make the bowl games more meaningful and watchable.

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