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

For the 16th 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),  Ohio State (Big 10 Champ), Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ), Southern California (Pac-12 Champ), Georgia (SEC Champ), UCF (AAC Champ), Boise State (MWC Champ), Florida Atlantic (C-USA Champ), Toledo (MAC Champ), Troy (Sun Belt Champ), Alabama (at-large, # 4 in Playoff Rankings), Wisconsin (at-large, # 6 in Playoff Rankings), Auburn (at-large, # 7 in Playoff Rankings), Penn State (at-large, # 9 in Playoff Rankings), Miami-FL (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings), Washington (at-large, # 11 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Troy, Friday December 15th- 8:00 (ESPN), Charlotte, NC

(2) Southern California vs. (3) Penn State, Saturday December 16th- 8:00 (ABC), San Diego, CA

Winners play Saturday December 23rd at 4:00 in Atlanta, GA (ABC)

West Regional

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Florida Atlantic, Saturday December 16th- 12:00 (ABC), Nashville, TN

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) UCF, Saturday December 16th- 4:00 (ABC), Boise, ID

Winners play Saturday December 23rd at 8:00 in Glendale, AZ (ESPN)

Midwest Regional

(1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Boise State, Saturday December 16th- 8:00 (ESPN), Dallas, TX

(2) Auburn vs. (3) Miami-FL, Thursday December 14th- 8:00 (ESPN), El Paso, TX

Winners play Saturday December 23rd at 4:00 in Arlington, TX (ESPN)

East Regional

(1) Georgia vs. (4) Toledo, Saturday December 16th- 12:00 (ESPN), St. Petersburg, FL

(2) Wisconsin vs. (3) Washington, Saturday December 16th- 4:00 (ESPN), Detroit, MI

Winners play Saturday December 23rd at 12:00 in Orlando, FL (ESPN)

Final Four/Championship

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday December 30- 8:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL

Midwest Champ vs. East Champ, Saturday December 30- 4:00 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA

Championship Game, Saturday Jan 6th- 8:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA

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.
  • Teams can’t play on their home field except in semifinals or finals.


  • 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.   
  • 2017: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Nashville, TN; St. Petersburg, FL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Boise, ID; San Diego, CA.  2018: Tampa, FL; Annapolis, MD; Memphis, TN; Mobile, AL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV; 2019: Jacksonville, FL; New York, NY; Shreveport, LA; Birmingham, AL; Fort Worth, TX; Frisco, TX; San Francisco, CA; Honolulu, HI.
  •  The bowl sites of Arlington, TX (Cotton), Orlando, FL (Citrus), Glendale, AZ (Fiesta), and Atlanta, GA (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 four 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.
  • 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 78.  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.
  • Here would be this year’s bowl schedule based on these principles:
Date Bowl Teams Time
Dec. 22 Bahamas North Texas (9-4) vs. Fresno State (9-4) 12:30 ESPN
Dec. 26 Dollar General Appalachian State (8-4) vs. Navy (6-5) 1:00 ESPN
Dec. 26 Frisco Utah (6-6) vs. West Virginia (7-5) 4:30 ESPN
Dec. 26 Cactus Kansas State (7-5) vs. UCLA (6-6) 9:00 ESPN
Dec. 27 Pinstripe Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5) 5:15 ESPN
Dec. 27 Foster Farms Arizona (7-5) vs. Purdue (6-6) 8:30 FOX
Dec. 27 Texas Texas (6-6) vs. Missouri (7-5) 9:00 ESPN
Dec. 28 Military Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. Oklahoma State (9-3) 5:15 ESPN
Dec. 28 Alamo Stanford (9-4) vs. TCU (10-3) 9:00 ESPN
Dec. 29 Independence Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A & M (7-5) 1:00 ESPN
Dec. 29 New Mexico NC State (8-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5) 4:30 ESPN
Dec. 29 Camellia Kentucky (7-5) vs. Northwestern (9-3) 8:00 ESPN
Dec. 30 Taxslayer (Gator) Louisville (8-4) vs. Mississippi State (8-4) 12:00 ESPN
Dec. 30 Armed Forces San Diego State (10-2) vs. Army (8-3) 3:30 ESPN
Dec. 30 Liberty Iowa State (7-5) vs. Memphis (10-2) 4:00 ABC
Jan. 1 Outback Michigan (8-4) vs. South Carolina (8-4) 12:00 ESPN
Jan. 1 Birmingham Texas Tech (6-6) vs. South Florida (9-2) 12:00 ESPN 2
Jan. 1 Las Vegas Wyoming (7-5) vs. Oregon (7-5) 3:30 ESPN
Jan 1 Hawaii Washington State (9-3) vs. Michigan State (9-3) 4:00 FOX
Jan. 1 Boca Raton Notre Dame (9-3) vs. LSU (9-3) 8:00 ABC

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