Brad’s 18th Annual Mock 16-Team College Football Playoff

For the 18th 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), Oregon (Pac-12 Champ), LSU (SEC Champ), Memphis (AAC Champ), Boise State (MWC Champ), Florida Atlantic (C-USA Champ), Miami-OH (MAC Champ), Appalachian State (Sun Belt Champ), Georgia (at-large, # 5 in Playoff Rankings), Baylor (at-large, # 7 in Playoff Rankings), Wisconsin (at-large, # 8 in Playoff Rankings), Florida (at-large, # 9 in Playoff Rankings), Penn State (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings), Utah (at-large, # 11 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) LSU vs. (4) Florida Atlantic, Saturday December 21st- 12:00 (ABC), Shreveport, LA

(2) Wisconsin vs. (3) Utah, Thursday December 19th- 8:00 (ESPN), Honolulu, HI

Winners play Saturday December 28th at 4:00 in Atlanta, GA (ABC)

West Regional

(1) Oklahoma vs. (4) Boise State, Saturday December 21st- 4:00 (ESPN), Fort Worth, TX

(2) Georgia vs. (3) Memphis, Saturday December 21st- 8:00 (ESPN), Jacksonville, FL

Winners play Saturday December 28th at 8:00 in Glendale, AZ (ESPN)

Midwest Regional

(1) Ohio State vs. (4) Miami-OH, Friday December 20th- 8:00 (ESPN), New York, NY

(2) Baylor vs. (3) Florida, Saturday December 21st- 4:00 (ABC), Frisco, TX

Winners play Saturday December 28th at 4:00 in Arlington, TX (ESPN)

East Regional

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Appalachian State, Saturday December 28th- 12:00 (ESPN), Birmingham, AL

(2) Oregon vs. (3) Penn State, Saturday December 21st- 8:00 (ABC), San Francisco, CA

Winners play Saturday December 28 at 12:00 in Orlando, FL (ABC)

Final Four/Championship

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday January 4th- 4:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA

Midwest Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday January 4th- 8:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL

Championship Game, Monday Jan 13th- 8:00 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA

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.   
  •  2019: Jacksonville, FL; New York, NY; Shreveport, LA; Birmingham, AL; Fort Worth, TX; Frisco, TX; San Francisco, CA; Honolulu, HI.  2020: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Nashville, TN; Montgomery, AL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Boise, ID; San Diego, CA.  2021: Tampa, FL; Annapolis, MD; Memphis, TN; Mobile, AL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV;
  •  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.
  • 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 the 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, Tucson, AZ, and Boca Raton, FL.
  • The names of the bowls will remain the same.
  • 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.
  • Because there are less bowls, we are going to make admission into them more selective by requiring that all teams have a winning record in order to make a bowl.  Thus, all 6-6 teams are excluded from this model.
  • Here would be this year’s bowl schedule based on these principles:
  • Date Bowl Teams Time
    Dec. 20 Bahamas Indiana (8-4) vs. Wake Forest (8-4) 2:00 ESPN
    Dec. 23 Gasparilla (Tampa) UCF (9-3) vs. Marshall (8-4) 2:30 ESPN
    Dec. 24 Las Vegas Utah State (7-5) vs. Washington (7-5) 8:00 ESPN
    Dec. 26 Camellia (Montgomery) Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (9-3) 4:00 ESPN
    Dec. 26 Quick Lane (Detroit) Iowa State (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh (7-5) 8:00 ESPN
    Dec. 27 Military Western Kentucky (8-4) vs. Temple (8-4) 12:00 ESPN
    Dec. 27 Boca Raton Virginia (9-4) vs. SMU (10-2) 3:20 ESPN
    Dec. 27 Texas Oklahoma State (8-4) vs. Texas A & M (7-5) 6:45 ESPN
    Dec. 27 Holiday Iowa (9-3) vs. Southern Cal (8-4) 8:00 FS1
    Dec. 27 New Mexico San Diego State (9-3) vs. Central Michigan (8-5) 10:15 ESPN
    Dec. 30 Famous Idaho Potato Brigham Young (7-5) vs. Hawaii (9-5) 3:30 ESPN
    Dec. 31 Belk Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. Kentucky (7-5) 12:00 ESPN
    Dec. 31 Sun Arizona State (7-5) vs. Cincinnati (10-3) 2:00 CBS
    Dec. 31 Liberty Kansas State (8-4) vs. Navy (9-2) 3:45 ESPN
    Dec. 31 Arizona California (7-5) vs. Air Force (10-2) 4:30 CBSS
    Dec. 31 Alamo Texas (7-5) vs. Notre Dame (10-2) 7:30 ESPN
    Jan. 1 Outback Auburn (9-3) vs. Minnesota (10-2) 1:00 ABC
    Jan. 1 First Responder (Dallas) Michigan (9-3) vs. Alabama (10-2) 1:00 ESPN
    Jan. 1 Music City Louisville (7-5) vs. Tennessee (7-5) 4:00 ESPN
    Jan. 1 Lending Tree (Mobile) UAB (9-4) vs. UL-Lafayette (10-3) 8:45 ESPN

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