Brad’s 19th Annual Mock 16-Team College Football Playoff

For the 19th straight season, I have created a mock college football playoff bracket based my proposed college football playoff system.  As we saw this year with the exclusions of Coastal Carolina and Cincinnati, a four-team playoff is not cutting it.  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.  See a picture of the bracket below.

The Field: Clemson (ACC  Champ),  Ohio State (Big 10 Champ), Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ), Oregon (Pac-12 Champ), Alabama (SEC Champ), Cincinnati (AAC Champ), San Jose State (MWC Champ), UAB (C-USA Champ), Ball State (MAC Champ), Coastal Carolina (Sun Belt Champ), Notre Dame (at-large, # 4 in Playoff Rankings), Texas A & M (at-large, # 5 in Playoff Rankings), Florida (at-large, # 7 in Playoff Rankings), Georgia (at-large, # 9 in Playoff Rankings), Iowa State (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings), Indiana (at-large, # 11 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) Alabama vs. (4) UAB, Saturday December 26th- 12:00 (ESPN), Montgomery, AL (Camellia Bowl)

(2) Cincinnati vs. (3) Iowa State, Saturday December 26th- 4:00 (ESPN), Boise ID (Famous Idaho Potato Bowl)

Winners play Saturday January 2nd at 12:00 in Atlanta, GA (ESPN)

West Regional

(1) Notre Dame vs. (4) San Jose State, Saturday December 26th- 12:00 (ABC), Dallas, TX (First Responder Bowl)

(2) Texas A & M vs. (3) Coastal Carolina, Saturday December 26th- 4:00 (ESPN), El Paso, TX (Sun Bowl)

Winners play Saturday January 2nd at 4:00 in Glendale, AZ (ESPN)

East Regional

(1) Clemson vs. (4) Ball State, Friday December 25th- 8:00 (ESPN), Charlotte, NC (Duke’s Mayo Bowl)

(2) Florida vs. (3) Indiana, Thursday December 24th- 8:00 (ESPN), Boca Raton, FL (Boca Raton Bowl)

Winners play Saturday January 2nd at 8:00 in Orlando, FL (ESPN)

Midwest Regional

(1) Ohio State vs. (4) Oregon, Saturday December 26th- 4:00 (ABC), Detroit, MI (Quick Lane Bowl)

(2) Oregon vs. (3) Penn State, Saturday December 26th- 8:00 (ABC), San Diego, CA (Holiday Bowl)

Winners play Saturday January 2nd at 4:00 in Arlington, TX (ABC)

Final Four/Championship

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday January 9th- 4:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL (Orange Bowl)

East Champ vs. Midwest Champ, Saturday January 4th- 8:00 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)

Championship Game, Monday Jan 18th- 8:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl)

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): Monday 8:00 (ESPN)

Playoff Sites:

  • Lower-tier bowl sites will become first round sites on a rotational basis.   
  •   2020: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Boca Raton, FL; Montgomery, AL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Boise, ID; San Diego, CA.  2021: Tampa, FL; Annapolis, MD; Nashville, TN; Mobile, AL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV; 2022: New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Birmingham, AL; Nassau, Bahamas; Fort Worth, TX; Memphis, TN; Tucson, AZ; San Francisco, CA.  2023: Boston, MA; Indianapolis, IN; Conway, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Frisco, TX; Shreveport, LA; Honolulu, HI; Inglewood, CA.
  •  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 24 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 64 1-A postseason teams (16 in playoff, 48 in bowls), which is much more reasonable than the current number of 78. (However, this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic less teams chose to go to bowl games so I was able to accomodate every team that is part of the 2020 bowl season.)
  • 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. (obviously, doesn’t apply this year due to Covid-19)
  • Here would be this year’s bowl schedule based on these principles:
1Dec. 21Myrtle BeachAppalachain State (8-3) vs. North Texas (4-5)2:30ESPN
2Dec. 22HawaiiNevada (6-2) vs. Tulane (6-5)3:30ESPN
3Dec. 22BahamasUCF (6-3) vs. BYU (10-1)7:00ESPN
4Dec. 23IndependenceLouisiana Tech (5-4) vs. Georgia Southern (7-5)3:00ESPN
5Dec. 23FenwayFlorida Atlantic (5-3) vs. Memphis (7-3)7:00ESPN
6Dec. 24New MexicoHouston (3-4) vs. Hawaii (4-4)3:30ESPN
7Dec. 25PinstripeBuffalo (5-1) vs. Marshall (7-2)2:30ESPN
8Dec. 28MilitaryLiberty (9-1) vs. South Carolina (2-8)12:00ESPN
9Dec. 28Lending TreeWestern Kentucky (5-6) vs. Georgia State (5-4)3:30ESPN
10Dec. 29Las VegasMiami-FL (8-2) vs. Oklahoma State (7-3)5:30ESPN
11Dec.30FriscoWake Forest (4-4) vs. Wisconsin (3-3)12:00ESPN
12Dec. 30Music CityIowa (6-2) vs. Missouri (5-5)4:00ESPN
13Dec. 31Armed ForcesTulsa (6-2) vs. Mississippi State (3-7)12:00ESPN
14Dec. 31LibertyWest Virginia (5-4) vs. Army (9-2)4:00ESPN
15Dec. 31TexasTCU (6-4) vs. Arkansas (3-7)8:00ESPN
16Jan. 1GatorNC State (8-3) vs. Kentucky (4-6)12:00ESPN
17Jan. 1BirminghamNorthwestern (6-2) vs. Auburn (6-4)1:00ABC
18Jan. 1OutbackOle Miss (4-5) vs. North Carolina (8-3)4:00ESPN
19Jan. 1ArizonaUTSA (7-4) vs. UL-Lafayette (9-1)5:00CBS
20Jan. 1AlamoTexas (6-3) vs. Colorado (4-1)8:00ESPN


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