Brad’s 20th Annual Mock 16-Team College Football Playoff

For the 20th straight season, I have created a mock college football playoff bracket based my proposed college football playoff system, which would actually begin tonight based on the model you see below.  Now, there is talk of a 12 team playoff emerging, but until those details are finalized, I am going to continue to promote this 16 team model, which I believe is the perfect playoff size. Get ready to see the most comprehensive college football playoff proposal anywhere, in its 20th edition! I have taken a picture of the bracket which you will see just under this paragraph, and then all of its nuances will be discussed below that.

The Field: Pittsburgh (ACC  Champ),  Michigan (Big 10 Champ), Baylor (Big 12 Champ), Utah (Pac-12 Champ), Alabama (SEC Champ), Cincinnati (AAC Champ), Utah State (MWC Champ), UTSA (C-USA Champ), Northern Illinois (MAC Champ), UL-Lafayette (Sun Belt Champ), Georgia (at-large, # 3 in Playoff Rankings), Notre Dame (at-large, # 5 in Playoff Rankings), Ohio State (at-large, # 6 in Playoff Rankings), Ole Miss (at-large, # 8 in Playoff Rankings), Oklahoma State (at-large, # 9 in Playoff Rankings), Michigan State (at-large, # 10 in Playoff Rankings)

South Regional

(1) Alabama vs. (4) Utah State, Saturday December 18th- 12:00 (ESPN), Mobile, AL (LendingTree Bowl)

(2) Baylor vs. (3) Michigan State, Saturday December 18th- 4:00 (ESPN), Albuquerque, NM (New Mexico Bowl)

Winners play Saturday December 25th at 12:00 in Atlanta, GA (ESPN)

West Regional

(1) Cincinnati vs. (4) UL-Lafayette, Friday December 17th- 8:00 (ESPN), Las Vegas, NV (Las Vegas Bowl)

(2) Notre Dame vs. (3) Pittsburgh, Saturday December 18th- 4:00 (ABC), Tampa, FL (Outback Bowl)

Winners play Saturday December 25th at 4:00 in Glendale, AZ (ESPN)

Midwest Regional

(1) Michigan vs. (4) Northern Illinois, Saturday December 18th- 12:00 (ABC), New York, NY (Pinstripe Bowl)

(2) Ole Miss vs. (3) Oklahoma State, Thursday December 16th- 8:00 (ESPN), San Antonio, TX (Alamo Bowl)

Winners play Saturday December 25th at 4:00 in Arlington, TX (ABC)

East Regional

(1) Georgia vs. (4) UTSA, Saturday December 18th- 8:00 (ESPN), Nashville, TN (Music City Bowl)

(2) Ohio State vs. (3) Utah, Saturday December 18th- 8:00 (ABC), Houston, TX (Texas Bowl)

Winners play Saturday December 25th at 8:00 in Arlington, TX (ESPN)

Final Four/Championship

South Champ vs. West Champ, Saturday January 1st- 3:30 (ESPN), Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)

Midwest Champ vs. East Champ, Saturday January 4th- 8:00 (ESPN), New Orleans, LA (Sugar Bowl)

Championship Game, Monday Jan 10th- 8:00 (ESPN), Miami, FL (Orange 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- Rose Bowl in years that Pasadena has semifinal; otherwise, second biggest game of the week (ESPN); Game 2: Saturday 8:00- Non-Rose Bowl in years that Pasadena has semifinal; otherwise, 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.   
  • 2021: New York, NY; Nashville, TN; Mobile, AL; Tampa, FL; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; Albuquerque, NM; Las Vegas, NV. 2022: Nassau, Bahamas; Annapolis, MD; Birmingham, AL; Jacksonville, FL; Fort Worth, TX; Memphis, TN; Tucson, AZ; San Francisco, CA. 2023: Boston, MA; Indianapolis, IN; Conway, SC; St. Petersburg, FL; Frisco, TX; Shreveport, LA; Honolulu, HI; Inglewood, CA.  2024: Charlotte, NC; Detroit, MI; Montgomery, AL; Boca Raton, FL; El Paso, TX; Dallas, TX; Boise, ID; San Diego, 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 25 bowl games held at all the first-round sites who are off of the playoff rotation and the bowl-only sites of: Exploria Stadium in Orlando, FL (home of the Cure Bowl).
  • 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 66 FBS postseason teams (16 in playoff, 50 in bowls), which is much more reasonable than the current number of 84.
  • 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 from non-power 5 conferences are excluded from this model.
  • Here would be this year’s bowl schedule based on these principles:
1Dec. 17BahamasTennessee (7-5) vs. Purdue (8-4)12:00ESPN
2Dec. 17CureLSU (6-6) vs. Coastal Carolina (10-2)3:30ESPN 2
3Dec. 20Myrtle BeachMaryland (6-6) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)2:30ESPN
4Dec. 21Famous Idaho PotatoWisconsin (8-4) vs. Arizona State (8-4)3:30ESPN
5Dec. 21Frisco BowlKansas State (7-5) vs. San Diego State (11-2)7:30ESPN
6Dec. 22Armed ForcesMissouri (6-6) vs. Army (8-3)8:00ESPN
7Dec. 23Boca RatonWestern Kentucky (8-5) vs. App. State (10-3)3:30ESPN
8Dec. 23GasparillaUCF (8-4) vs. Florida (6-6)7:00ESPN
9Dec. 24HawaiiOregon (10-3) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)8:00ESPN
10Dec. 27Quick LaneWestern Michigan (7-5) vs. Nevada (8-4)11:00 (AM)ESPN
11Dec. 27MilitaryBoston College (6-6) vs. East Carolina (7-5)2:30ESPN
12Dec. 28BirminghamHouston (11-2) vs. Auburn (6-6)12:00ESPN
13Dec. 28First ResponderAir Force (9-3) vs. Louisville (6-6)3:15ESPN
14Dec. 28LibertyMississippi State (7-5) vs. Texas Tech (6-6)6:45ESPN
15Dec. 28HolidayUCLA (8-4) vs. NC State (9-3)8:00FOX
16Dec. 29FenwaySMU (8-4) vs. Virginia (6-6)11:00 (AM)ESPN
17Dec. 29IndependenceUAB (8-4) vs. Brigham Young (10-2)2:15ESPN
18Dec. 29HoosierIowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)5:45ESPN
19Dec. 29LA BowlFresno State (9-3) vs. Oregon State (7-5)9:15ESPN
20Dec. 30Duke’s MayoNorth Carolina (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)11:30 (AM)ESPN
21Dec. 30CamelliaPenn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)3:00ESPN
22Dec. 30Redbox BowlClemson (9-3) vs. Iowa State (7-5)7:00ESPN
23Dec. 31SunWashington State (7-5) vs. Miami-FL (7-5)12:00CBS
24Dec. 31ArizonaWest Virginia (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)3:30ESPN
25Jan. 1GatorWake Forest (10-3) vs. Texas A & M (8-4)11:00 (AM)ESPN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s