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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
(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)
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)
- 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)
- 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:
|1||Dec. 17||Bahamas||Tennessee (7-5) vs. Purdue (8-4)||12:00||ESPN|
|2||Dec. 17||Cure||LSU (6-6) vs. Coastal Carolina (10-2)||3:30||ESPN 2|
|3||Dec. 20||Myrtle Beach||Maryland (6-6) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)||2:30||ESPN|
|4||Dec. 21||Famous Idaho Potato||Wisconsin (8-4) vs. Arizona State (8-4)||3:30||ESPN|
|5||Dec. 21||Frisco Bowl||Kansas State (7-5) vs. San Diego State (11-2)||7:30||ESPN|
|6||Dec. 22||Armed Forces||Missouri (6-6) vs. Army (8-3)||8:00||ESPN|
|7||Dec. 23||Boca Raton||Western Kentucky (8-5) vs. App. State (10-3)||3:30||ESPN|
|8||Dec. 23||Gasparilla||UCF (8-4) vs. Florida (6-6)||7:00||ESPN|
|9||Dec. 24||Hawaii||Oregon (10-3) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)||8:00||ESPN|
|10||Dec. 27||Quick Lane||Western Michigan (7-5) vs. Nevada (8-4)||11:00 (AM)||ESPN|
|11||Dec. 27||Military||Boston College (6-6) vs. East Carolina (7-5)||2:30||ESPN|
|12||Dec. 28||Birmingham||Houston (11-2) vs. Auburn (6-6)||12:00||ESPN|
|13||Dec. 28||First Responder||Air Force (9-3) vs. Louisville (6-6)||3:15||ESPN|
|14||Dec. 28||Liberty||Mississippi State (7-5) vs. Texas Tech (6-6)||6:45||ESPN|
|15||Dec. 28||Holiday||UCLA (8-4) vs. NC State (9-3)||8:00||FOX|
|16||Dec. 29||Fenway||SMU (8-4) vs. Virginia (6-6)||11:00 (AM)||ESPN|
|17||Dec. 29||Independence||UAB (8-4) vs. Brigham Young (10-2)||2:15||ESPN|
|18||Dec. 29||Hoosier||Iowa (10-3) vs. Kentucky (9-3)||5:45||ESPN|
|19||Dec. 29||LA Bowl||Fresno State (9-3) vs. Oregon State (7-5)||9:15||ESPN|
|20||Dec. 30||Duke’s Mayo||North Carolina (6-6) vs. South Carolina (6-6)||11:30 (AM)||ESPN|
|21||Dec. 30||Camellia||Penn State (7-5) vs. Arkansas (8-4)||3:00||ESPN|
|22||Dec. 30||Redbox Bowl||Clemson (9-3) vs. Iowa State (7-5)||7:00||ESPN|
|23||Dec. 31||Sun||Washington State (7-5) vs. Miami-FL (7-5)||12:00||CBS|
|24||Dec. 31||Arizona||West Virginia (6-6) vs. Minnesota (8-4)||3:30||ESPN|
|25||Jan. 1||Gator||Wake Forest (10-3) vs. Texas A & M (8-4)||11:00 (AM)||ESPN|