Bowl season has begun, and here at VSP we got off to a good start by covering the Las Vegas Bowl between Houston and San Diego State this past weekend. Check out our photo gallery from the game for shots from the sideline by clicking here. Marshawn Lynch was there too, Beastmode in Vegas! The game itself saw the Aztecs upset the Cougars in Major Applewhite’s first game as head coach of UH as well as Donnel Pumphrey “breaking” Ron Dayne’s NCAA rushing record. It turns out that Pumphrey’s total included his bowl games, where Dayne had over 800 yards of bowl games not counted in his total. The rule changed in the early 2000’s, just to make things extra confusing. Can’t say the NCAA is anything but consistent when creating confusion and controversy.
Being in the middle of bowl game madness inspired me to write a “what if column”. What if we had a 16 team playoff this year in college football? How would the seeding work? Who would play who? Would it really change the outcome of this year’s actual four team playoff? I answer all these questions and more!
The reason I jumped from the current four team playoff to this 16 team idea is that if we go to eight, we still get the usual suspects that get in based upon how good their recruits are and pre season expectations. If we had 8 teams this year, Michigan and Oklahoma are certainly in, while Penn State, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, and Colorado would be fighting over the last 2 seeds. By making it 16 teams, we can ensure that a few non-traditional powers such as a Western Michigan, W. Virginia, Louisville, and others have a shot at the championship. At this point, I can tell you that even before the 2017 season starts and any games are played, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, FSU, insert random SEC flavor of the month will be in the preseason top 10. This gives them a big advantage to get to the football final four before the season. Before people get all upset about “too many games/effects student-athletes study time”, I propose eliminating two non-conference games and end the season in mid November before Thanksgiving. Then, you can space the playoff games between Thanksgiving and mid January. We can let the NCAA and television executives figure out all the details on how to squeeze every penny out of this new system, but I think it will create way more interest over a longer period of time. This should lead to more $ for everyone! (except student-athletes of course!) The 16 team bracket will be set up the same as an NCAA regional bracket, teams ranked 1-16 based upon rankings and some committee input for seeding and at large team selections. Power five conference champs get automatic bids, with one non power five team automatically 16 seed. That leaves 10 at large selections to still argue about and televise like they already do for the final four.
1. Alabama (SEC Champs) vs. 16. Western Michigan (non-power 5 qualifier) -Alabama wins 58-10
Western Michigan gets in the 16 team field, but their reward is Saban and the Crimson Tide. 16 seeds will get housed in most years, but the fact that they are included in future playoffs as an automatic 16 seed qualifier leaves open the possibility of a monumental upset.
8. Colorado vs. 9. Wisconsin- Wisconsin wins 27-24
Both of these teams had final four playoff hopes, and in this system they get rewarded with the 8/9 matchup. The Badgers defense was exposed in the second half of the Big Ten Championship game, but overall are still one of the top 5 defenses in the country. The winner of this game has a date with Alabama waiting for them.
5. Oklahoma (Big 12 Champs) vs. 12. FSU-FSU wins 31-24
Big Game Bob has not fared well in bowl games. Stoops and the Sooners have lost three of their last four bowl games, last year getting destroyed by Clemson in the national semifinal playoff game. Florida State struggled often during the season with freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, but Dalvin Cook wants to make a statement prior to the NFL draft. He goes off for 150 yards and Stoops blows another one.
4. Penn State (Big Ten Champs) vs. 13. Louisville- Louisville wins 44-20
PSU only gets the high seed is because they won the Big Ten Championship, but are at the very least the 3rd best team in the conference. James Franklin is still overrated and an average head coach, and the Paterno defenders deserve the mediocrity coming in the future. Nittany Lions fans come back to reality in this scenario. Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson abuses the PSU defense and puts on a show.
6. Ohio State vs. 11. Oklahoma State- Ohio State wins 34-13
The Cowboys and Mike Gundy’s mullet felt they deserved to be in the final four playoff discussion, and they get a taste of the ass kicking they would have gotten if they somehow snuck into the final four. Urban Meyer coaches circles around the mullet, and moves on to round two.
3. Washington (PAC-12 Champs) vs. 14. West Virginia- Washington wins 28-9
The Huskies are the four seed in this year’s actual playoff, but get the three seed in this scenario. West Virginia gets in, but gets exposed coming out of a weak Big 12. Washington avoids the upset and wins easily.
7. Michigan vs. 10. USC- Michigan wins 28-17
All I have heard about is how good USC is playing, even though they lost 3 times during the regular season. They match up against an equally hyped team in the Wolverines, led by HARBAUGH, who has morphed into a lookalike of Police Academy’s Sweetchuck. I loved Police Academy up until the 4th installment, which was the last appearance of Steve Guttenberg as Mahoney. No Mahoney=no buys!
2. Clemson (ACC Champ) vs. 15 Auburn- Auburn wins 31-28
SEC alert! We have our first major upset in the field of 16, as DABO goes down to the other Tigers. Auburn has been hit or miss all year, but defiantly have the athletes to compete with Clemson. I wasn’t all that impressed by the ACC or SEC as a whole, and the whole point of the 16 team scenario is that major upsets are possible.
Most exciting Round 1 Matchup- Michigan vs. USC
1. Alabama vs. 9. Wisconsin– Alabama wins 31-13
12. Florida State vs. 13. Louisville– Louisville wins 52-20
6. Ohio State vs. 3. Washington– Washington wins 20-17
7. Michigan vs. 15. Auburn– Michigan wins 27-17
Most exciting Round 2 Matchup- Ohio State vs Washington
Looking at the final four that we get from a 16 team playoff, two of the four current teams are there. We also get a lower seed in Louisville advancing based upon having the best player in the country on their team, and Michigan who was hyped all year long.
1. Alabama vs. 13. Louisville- Alabama wins 40-21.
This is a fun matchup between the best team in the country against the best quarterback. Big advantage in the battle of shady coaches, Saban would outmatch Bobby Petrino in every way. Alabama’s defense proves too tough for Jackson to overcome, and the Crimson Tide’s offense rolls over the Cardinals defense.
3. Washington vs. 7. Michigan- Michigan wins 21-19.
In the most exciting game to this point, HARBAUGH and the Wolverines win on a last second field goal. Jabrill Peppers goes nuts with an INT and punt return for a TD.
1. Alabama vs. Michigan- Alabama wins 30-10
TV and ad executives would kill for this national championship this year, and with a 16 team playoff it happens. Alabama does what it has been doing during their 26 game winning streak over the course of two seasons, win handily. Saban announces his “retirement” after the game, only to take the LA Rams job 3 weeks later. Roll damn Tide.
It’s pretty safe to say the 16 team playoff would create more extended and intense interest over the 6 week period of games. For all those who trash Alabama, sorry to say that they would win in a 32 team playoff this year. Look on the bright side, we did get some different teams in the four point playoff. The main take away from more teams in the playoff is all about opportunity and uncertainty for teams competing for a championship. TV networks, advertisers, and talking heads will love it! More money and more excitement for all involved. Once the NCAA figures out how to keep as much of the profit as possible, we will see the field expanded from four to eight, and hopefully to 16 when it’s all said and done.
The VSP podcast in on hiatus during the holiday season, but we will be back recording after the New Year. Check out the VSP Podcast archives on iTunes and Soundcloud to catch any episodes you missed. Follow us on Twitter @LvSportsPress, and check out and like our Facebook and Instagram accounts for updates. Enjoy crunch time for NFL and bowl season, as well as some good college and NBA basketball matchups. Happy Holidays!