This is a week Illustrated Sports A series that uses the current college football rankings to create an imaginary 12-team playoff roster based on the model proposed this summer by CFP executives. In case you’ve forgotten, the 12-team model features (1) the six highest-ranked conference champions and (2) the next six highest-ranked teams. The top four ranked conference champions advance to the second round (independents are not eligible to receive a goodbye, sorry, Notre Dame).
Our imaginary 12-team bogus playoff selection committee has emerged from the drafting meeting room, eyes clouded and gaping from what happened this weekend in college football. It really put the committee in a big bind.
Clemson’s loss made us wonder whether, at this point, given current results, the ACC even deserves one of the six automatic qualifiers. We argued about that for several hours until we realized that the only other option was a Coastal Carolina team whose best win is over Buffalo.
And then there is the case of our Big 12 champion, Oklahoma, who has been, at best, vulnerable. Picking the best team in the Big Ten isn’t fun either. Michigan State passed Penn State and Iowa with an overtime win over Nebraska and, yes, we know it will fuel some discussions.
The Power 5 crowd won’t be happy to learn that a Group of 5 team is getting one of four byes for the quarterfinals. But let’s face it, are we really going to put Oklahoma or Wake Forest ahead of Cincinnati? No. No, we are not.
Remember, we can only rely on current results to determine our rankings and pairings. This is not necessarily a projection of the rest of the season.
Stop talking. Forward to support!
1. Alabama (SEC champion)
2. Oregon (Pac-12 champion)
3. Michigan State (Big Ten Champion)
4. Cincinnati (AAC champion)
5. Georgia (SEC in general)
12. Wake Forest (ACC champion)
6. Penn State (Big Ten overall)
11. Notre Dame (Independent in general)
7. Iowa (Big Ten overall)
10. Florida (SEC in general)
8. Arkansas (SEC in general)
9. Oklahoma (champion of the big 12)
Most questionable decision: Leaving out BYU and Ole Miss. Hey, not everyone can get in! In a way, BYU was kicked off the field for (1) Notre Dame’s victory over Wisconsin and (2) the fact that we were required to include a sixth conference champion (in this case, Wake Forest, who took the spot. on Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt). And what about Ole Miss? He has an FBS win over a team on neutral ground (Louisville), so let’s pump the breaks. We will learn a lot about the rebels this weekend. They play in Alabama.
Best First Round Showdown: Oklahoma in Arkansas. Oh yeah, a playoff game in Hogville against a border state and a longtime rival from the Southwestern Conference. Pump it in my veins! The Sooners haven’t looked good enough so far to be awarded a playoff game at home, and Arkansas has beaten some quality opponents like Texas and Texas A&M, not just winning but dominating it. It would be the two teams’ first meeting since a Cotton Bowl clash in 2001. (Plus, as a bonus, here’s the best potential second-round game: a rematch of last year’s Peach Bowl between Georgia and Cincinnati. Juicy! )
More university coverage:
• Brian Kelly doing it with this Notre Dame team
• SI Top 10: Arkansas Win changes the chaotic landscape
• The second Clemson loss provides the necessary parity jolt
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.