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).
The fake 12-team Playoff Selection Committee is canceling any upcoming trips to Eugene, Oregon, and Columbus, Ohio, fearing for our lives. Ducks and horse chestnuts are, gasp!
But how!? Well, it’s complicated (we’ll explain later).
First though, how about we talk about the teams that made our field, including a new No. 2 seed (the Sooners and their star first-year quarterback!), A fresh face claiming the automatic championship offer. Big Ten (the Harbaugh boys) and, for the first time this year, a second Big 12 team in the group (hello Cowboys!). The state of Oklahoma, yes, is responsible for two of the 12 teams.
Last weekend’s results boosted the field quite significantly while shutting out some playoff-worthy teams due to the requirement to include six conference champions on the field. For example, are San Diego State and Wake Forest better or more worthy teams than, say, Ohio State, Notre Dame, or Baylor?
Forward to support!
1. Georgia (SEC champion)
2. Oklahoma (champion of the big 12)
3. Cincinnati (AAC champion)
4. Michigan (Big Ten champion)
5. Alabama (SEC in general)
12. San Diego State (MWC champion)
6. State of Michigan (Big Ten Overall)
11. Wake Forest (ACC champion)
7. Iowa (Big Ten overall)
10. Ole Miss (SEC in general)
8. Oklahoma State (Big 12 overall)
9. Penn State (Big Ten overall)
The Oregon-Ohio State Dilemma: Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. How the hell do we leave out two teams that can eventually win a Power 5 conference this year? First of all, we do not project future games in this exercise, only taking into account the ones that are played. Second, the Ducks have been playing, uh, not well. They lost their starting running back, CJ Verdell, for the season, and recently rebelled over less than admirable competition (Cal) after losing to another boring Pac-12 team at Stanford. And that brings us to point # 3: It’s tough to put Ohio State on the field without Oregon (you’ll recall the Ducks won at Ohio Stadium earlier this season). Fourth, the requirement to include six conference champions took the bottom two spots and ultimately cost Oregon and Ohio State. Fifth, we take the Rebels and Nittany Lions as the last two teams overall. So that’s all.
Ole Miss – Iowa: What a fascinating first-round showdown. Lane Kiffin and Kirk Ferentz couldn’t be more different and that applies to their teams, philosophies and styles. Kirk likes to clear from his opponent’s 38; Lane likes to go on his own 28. Lane likes to tweet memes, criticize rival coaches and show off his offensive acumen. Kirk doesn’t even have a Twitter account (at least we can’t find one). Imagine the rebels and Hawkeyes gathering in Iowa City in mid-December, with snow falling and temperatures plummeting.
Welcome Aztecs !: San Diego State, 6-0 and led by former Michigan coach Brady Hoke, opens the field because, honestly, we needed a sixth conference champion. He elbowed Sun Belt champion Coastal Carolina, mostly because of his stiffer schedule. Hoke’s team beat Utah, won at Arizona and survived in double overtime against San Jose State. Not a world champion, but again, the final conference champion on the field will generally be a team ranked outside of the top 15. Aztecs, good luck against Alabama!
More college football coverage:
• Behind their ugly defense, this is Georgia’s year to win the big one.
• Ed Orgeron’s swift fall at LSU: Inside a stunning post-title meltdown
• Where will LSU go now? Expect a broad search for high-profile coaching
• SI Top 10: Cincinnati, Oklahoma, dismantle opponents in Week 7 supremacy
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.