What would a 16-team playoff look like?

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Trovon Reed (1) and Auburn Tigers offensive linesman Greg Robinson (73) celebrate after the 2013 SEC Championship game against the Missouri Tigers at Georgia Dome. The Auburn Tigers defeated the Missouri Tigers 59-42. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

In the final year of the BCS, the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles will take on the second-ranked Auburn Tigers in the national championship.

Next season, the FBS will hold a four-team playoff to decide a champion. It seems pretty obviously the Alabama Crimson Tide would be the third seed if the playoff were this year. The Michigan State Spartans, Stanford Cardinal and Baylor Bears would likely argue over the final spot, creating another controversy.

Well, Prediction Machine decided to show FanSided what their 16-team playoff would look like this season.

A 16-team playoff would fulfill all of our needs. First, it would include all conference champions. At the beginning of the season every team in the FBS would have a clear path to the national title, win your conference and you are in the hunt. Second, six at-large bids would be awarded guaranteeing that the truly elite teams in the country are in the postseason.

If we used this format we would get the following 16-team playoff:
Note: We used the current BCS Standings to seed each team 

  • No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 16 UL-Lafayette
  • No. 8 Missouri vs. No. 9 South Carolina
  • No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 12 Central Florida
  • No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 13 Fresno State
  • No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 11 Oklahoma
  • No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 14 Bowling Green
  • No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Oregon
  • No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 15 Rice

In this playoff, the entire top 10 of the BCS is included with only three teams (Bowling Green, Rice, and UL-Lafayette) ranking outside the BCS top 25. The SEC has four representatives, the most of any conference.

The only real drawback to this format is some unfortunate, same conference, matchups in the first round. Missouri plays South Carolina and Baylor faces off against Oklahoma.

As is the case with March Madness, seed and path to the title game make all the difference. Florida State has a favorable route to the title which includes a Sweet 16 matchup against the weakest team in the field, Louisiana Lafayette which ranks 95th in our Power Rankings. The Seminoles also will not face one of our top four teams until the championship game. As a result, Florida State is the only team with a greater than 50% chance to reach the Final Four and is more likely to win it all than the next top three seeds combined.

PredictionMachine.com’s Bracket Simulator gives you the power to simulate the postseason for any sport, not just college football. Try it out!

Topics: Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, Florida State Seminoles

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  • tideman89

    This is an interesting idea, but I think 16 teams is too many. As an example, does UL-Lafayette really belong in the discussion?I can certainly see the four team playoff, and could understand an eight team model. I think the quality and/or caliber of the teams drops significantly after the top 10. Of course, the business model will dictate that more teams and therefore more games, is the better way to go – so much money to be made!

    As a college football fan, I’d love to see more games. But, in a playoff type system, those games should mean something.

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