College Football Playoff: How a 16-team bracket would play out

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In a perfect world, what would a College Football Playoff 16-team bracket look like and, more importantly, how would everything play out from there?

After 14 weeks of action on the gridiron that started several months ago, the end-game is in sight in college football. The four teams that will be in the College Football Playoff have been revealed. In order from top to bottom, it’ll be the Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma Sooners that will be vying for the National Championship this season.

As is always the case following the revelation of the four teams in the College Football Playoff, though, there are fans throughout the country crying foul about the final team that got in. Last year, it was Ohio State fans talking about that as they were the first team out. This year, Ohio State is again in the mix as the second team out, but they’re joined by Georgia fans as the Bulldogs came in at No. 5 in the final rankings.

Pretty much since the institution of this system, fans have started pining for expansion of the Playoff. There have been talks about eight teams, which seems at least possible, and some have even floated the idea of a 16-team College Football Playoff. While that’s ambitious, it’s hard to deny that it would be tremendously fun to see that play out.

And with the final CFP rankings being released, we’re going to dive into a fantasy world where that tremendous amount of fun comes to fruition. We’re going to look at the top-16 teams in the final rankings and put them in a College Football Playoff bracket and simulate how things would transpire in that scenario.

And with that, let’s start with No. 1 Alabama taking on No. 16 West Virginia.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide vs. 16. West Virginia Mountaineers

The first matchup in this 16-team College Football Playoff bracket pits the Alabama Crimson Tide against the West Virginia Mountaineers. There’s no question that a matchup such as this would put a boatload of offensive talent on the field. Both of these teams have been two of the highest-scoring groups in the country this year. And, with Tua Tagovailoa expected to be back for the CFP, we’ll say he’s playing in this one.

With that being so, this would seem like a quality matchup between explosive offenses. While that may be a true to a degree, the key factor in this matchup is Alabama’s defense. Because while the Crimson Tide have shown elite flashes on that side of the ball, West Virginia has barely shown a pulse on defense at times this season, even if they’ve improved.

In truth, a matchup between Alabama and West Virginia would likely mirror the game between the Tide and the Ole Miss Rebels earlier in the season. The Rebels hit Nick Saban’s team in the mouth out of the gate, but their defense had zero answers and then the game got entirely away from Ole Miss in a blowout.

While West Virginia’s offense may find a bit more life, I don’t see that happening from their defense. They just don’t have the speed or talent to match up well with what the Crimson Tide can do. As such, I have this first Round 1 game of this simulate bracket ending in blowout fashion.

Prediction: Alabama 61, West Virginia 24

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