An Inclusive College Football Playoff

Well, the latest rankings experiment has more or less concluded.  So I won’t beat that horse here.  But how would a 16 team tournament really look in a more practical world?  So as a fun cross check, I messed around a bit:

  • I aggregated three publicly available rankings.  Kenneth Massey and Jeff Sagarin‘s computer ratings along with the AP Poll.  Normalizing, racking and stacking them – you get something like this – I only rank the top contenders and the conference champs to get to a list of contenders for the national title (scale 0 to 1):
    1. Alabama – 1.000
    2. Oregon – 0.966
    3. TCU – 0.899
    4. Ohio State – 0.892
    5. Florida State – 0.877
    6. Baylor – 0.873
    7. Mississippi State – 0.830
    8. Michigan State – 0.815
    9. Ole Miss – 0.812
    10. Kansas State – 0.732
    11. Georgia – 0.731
    12. Georgia Tech – 0.694
    13. Arizona – 0.673
    14. Auburn – 0.663
    15. UCLA – 0.660
    16. Missouri – 0.635
    17. Arizona State – 0.617
    18. Wisconsin – 0.594
    19. Clemson – 0.594
    20. LSU – 0.578
    21. Boise State – 0.514
    22. Marshall – 0.423
    23. Memphis – 0.385
    24. Cincinnati – 0.369
    25. Central Florida – 0.348
    26. Northern Illinois – 0.329
    27. Georgia Southern – 0.308

So – what does a tournament look like?

  • Automatic Bids – Baylor gets the Big 12’s berth here due to a head-to-head breaking a 2-way tie – there is no reason for the Big 12 to have a championship game as a team which plays a full round robin.  A three way tie defers to the above standings (and why we listed the three AAC co-champs).
    • SEC: Alabama (1)
    • Pac-12: Oregon (2)
    • Big Ten: Ohio State (4)
    • ACC: Florida State (5)
    • Big 12: Baylor (6)
    • Mountain West: Boise State (21)
    • Conference USA: Marshall (22)
    • American: Memphis (23)
    • MAC: Northern Illinois (26)
    • Sun Belt: Georgia Southern (27)
  • At-Large Bids.  Easy here to go right down the line.  That said, #12 Georgia Tech gets the nod over #11 Georgia for the last playoff spot because of their recent head-to-head.
    • TCU (3)
    • Mississippi State (7)
    • Michigan State (8)
    • Ole Miss (9)
    • Kansas State (10)
    • Georgia Tech (12)
  • Apply the S-Curve
    • Alabama-Michigan State-Ole Miss-Georgia Southern
    • Oregon-Mississippi State-Kansas State-Northern Illinois
    • TCU-Baylor-Georgia Tech-Memphis
    • Ohio State-Florida State-Boise State-Marshall
  • Final Result (A plays B, C plays D in semis) – some small changes to balance the bracket and recognize some minor primacy for conference championships. TCU gets moved to a #2 seed with Baylor while FSU hops up to the #1 seed.  Also (as the NCAA might for basketball) we shuffle Georgia Tech and Ole Miss to eliminate a rematch possibility with Alabama.
    • Region A: SOUTH
      • Alabama v Georgia Southern
      • Michigan State v Georgia Tech
    • Region B: EAST
      • Florida State v Marshall
      • TCU v Boise State
    • Region C: WEST
      • Oregon v Northern Illinois
      • Mississippi State v Kansas State
    • Region D: MIDWEST
      • Ohio State v Memphis
      • Baylor v Ole Miss
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