Top 16 College Football Playoff Reveal: What Would've Happened?

Top 16 College Football Playoff Reveal: What Would've Happened?


Top 16 College Football Playoff Reveal: What Would've Happened?


Top 16 College Football Playoff: What Would’ve Happened?

What if there was a College Football Playoff top 16 reveal and a playoff – like the college basketball world is setting up? Here’s what might have happened.

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2016-2017 16-Team College Football Playoff

The NCAA committee might be unveiling its early top 16 projections for the March Madness tournament, but the College Football Playoff does that for an entire top 25.

So let’s just say the CFP committee, at the end of the 2016 regular season, had to pick 16 for a tournament, and not just for the New Year’s Six and a four-team playoff? But how would a 16-team tournament work?

Forgetting for a moment that coaches would never go for this, it’s not that insane a thought for at some point way, way, way down the road. Think of it this way – it wasn’t all that long ago that coaches and administrators wouldn’t go for the idea of playing 15 games in a season, but that’s what Clemson and Alabama have had to do over the last two years. What’s an extra two games?

What would the schedule have been this year for a 16-team tournament?

Round 1 would’ve been played the week after the conference championships, Saturday, December 10th, and Round 2 the week after, Saturday, December 17th, with the games played on the home field of the higher seed.

Then you’d have a Final Four, and then you’d have the CFP like you do now, giving the top teams two weeks to rest up for the semi-finals – the Chick-fil-A Peach and Fiesta this year, and then another decent rest for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

This would make the top 16 seed reveal a really, really big deal. Here would’ve been the seeds according to the final College Football Playoff rankings, and what would’ve happened.

Remember, the committee would’ve done everything possible to make sure there wouldn’t be any rematches.


1. Clemson Tigers

2. Penn State Nittany Lions

3. Colorado Buffaloes

4. Western Michigan Broncos

What Would’ve Happened?

To try avoiding a rematch, the committee would’ve had to put Western Michigan or West Virginia here – Clemson played Auburn and Louisville – with the Broncos trying to row the boat against the Tigers. It would’ve been more of a fight than you’d think in Death Valley, but Clemson would’ve gotten by in an efficient effort.

Colorado made the trip to Michigan earlier in the year, and this time it would’ve gone to Happy Valley – Penn State would’ve won in a walk setting up an epic regional final.

In a wild and crazy shootout, Clemson and Penn State would’ve put up over 1,000 yards of total offense, with Deshaun Watson and the Tigers surviving a late Nittany Lion surge to get into the College Football Playoff Final Four.


1. Washington Huskies

2. Michigan Wolverines

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys

4. Louisville Cardinals

What Would’ve Happened?

Washington’s defense would’ve put the clamps down on Lamar Jackson and Louisville in a dominant performance. While Michigan would’ve bludgeoned Oklahoma State with a big day from the run defense to easily get through, setting up a terrific showdown in Seattle.

In a low-scoring fight, Washington wouldn’t be able to get its offense going against a Michigan D that would’ve come up with another terrific performance. Jim Harbaugh gets his Wolverines into the College Football Playoff Final Four with a 23-13 win.


1. Alabama Crimson Tide

2. Wisconsin Badgers

3. Florida State Seminoles

4. West Virginia Mountaineers

What Would’ve Happened?

The Alabama defense would’ve clamped down on West Virginia after battle of a first quarter. The offense, though, wouldn’t have been as efficient and effective as many might have liked, at least until the running game took over in the fourth.

Wisconsin’s defense would’ve had problems with Dalvin Cook, but the rest of the Florida State offense wouldn’t have gotten going. The Badgers would’ve slowed the game down to a dead stop, but the Seminoles would’ve cranked up a few big pass plays in the second half to finally break through and survive.

In a fantastic semi-final, Florida State would’ve have been able to get Cook going against the Alabama D, but the Seminole defense would’ve done its part to frustrate the Crimson Tide. Bama would’ve survived at home, but it would’ve been a tight fight into the fourth. Nick Saban would complain about the schedule of games and how his team needs a break.


1. Ohio State Buckeyes

2. Oklahoma Sooners

3. USC Trojans

4. Auburn Tigers

What Would’ve Happened?

Ohio State would’ve dominated the struggling Auburn offense – the Tigers just wouldn’t be quite healthy enough to make a splash – but the Buckeye O would’ve needed a while to get going against a good performance from the Gus Malzahn defensive front.

Oklahoma and USC would’ve played the best game of the first round, with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold trading big shot after big shot in epic firefight that would’ve gone deep into the fourth quarter. Eventually, the Oklahoma ground game would’ve slowed things down, taken over, and pulled out the win.

Unfortunately, the Oklahoma-Ohio State rematch would’ve been unavoidable. The committee wouldn’t have wanted to put No. 2 Big Ten seeds Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State in the same region as Ohio State. Round 2 of Sooners and Buckeyes would’ve been more entertaining – OU would’ve been far better – but there would’ve been the same final result. Ohio State would’ve had to rally in the fourth to get into the Final Four.


What Would’ve Happened?

Alabama would’ve been matched up with Michigan in the Chick-fil-A Peach, and Clemson and Ohio State would’ve faced off in the Fiesta.

We know what would’ve happened in the Fiesta – but it wouldn’t have been quite as ugly a Clemson win – while Alabama would’ve cranked up the defense just enough to survive the Wolverines. Michigan wouldn’t be able to get that one big offensive play needed to break through, but the D would’ve kept the game from getting out of hand.

Would the College Football Playoff National Championship been that? Remember, both Alabama and Clemson would’ve played two extra games and would’ve been worn down, but let’s just assume Deshaun would’ve found a way to get it done.


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