Note: This post is written news-style to paint a picture of what things would be like if my college tournament plan was real
Well, we’re heading into the final week of the college football regular season, and the national championship tournament picture is starting to become clearer. With the conference championship games being played, just about every game taking place this Saturday has major implications in the seeding of the teams or even who will make the last at large spots and who’s bubble will burst. There is a lot more debate this season over who the truly best team is. The CFT (College Football Tournament) rankings say that it is Missouri as of right now, but there are plenty of doubters. Luckily, it’s going to be settled on the field. Can you imagine what kind of outrage there would be if the BCS was still around? A lot of people seem to think that Georgia, LSU, or USC could actually be the top team, but none of them would have had a chance in the old system. LSU wouldn’t get a shot because they missed 2 triple overtime 2-point conversions. Here is how the tournament matchups would look if the season ended today and if it is assumed that the higher ranked team in the CFT wins their conference title game, followed by a breakdown of the 11 conferences:
ACC: Virginia Tech (6)
Big 12: Missouri (1)
Big East: West Virginia (2)
Big Ten: Ohio State (3)
C-USA: Central Florida (NR)
MAC: Central Michigan (NR)
Mountain West: BYU (19)
Pac-10: USC (8)
SEC: LSU (7)
Sun Belt: Troy (NR)
WAC: Hawaii (12)
At Large: Georgia (4), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (9), Florida (10), Boston College (11)
Outside Looking In: Arizona State (13), Tennessee (14), Illinois (15), Clemson (16), Oregon (17)
First Round Matchups:
#1 Missouri vs. #16 Central Michigan @ Kansas City
#8 USC vs. #9 Oklahoma @ San Diego
#4 Georgia vs. #13 BYU @ Atlanta
#5 Kansas vs. #12 Hawaii @ Houston
#3 Ohio State vs. #14 Central Florida @ Indianapolis
#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Boston College @ Jacksonville
#7 LSU vs. #10 Florida @ New Orleans
#2 West Virginia vs. #15 Troy @ East Rutherford
ACC: The tournament’s first round is showing a rematch of this Saturday’s championship game. The automatic bid is on the line in this one, and Boston College will most likely not get the at-large spot with a loss, while VT is probably ranked high enough to still make it with a loss, but they would probably have to travel farther for a first round game. Clemson has an outside chance of getting in if VT, Arizona, and LSU win
Big 12: Missouri and Oklahoma will probably both make the tournament as long as there are not upsets in the SEC and ACC championship games, and most importantly for Missouri, their #1 seed is on the line against the only team they lost to. Idle Kansas is currently #5 and is a lock to make it and can even get a higher seed with some key upsets.
Big East: West Virginia has won the conference and the automatic bid. They have their sites set on the #1 seed if they win and Missouri loses
Big Ten: Ohio State has won the conference and the automatic bid. They can still get the #1 seed if Missouri and West Virginia lose. Illinois is in a similar situation as Clemson, where they could get in with wins by Virginia Tech, Arizona, LSU, and maybe even Missouri could help
C-USA: It’s Central Florida vs. Tulsa in the championship game with an automatic bid on the line. The winner will probably get the #14 seed in the tournament
MAC: It’s Central Florida vs. Miami (OH) in the championship game with an automatic bid on the line. The winner will probably get the #16 seed in the tournament
Mountain West: BYU has won the conference and the automatic bid. They will have the #13 seed unless UCLA somehow wins the Pac-10.
Pac-10: Here is the craziest situation of them all. If USC beats UCLA, they win the conference title. If UCLA wins and Arizona State wins, Arizona State wins the conference and the bid. If UCLA wins and ASU loses, UCLA wins the conference and the automatic bid. Arizona State has a good chance to make it if Virginia Tech and LSU win their conference title games regardless of what USC does. Unranked UCLA’s only hope is the scenario I mentioned above, and Oregon is fading fast and unlikely to make it, even with a win and a lot of help because Illinois and Clemson are idle.
SEC: They currently have 3 teams in, with 2 of them facing each other in the first round. First, LSU will play Tennessee in the conference title game. LSU would probably have to lose badly to miss the tournament, and this is a must win for the Vols because an at-large spot with a loss is out of the question. Idle Georgia is sitting pretty at #4 and are the highest ranked team in the SEC, even though they aren’t playing in the championship game. Florida is also likely to make the tournament because they are not playing this week either, but they could possibly get squeezed out if Tennessee and ASU or UCLA win their conferences.
Sun Belt: The Sun Belt doesn’t have an official championship game, but they’re having one this weekend when Troy faces Florida Atlantic. The winner of that game is the champ and gets the #15 or #16 seed in the tournament
WAC: Undefeated Hawaii has won the conference title and the automatic bid. Unlike the old system, where a loss this weekend to Washington would cost them a BCS bowl bid, they have been rewarded by winning the conference title and now this weekend’s game only factors into their seeding in the tournament, where they get their shot against the other imperfect teams.
December Madness will be sweeping the nation this weekend, and fans of 25 different colleges are still in the running to see their team put it all on the line in a national championship tournament. A little more exciting than hoping their team gets picked for the Outback Bowl, right?