Let’s take a look at what I can blog about:
- The upcoming NFL draft. Well, I will do at least four mock drafts and want to spread them out. I mean it’s a little less than two months away from the draft and it’s not like Josh Allen will fall from surefire first rounder to out of the draft. Unless he does something really bad. And even then…
- Spring games. Not a chance. I think these are dumb anyway.
- Off-season NFL news. Why? I don’t care which player said something smart, which one said something dumb, which one beat his wife, which one had his wife beat him…I don’t care.
- News from the CFL, CIS (U Sports), arena football, etc. Also, not a chance.
So I have to come up with something so I don’t let this blog go dormant or hibernate like a grizzly bear. So I figured it’s time for another What-If post. You know, the ones where I don’t do too much research, yet still come to a conclusion that seems reasonably respectable so let’s begin.
This time around I will be doing a trio of what-if scenarios about the two graphics above: the College Football Playoff and the New Year’s Six. I will look into what would have happened if this setup had been around for three of the strangest seasons of college football in my lifetime: 1984, 1990 and 2007. I will have to take some liberties with some of the tie-ins but will use the same rotation that is in use now for the bowl games (i.e. 2014 had Rose and Sugar as semis so 30 years previous to it would have been the same because of the 3-year rotations).
This is the year that BYU (yes, THAT BYU) was crowned national champion. The only undefeated and untied team left in the nation won it by default. I was only 6 at the time so knew none of this but I can guarantee if this had happened even ten years later, the outcry would have been huge…and this is pre-internet by quite a few years. The Cougs had a somewhat easy schedule that year, looked dominant throughout most of the season, but then struggled and just got by a not-so-good Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl to clinch the title. Yep…the Holiday Bowl.
So if the CFP and NY6 existed back then, this is what we would have seen (and of course I will use AP Poll rankings since even the BCS was a decade-and-a-half away at this point):
Rose Bowl (Semi-Final #1): #1 Brigham Young (12-0) vs. #4 Washington (10-1)
Sugar Bowl (Semi-Final #2): #2 Oklahoma (9-1-1) vs. #3 Florida (9-1-1)
Orange Bowl (Big 8 champ vs. at-large): #5 Nebraska (9-2) vs. #6 Ohio State (9-2) – Nebraska in here because Oklahoma in CFP
Fiesta Bowl (at-large vs. at-large): #11 LSU (8-2-1) vs. #12 Maryland (8-3)
Cotton Bowl: (SWC champ vs. at-large): #10 SMU (9-2) vs. #9 Oklahoma State (9-2)
Peach Bowl (at-large vs. at-large): #7 South Carolina (10-1) vs. #8 Boston College (9-2)
As you can see the Big Eight was pretty stacked at the top (3 teams in the top 9). This is also pre-death penalty SMU we are talking about so they had the Pony Express in full force here. Finally, I don’t know how I could include a “Group of Five” representative since they wouldn’t come close to being in the Top 25. I guess if you want to include a mid-major that works but in this case that would be BYU. Problem solved!
There is no rating system I can find that goes back that far (Sagarin ratings started in 2000 from what I can see) but I can take a good guess is to what probably would have happened in that first semi-final. I have a feeling we get a Washington-Oklahoma championship with this setup. Some interesting games also in the NY6. South Carolina-Boston College would be one of two programs having program-defining years. Either way, we wouldn’t have a BYU championship and chances are BYU would be in the Mountain West right now instead of thinking they are the Notre Dame of the west or something like that.
OK 1984 was a pretty easy fix. 1990 was a different story altogether though. It ended up with Colorado and Georgia Tech splitting the national championship. This despite the fact Colorado won the Fifth Down Game over Missouri, five different teams had been in the #1 spot by Thanksgiving and one of those was Virginia of all teams. And Georgia Tech was never #1 in the AP Poll at any time of the season even though they were the only unbeaten team in the land (no team was unbeaten AND untied). They were the Coaches Poll pick to win the title by only three first place votes over Colorado where, again, they were never #1 (until that final poll). Phew! OK let’s get to how the games would have looked.
Rose Bowl (Semi-Final #1): #1 Colorado (10-1-1) vs. #4 Miami (9-2)
Sugar Bowl (Semi-Final #2): #2 Georgia Tech (10-0-1) vs. #3 Texas (10-1)
Orange Bowl (Big 8 champ vs. at-large): #20 Oklahoma (8-3) vs. #6 Florida State (9-2)
Fiesta Bowl (at-large vs. at-large): #5 Notre Dame (9-2) vs. #8 Washington (9-2)
Cotton Bowl (SWC champ vs. at-large): #9 Houston (10-1) vs. #12 Michigan (8-3)
Peach Bowl (at-large vs. at-large): #7 Penn State (9-2) vs. #10 Tennessee (8-2-2)
Yikes. You have a team that lost 2 and tied 2 in a New Year’s Six bowl. Yes this was a year where everyone seemed to beat up on everyone else. It was basically survival of the fittest at this point. To be honest, I could see Texas and Miami pulling off the wins here and playing for the national championship. So in this scenario, we would have seen, possibly, the first two-loss champion (years before LSU pulled it off). I think any year going forward having a 2-loss team in the CFP is a recipe for disaster (although it may keep the 8-team playoff people at bay). Again, the whole G-5 representative thing doesn’t work here considering there were still so many independents at this time.
Alright this is the year where seemingly no team wanted to win the national championship. Like it was kryptonite. LSU won with two losses. Kansas was the only BCS team with less than two losses at all. Kansas. And yes, seven #2 ranked teams lost that season. So absurd yet so exciting! So it wasn’t long ago that it was strange times in college football. Anyway, let’s see how this shitshow would have looked (after the Grey Goose company ran out of vodka to give The Committee members):
Peach Bowl (Semi-Final #1): #1 Ohio State (11-1) vs. #4 Oklahoma (11-2)
Fiesta Bowl (Semi-Final #2): #2 LSU (11-2) vs. #3 Virginia Tech (11-2)
Rose Bowl (Pac-10 champ vs. Big Ten champ): #7 USC (10-2) vs. #13 Illinois (9-3) – Illinois in here because Ohio State in CFP
Sugar Bowl (Big XII champ vs. SEC champ): #6 Missouri (11-2) vs. #5 Georgia (10-2) – Missouri & Georgia in here because Oklahoma & LSU in CFP
Orange Bowl (ACC champ vs. at-large): #14 Boston College (10-3) vs. #10 Hawaii (12-0)
Cotton Bowl (at-large vs. at-large): #9 West Virginia (10-2) vs. #8 Kansas (11-1)
What a gongshow. At least we can put in the G-5 representative since the BCS made sure of that as well. This feels a lot like 1984 at least in terms of how it played out here. One undefeated team only. At least this time they were ranked much lower than 23 years previous.
Anyway, when you have teams like Illinois, Missouri, Boston College and Kansas in prestigious bowls you know something CRAZY has happened. To have one or two fine. Any team can have a program-defining year. But to have four (or even five if you include Hawaii)? That’s nuts. At least now we have ratings that could tell us who would win these games (using a pretty good rating system). So here are your “winners”!
Orange: Boston College
Cotton: West Virginia
LSU is actually the highest rated team according to those ratings so would still end up champion. With two losses. Second best team overall? Kansas. My god.
Alright well that was, uh, interesting I guess. I wonder if someone has gone back and done a bunch of these recreations of the CFP in different years. Probably not since just tailoring it to specific years seemed like a bit of a nightmare. Poll n’ Bowl along with at least two dozen independent teams every year doesn’t make for easy bowl tie-ins.
I will wait for the Kreepy Kombine to finish up before doing my next mock draft. Not that I am going to watch it. I will just read up on any major changes. The combine is weird and watching it makes me feel weird. Enjoy the rest of your week and the weekend (unless the weather sucks).