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The 2011 NCAA playoffs of wishful thinking

Since the BCS robbed us of an entertaining postseason replete with drama and fairness and Gus Johnson moments, we plucky Internetters have had to come up with our own version of what the postseason should look like. Let's have a playoff! This bowl-off isn't working for anyone.

After the jump, I lay out my playoff proposal, which is most people's playoff proposal. Let your dreams take it from there. I don't mean to give anything away, but how about this for a first round Boise State playoff matchup:

Bsulogosmall_medium Clemsonlogosmall_medium Boise State vs. Clemson

The playoff system

As an occasional reader of books, in particular the Death to the BCS book written by Dan Wetzel and friends, I feel pretty good saying that this playoff plan would be the bee's knees: 16 teams, 11 conference champions, 5 at-large teams as determined by the standings, and seeds from the AP poll.

Conference champions

There are 11 conferences in Division I-A football, and as long as we're going to be having a Division I-A championship, I think all conference should be included. Even the WAC one.

The conference winners this season are LSU (SEC), Oregon (Pac 12), Wisconsin (Big 10), Oklahoma State (Big 12), West Virginia (Big East), Clemson (ACC), TCU (Mountain West), Louisiana Tech (WAC), Southern Miss (Conference USA), Arkansas State (Sun Belt), and Northern Illinois (MAC).

Lsulogosmall_medium Oregonlogosmall_medium Wisconsinlogosmall_medium Oklahomastatelogosmall_medium

Westvirginialogosmall_medium Clemsonlogosmall_medium Tculogosmall_medium

Latechlogosmall_medium Southernmisslogosmall_medium Arkansasstatelogosmall_medium Northernillinoislogosmall_medium

At-large teams

After the 11 conference champions are determined, that leaves five at-large spots. In the OBNUG version of the playoff system, these spots will go to the five highest ranked non-champions with rankings determined by the AP poll.

This year, that would mean these teams are in: Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas, Boise State, and South Carolina. Just missing the cut was Kansas State, and missing the cut due to probation was USC. Missing the cut due to being 2-10 was the University of Idaho.

Alabamalogosmall_medium Stanfordlogosmall_medium Arkansaslogosmall_medium

Bsulogosmall_medium Southcarolinalogosmall_medium

The bracket


(click to make bigger and readable)

As mentioned in the rules above, the seeds for the playoff bracket are from the Associated Press Top 25, which is the fairest poll I know. In the case that multiple teams are not in the Top 25, I obtain seeds from the "also receiving votes" category. In the case of a tie, I will have Beano Cook and Mark May conduct a pie-eating contest with team-appropriate pie flavors.

The left side of the bracket features a compelling first-round matchup between Wisconsin and South Carolina and a rather interesting game between Oregon and Southern Miss. The second round could have a Stanford-Oregon rematch and could pit LSU against pretty much the only SEC school of note that it didn't beat this year.


Bracket side right (soon to be sponsored by Dr. Pepper or Barbasol, I would imagine) features our very own Boise State Broncos against the Clemson Tigers. Win that game, and BSU would likely have a date with Alabama, which is pretty much what the state of Idaho wanted from the get go.


So there you have it. It's a playoff plan for a playoff-allergic sport, and it would be absolutely fascinating to watch. I would not leave the house for a month, which, when added to the three consecutive months that I don't leave the house during the regular season, would make four straight homebound months - a new record for me. Walking pneumonia will totally get erased from my record book.

Your turn

What do you think of this playoff proposal? Do you think this type of playoff could work? What matchups would you be most interested in seeing? Anyone get left out who can make a strong case? Share your thoughts in the comments.