Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The bowl is half empty - part 6
Still, only four teams were involved and that's not enough. After all, if the 4th-seeded team did this well, imagine what the 8th, 12th or 16th-seeded team could have done!
So, as I have done for the past four years, I'd like to imagine a world in which we had been treated to a month of playoff-level excitement. A world where we had gotten to see 16 of the season's top-ranked college football teams battle for the ultimate, indisputable title.
Here is what it might have looked like. I have bracketed and seeded the teams according to their final regular-season rankings. I also used the rule of no more than one team per conference in any given bracket.
Fiesta Bowl Bracket
1st seed Oregon (12-1, Pac-12) vs. 4th seed Clemson (9-3, ACC) -- winner: Oregon. Clemson looked really good in their bowl game, but Oregon was a beast.
2nd seed Mississippi State (10-2, SEC) vs. 3rd seed Kansas State (9-3, Big 12) -- winner: Kansas State. Both of these teams lost their bowls, but Kansas State looked more impressive in their loss.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon over Kansas State.
Cotton Bowl Bracket
1st seed Ohio State (12-1, Big Ten) vs. 4th seed Georgia (9-3, SEC) -- winner: Ohio State. Again, both teams won their bowls, but you have to give this one to the impressive Buckeyes.
2nd seed Baylor (11-1, Big 12) vs. 3rd seed Arizona (10-3, Pac-12) -- winner: Baylor. Both teams lost their bowls, but Baylor looked impressive in its losing effort against Michigan State.
Cotton Bowl: Ohio State over Baylor.
Peach Bowl Bracket
1st seed Alabama (12-1, SEC) vs. 4th seed Arizona State (9-3, Pac-12) -- winner: Alabama. Although Alabama lost its bowl and Arizona State won, you have to factor in the level of the competition. 'Bama played good enough to win this game.
2nd seed Michigan State (10-2, Big Ten) vs. 3rd seed Georgia Tech (10-3, ACC) -- winner: Michigan State. Here again, we have two teams that had excellent bowl game efforts, but I have to believe the victory would go to the Spartans, who showed real heart on New Year's Day.
Peach Bowl: Michigan State over Alabama. New Year's Day went to the Big Ten this year, and so does this game.
Orange Bowl Bracket
1st seed Florida State (13-0, ACC) vs. 4th seed UCLA (9-3, Pac-12) -- winner: UCLA. Florida State imploded, so they go home.
2nd seed TCU (11-1, Big 12) vs. 3rd seed Mississippi (9-3, SEC) -- winner: TCU. (Note that this was the actual match-up in this year's Peach Bowl.)
Orange Bowl: TCU over UCLA.
Sugar Bowl Semifinal
Ohio State over TCU
Rose Bowl Semifinal
Oregon over Michigan State
Ohio State over Oregon
BONUS: The "N.I.T." of College Football
As I did the past two years, I have also set up a second-tier 16-team tournament. I've included all of the conferences champions without a spot in the main tournament (American Athletic, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt), as well as the next-best available teams according to the polls.
1st seed Auburn (8-4, SEC) vs. 4th seed Memphis (9-3, AA) -- winner: Auburn
2nd seed Louisville (9-3, ACC) vs. 3rd seed Marshall (12-1, C-USA) -- winner: Marshall
Music City Bowl: Auburn over Marshall
1st seed Missouri (10-3, SEC) vs. 4th seed Georgia Southern (9-3, Sun Belt) -- winner: Missouri
2nd seed USC (8-4, Pac-12 vs. 3rd seed Minnesota (8-4, Big Ten) -- winner: USC
Gator Bowl: Missouri over USC
1st seed Wisconsin (10-3, Big Ten) vs. 4th seed Northern Illinois (11-2, MAC) -- winner: Wisconsin
2nd seed LSU (8-4, SEC) vs. 3rd seed Oklahoma (8-4, Big 12) -- winner: LSU
Alamo Bowl: Wisconsin over LSU
1st seed Boise State (11-2, MW) vs. 4th seed Duke (9-3, ACC) -- winner: Boise State
2nd seed Utah (8-4, Pac-12) vs. 3rd seed Nebraska (9-3, Big Ten) -- winner: Utah
Holiday Bowl: Boise State over Utah
OUTBACK BOWL SEMIFINAL
Wisconsin over Auburn
CACTUS BOWL SEMIFINAL
Boise State over Missouri
NATIONAL INVITATIONAL CITRUS BOWL
Boise State over Wisconsin