2013 NCAA Playoff Proposal
Starting next year, the NCAA will adopt what is essentially a four-team playoff in college football's
FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division 1-A). I still believe that my playoff proposal, an
eight-team tournament with automatic qualifiers, is a better system but at least the NCAA is moving in
the right direction. Anyway, here's the 2013 version of my college footbal playoffs.
- 8-team tournament
- The quarterfinal games will be comprised of the four current BCS Bowls - Sugar, Rose, Orange
- The champions from the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12 will be given automatic bids to the tournament.
For the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Pac 12, this will be the winner of their conference's championship game.
- The highest ranked champion (based on the BCS) among the American Athletic (Central Florida), Conference USA (Rice),
Mid-American (Bowling Green) and the Mountain West (Fresno State) will be guaranteed a spot in the tournament.
Central Florida is the highest ranked among those champions.
- The two remaining spots in the tournament will be filled on an at-large basis by an impartial
selection committee. In order to qualify for an at-large spot, a team must be in the top 12 in the
BCS. All Division 1-A (aka. FBS) teams will be eligible for the at-large spots.
- No conference can have more than two teams in the tournament. Put another way, the conferences
that received automatic bids cannot take both at-large spots.
- The committee will then seed the teams from 1 to 8. Seeds will then be swapped, if necessary,
to avoid first round matchups between teams from the same conference. For example, if the committee
originally seeded Alabama 1st and Florida 8th (1 plays 8 in the first round), then Florida would be moved
to the 7th seed. The committee will also make an effort to avoid potential second round matchups between
- In order to preserve some of the bowl tradition, the committee will guarantee that the highest
ranked team among the Pac 12 and Big 10 champions will go to the Rose Bowl. The committee will
also make an effort to send the SEC Champion to the Sugar Bowl and to make the Rose Bowl a Pac 12 vs
Big 10 matchup. This will not always be possible.
- In the second round, the winner of the 1 vs 8 game will play the winner of the 4 vs 5 game and
the winner of 2 vs 7 will play the winner of 3 vs 6.
- Like the Superbowl, the sites of the semifinal and championship games will rotate. The two semifinal games
will not be played in the same city.
- All other bowls will be played as usual.
Here's how the 2013-14 playoffs would shake out if I were the committee:
Florida State (ACC), Baylor (Big 12), Michigan State (Big Ten), Stanford (Pac 12), Auburn (SEC) and Central Florida
(best BCS ranking among other conferences).
At Large Teams
That leaves two spots for at-large teams. Clearly Alabama is one of those two teams. Their only loss came on
a last second miracle play by one-loss Auburn. Ohio State finished undefeated in the regular season so they get
the easy nod for the second at-large spot over a long list of two loss teams.
The only undefeated team, Florida State, is the obvious #1 seed. Auburn, the champion of the nation's top
conference is #2. You can make an argument for both Alabama and Michigan State for the #3 spot. I'm putting
the Spartans at #3 for two reasons: (1) They won their conference title and (2) This keeps conference foes
Alabama and Auburn on opposite sides of the bracket which the Committee should do if a reasonable argument can
be made that the teams are equally qualified. Stanford, Baylor and Ohio State could really be put in any order
from 5 through 7. To set up a Big Ten-Pac 12 Rose Bowl, I will put Stanford in the #6 spot. I want Ohio State
on the opposite side of the bracket from #3 Michigan State so they will be #7. That leaves Baylor at #5.
Central Florida is the obvious 8 seed.
2013 NCAA Playoff Proposal Brackets
Orange Bowl - #1 Florida State (ACC) vs #8 Central Florida (American)
Sugar Bowl - #2 Auburn (SEC) vs #7 Ohio State (at-large)
Rose Bowl - #3 Michigan State (Big Ten) vs #6 Stanford (Pac 12)
Fiesta Bowl - #4 Alabama (at-large) vs #5 Baylor (Big 12)
SEMI-FINALS - Saturday, January 18th (day prior to AFC and NFC Championships)
Game One - 3:30 pm
Game Two - 8:00 pm
CHAMPIONSHIP - Saturday Jan 25th (Superbowl off week)
Championship Game - 8:00 pm
(Note: the championship could also be played on Monday the 27th).
2012 Playoff Proposal
2011 Playoff Proposal
2010 Playoff Proposal
2009 Playoff Proposal
2008 Playoff Proposal
2007 Playoff Proposal
2006 Playoff Proposal
2005 Playoff Proposal
2004 Playoff Proposal
2003 Playoff Proposal
2002 Playoff Proposal
2001 Playoff Proposal
2000 Playoff Proposal