68-team College Football Playoff?

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IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 16: A detail view of the College Football Playoff logo shown during a press conference on October 16, 2013 in Irving, Texas. Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University professor and former United States Secretary of State, was chosen to serve as one of the 13 members that will select four teams to compete in the first playoff at the end of the 2014 season. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Every March, sports fans unite before what is arguably the most exciting three weeks of the year. Whether you call it March Madness, the Big Dance or just the NCAA tournament, few would argue the excitement that the event provides. Tuesday night marked the unveiling of the first College Football Playoff rankings of 2016. The thought of those rankings begs an interesting question.

What would a 68-team College Football Playoff bracket look like?

Obviously, the premise is a bit far-fetched and there might be some naysayers, but what would a tournament like that might bring to the sport? Could it be done?

To commemorate the first week’s rankings, we will take a crack at seeing what a bracket of this magnitude might look like in the college football world. Assumptions and predictions have been built in for the sake of discussion. Let the debate begin.

BREAKING DOWN THE FIELD

The number one overall seed in the defending National Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide. Following Alabama as number one seeds are Michigan, Clemson and Washington.

There would be 11 automatic bids given to the regular season champions: South Florida (AAC), Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Michigan (Big Ten), Louisiana Tech (Conference USA), Western Michigan (MAC), Boise State (Mountain West), Washington (PAC-12), Alabama (SEC) and Troy (Sun Belt).

The remainder of the selections would be at-large bids. Those 57 teams have been selected by a one-person selection committee based on the end of the season predictions.

THE BRACKET

1 seeds: Alabama, Michigan, Washington, Clemson.
2 seeds: Louisville, Ohio St, Texas A&M, Wisconsin.
3 seeds: Auburn, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma.
4 seeds: Baylor, LSU, Western Michigan, West Virginia.
5 seeds: Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Utah.
6 seeds: North Carolina, Florida State, Colorado, Boise State.
7 seeds: Washington State, Houston, San Diego State, South Florida.
8 seeds: Troy, Tulsa, Appalachian State, Wyoming.
9 seeds: USC, Tennessee, Arkansas, Stanford.
10 seeds: Minnesota, Temple, Toledo, Navy.
11 seeds: Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Georgia Tech.
12 seeds: Western Kentucky, Arizona State, Maryland, Louisiana Tech.
13 seeds: Middle Tennessee, Army, Air Force, Southern Mississippi.
14 seeds: Iowa, TCU, Texas, NC State.
15 seeds: Wake Forest, Ohio, SMU, Cincinnati.
16 seeds: Akron, Central Michigan, South Carolina, Vanderbilt.
Last Four In: Indiana, Central Florida, Syracuse, BYU.

FIRST FOUR

To wet your appetite for the tournament, these four play-in games will be interesting to watch.  Like the first four on the basketball side, everyone knows that Dayton, Ohio is the home for the first four.  In a true go big or go home  mentality all eyes will be on Las Vegas. The first four games will take place at Sam Boyd Stadium in the city that never sleeps.

(12) Arizona State Sun Devils vs (12) Indiana Hoosiers.

(16) Syracuse Orange vs (16) South Carolina Gamecocks.

(16) SMU Mustangs vs (16) Akron Zips.

(12) Central Florida Knights vs (12) Western Kentucky Hiltoppers.

Picks: Arizona State, South Carolina, SMU, Central Florida.

SO, WHEN AND WHERE DO WE PLAY?

There has been myriads of reasons why a playoff of this magnitude would not work. Presidents, Administrators and Coaches alike have said this would make the season too long, it would water down the regular season as well as be impossible to incorporate the bowls. Our logistics and timeline will show how and why this will not be the case.

Inevitably, every year there is one or two games on the schedule that is a bore for college football fans to watch. Whether it be Oklahoma taking on Louisiana Monroe or LSU playing McNeese State  the regular season could be shortened in such a way to make each week more interesting. Last year, Alabama and Clemson each played 15 football games including the National Championship Game. In our tournament format, the championship game will be the 16th game for two teams. With that being said, the amount of exposure and additional revenue this would generate for the conferences will outweigh the extra game.

The biggest challenge with an undertaking such as this is to identify the venue that these contests will be played at. Looking at other collegiate sports, there is different formats those organizations use. In baseball and softball, home teams host regionals and super regionals. Conversely, basketball utilizes a neutral site with regional POD format. With something as new and as exciting as a 68-team College Football Playoff, our format would be a combination of both.

Looking at the round of 64, all games will be hosted by the highest seeded team in their sub-bracket. The top four teams in each region will have the opportunity to host a first round contest.

FIRST ROUND

SOUTH REGION

Games played at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL

(1) Alabama Crimson Tide vs. (16) South Carolina/(16) Syracuse

(8) Troy Trojans vs. (9) USC Trojans

Games Played at Lane Stadium in Waco, TX

(5) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. (12) Western Kentucky/Central Florida

(4) Baylor Bears vs. (13) Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Games played at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, AL

(6) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (11) Northwestern Wildcats

(3) Auburn Tigers vs. (14) Iowa Hawkeyes

Games played at Papa Johns Stadium in Louisville, KY

(7) Washington State Cougars vs. (10) Minnesota Golden Gophers

(2) Louisville Cardinal vs. (15) Wake Forest Demon Deacons

EAST REGION

Games played at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI

(1) Michigan Wolverines vs. (16) Central Michigan Chippewas

(8) Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. (9) Tennessee Volunteers

Games played at Tiger Field in Baton Rouge, LA

(5) Virginia Tech Hokies vs. (12) Arizona State/Indiana

(4) LSU Tigers vs. (13) Army Black Knights

Games played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL

(6) Florida State Seminoles vs. (11) Kansas State Wildcats

(3) Florida Gators vs. (14) TCU Horned Frogs

Games played at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH

(7) Houston Cougars vs. (10) Toledo Rockets

(2) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (15) Cincinnati Bearcats

MIDWEST REGION

Games played at Frank Howard Field in Clemson, SC

(1) Clemson Tigers vs. (16) Vanderbilt Commodores

(8) Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. (9) Arkansas Razorbacks

Games played at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, PA

(5) Penn State Nittany Lions vs. (12) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

(4) Western Michigan Bronchos vs. (13) Air Force Falcons

Games played at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE

(6) Colorado Buffaloes vs. (11) Pittsburgh Panthers

(3) Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. (14) Texas Longhorns

Games played at Kyle Field in College Station, TX

(7) San Diego St Aztecs vs. (10) Temple Owls

(2) Texas A&M Aggies vs. (15) Ohio Bobcats

WEST REGION

Games played at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA

(1) Washington Huskies vs. (16) Akron/SMU

(8)Wyoming Cowboys vs. (9) Stanford Cardinal

Games played at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV

(5) Utah Utes vs. (12) Maryland Terrapins

(4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (13) Southern Mississippi Eagles

Games played at Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK

(6) Boise St Broncos vs. (11) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

(3) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (14) NC State Wolfpack

Games played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI

(7) South Florida Bulls vs. (10) Navy Midshipmen

(2) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (15) BYU Cougars

ROUND OF 64 SCHEDULE

The normal bidding and television rights would continue. However, here is a look at the opening round match-ups:

Thursday, December 8

11:00 AM (8) Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. (9) Arkansas Razorbacks

12:30 PM (5) Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. (12) Western Kentucky/UCF

2:00 PM (5) Western Michigan Broncos vs. (12) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

3:30 PM (6) Colorado Buffaloes vs. (11) Pittsburgh Panthers

5:00 PM (6) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. (11) Northwestern Wildcats

6:30 PM (8) Troy Trojans vs. (9) USC Trojans

8:00 PM (7) Washington State Cougars vs. (10) Minnesota Golden Gophers

9:30 PM (7) San Diego St Aztecs vs. (10) Temple Owls

Friday, December 9

11:00 AM (8) Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. (9) Tennessee Volunteers

12:30 PM (5) Virginia Tech Hokies vs. (12) Arizona State/Indiana

2:00 PM (6) Florida State Seminoles vs. (11) Kansas State Wildcats

3:30 PM (7) Houston Cougars vs. (10) Toledo Rockets

5:00 PM (7) South Florida Bulls vs. (10) Navy Midshipmen

6:30 PM (5) Utah Utes vs. (12) Maryland Terrapins

8:00 PM (6) Boise St Broncos vs. (11) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

9:30 PM (8)Wyoming Cowboys vs. (9) Stanford Cardinal

Saturday, December 10

11:00 AM (1) Alabama Crimson Tide vs. (16) South Carolina/(16) Syracuse

12:30 PM (4) Baylor Bears vs. (13) Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2:00 PM (3) Auburn Tigers vs. (14) Iowa Hawkeyes

3:30 PM (2) Louisville Cardinal vs. (15) Wake Forest Demon Deacons

5:00 PM (1) Clemson Tigers vs. (16) Vanderbilt Commodores

6:30 PM (4) Penn State Nittany Lions vs. (13) Air Force Falcons

8:00 PM (3) Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. (14) Texas Longhorns

9:30 PM (2) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (15) BYU Cougars

Sunday, December 11

11:00 AM (1) Michigan Wolverines vs. (16) Central Michigan Chippewas

12:30 PM (4) LSU Tigers vs. (13) Army Black Knights

2:00 PM (3) Florida Gators vs. (14) TCU Horned Frogs

3:30 PM (2) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (15) Cincinnati Bearcats

5:00 PM (4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. (13) Southern Mississippi Eagles

6:30 PM (3) Oklahoma Sooners vs. (14) NC State Wolfpack

8:00 PM (2) Texas A&M Aggies vs. (15) Ohio Bobcats

9:30 PM (1) Washington Huskies vs. (16) Akron/SMU

 

BUT, WHAT ABOUT THE BOWL GAMES

There is no way to incorporate natural bowl games into this tournament, is there? Many of the bowl games now make their venues even more lucrative with more at play in these games. There will be 15 bowl games that will be part of a yearly rotation which will host the remaining tournament games.

Round of 32

Citrus Bowl
TaxSlayer Bowl
Music City Bowl
Alamo Bowl
Russell Athletic Bowl
Holiday Bowl
Quick Lane Bowl
St. Petersburg Bowl 

SWEET 16

Sugar Bowl
Rose Bowl
Cotton Bowl
Orange Bowl

ELITE EIGHT

Fiesta Bowl
Outback Bowl

FINAL FOUR AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Peach Bowl

WHAT’S NEXT

Over the next few weeks, there will be more to come on the 2017 College Football Playoff bracket. Breakdowns, Predictions and players to watch from each region will continue through the National Championship game.

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