College football playoff: How a 16-team field would look for this season

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Dec 7, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Florida State Seminoles running back James Wilder Jr. (32) wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (1) and wide receiver Kenny Shaw (81) celebrate with fans after defeating the Duke Blue Devils at Bank of America Stadium. FSU defeated Duke 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The college football postseason disaster known as the Bowl Championship Series will finally come to a close after this upcoming January, and fans will be counting down to a new era of a four-team playoff format. But we all know where this is headed – the eventual formation of a 16-team playoff. How would something like that look after this year?

A four team playoff would likely have gotten Florida State, Auburn, Alabama, and Michigan State their tickets punched to this postseason. Stanford and Baylor would certainly gripe, and voters may have changed their ways if they were voting for more than two teams for a championship race, but this is just an example of all the frustration fans would have and how much the media would revel in it.

So, because a 16-team playoff is extremely possible in college football (we wait until the second week in January to play the title game anyway), let’s give out a formula for how the field would be selected.

  • Each conference winner would be in the tournament (10 automatic qualifiers).
  • Six at-large teams would be selected in order that haven’t already made it in the BCS top 25 rankings.
  • Any independent team that finishes with 9+ wins and is in the BCS top 25 rankings will be an at-large bid (none are this year).
  • A conference can not have more than three total teams in the tournament.

We’re using the BCS top 25 rankings because it’s better than any committee and this is just for fun.

Nov 30, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers defensive lineman Will Clarke (98) sacks Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Grant Rohach (3) during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, Iowa State would still not be a part of the 16-team playoff despite their two-game winning streak at the end of the season. Yes, I’d fight to the death for them to be in, but they probably could have done things differently in nine other games to make their case.

End sarcasm (because you’d be surprised how many people would take the above paragraph seriously).

Conference winners that are in the BCS top 25 rankings will get a higher seed. This includes:

  • Florida State (ACC)
  • Auburn (SEC)
  • Michigan State (B1G)
  • Stanford (Pac-12)
  • Baylor (Big 12)
  • UCF (AAC)
  • Fresno State (Mtn West)

Next up are the at-large bids. This will always include ranked teams, so they will merge with the seeds above in order of their BCS ranking. Remember, only three total teams from a conference can be in. South Carolina would be skipped (I’ll explain why this is fair later, Gamecock fans).

  • Alabama (2nd SEC)
  • Ohio State (2nd B1G)
  • Missouri (3rd SEC)
  • Oregon (2nd Pac-12)
  • Oklahoma (2nd Big 12)
  • Clemson (2nd ACC)

Finally, the conference winners that aren’t in the BCS top 25 would be seeded last. Order has been selected on quality of wins in their schedule.

  • Bowling Green (MAC)
  • Rice (C-USA)
  • Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt)