A couple different fantasy CFB playoff scenarios

Submitted by oriental andrew on November 14th, 2018 at 6:26 PM

Reading a couple of threads got me thinking about what some of the playoff scenarios would look like if we expanded to 6 and 8 team playoffs, as of today's CFP rankings. So I made up a few. What looks the most fun/interesting? Which would be best for Michigan's odds? Which suck?

Assumptions: Top team from each conference is considered champion. Top teams otherwise (including nd) are considered top wildcards. 

Baseline: Current system of top 4 teams

#1 Bama vs #4 Michigan

#2 Clemson vs #3 notre dame

Scenario 1: 6 team playoff with Top 6 teams

Round 1

#1 Bama and #2 Clemson get byes

#3 notre dame vs. #6 Oklahoma

#4 Michigan vs #5 Georgia

Round 2

#1 Bama vs winner of UM/UGA

#2 Clemson vs winner of nd/OU

Scenario 2: 6 team playoff of P5 conference champs + wildcard)

Round 1

#1 Bama (SEC) and #2 Clemson (ACC) get byes

#3 notre dame (wildcard) vs. #8 Washington State (Pac12)

#4 Michigan (B10) vs. #6 Oklahoma (B12)

Round 2

#1 Bama vs winner of UM/OU

#2 Clemson vs winner of nd/wsu

Scenario 3: 6 team playoff with P5 champs + top G5 (this manages to leave out nd)

Round 1

#1 Bama and #2 Clemson get byes

#4 Michigan vs. #11 UCF

#6 Oklahoma vs #8 Washington State

Round 2

#1 Bama vs winner of OU/WSU

#2 Clemson vs. winner of UM/UCF

Scenario 4: 8 team playoff with top 8 teams

Round 1

#1 Bama vs #8 Wazzu

#2 Clemson vs #7 LSU

#3 notre dame vs #6 Oklahoma

#4 Michigan vs #5 Georgia

Round 2

Winner of Bama/WSU vs winner of UM/UGA

Winner of Clem/LSU vs Winner of nd/OU

Scenario 5: 8 team playoff with P5 champs + top G5 + 2 wildcards

Round 1

#1 Bama vs #11 UCF

#2 Clemson vs #8 Wazzu

#3 notre dame vs #6 Oklahoma

#4 Michigan vs #5 Georgia

Round 2

Winner of Bama/UCF vs Winner of UM/UGA

Winner of Clem/WSU vs winner of nd/OU


So this was just for fun (or out of boredom and jetlag). UGA seems like a tough round 1 matchup (3 of 5 scenarios). 



November 14th, 2018 at 6:30 PM ^

Fun to read thru & dream a bit but right now I just want to get past Indiana and then OSU. If we do, the rest will fall into place. Go Blue!


November 14th, 2018 at 6:31 PM ^

Scenario 5 I think is the most sustainable for College Football. Yes, every now and then you’ll have a 8-5 conference champion (Northwestern or Pitt this year as potential examples). But if you pull the data from the last few years, this produces the best results with little controversy.


November 14th, 2018 at 6:51 PM ^

I agree. It's fair, it gets the best teams in, it gives a token to a G5 team. There will still be controversy, but it provides a backdoor way to emphasize the regular season by making the conference title more important. 

The downside is that you'll get scenarios where vital rivalry games are literally meaningless. Bama-Auburn this year; UM-OSU would have been meaningless in this scenario if MSU had beaten OSU last Saturday. 

But there are always expenses like that. 


November 14th, 2018 at 6:38 PM ^

why do people keep wanting to give the top 2 seeds in the 6 team playoff bye weeks to rest, heal injuries, and prepare?  seems like a major advantage to the 2 teams that need the advantage the least. 

if the playoff gets expanded it will need to go to 8 teams ideally ignoring conference champions for the top 8 teams based on AP, Coaches, and the top 3 computer models.  similar to the old BCS system using better methodology. 

you could go conference champs plus 3 at large bids but i think you would then get a seriously weak P5 champion in over better teams.  It also entrenches the bigger conferences into the playoff over the group of 5 teams.  This seems unfair to me unless you are going to separate out the Power 5 schools and the group of 5 schools creating upper tier and lower tier D1 champions.


November 14th, 2018 at 9:29 PM ^

I despise conference championship games, but this is the correct take, and it's also why 8 is too few spots.  Each conference should get to advance a champion.  You never know what can happen (HT UMBC!).  The smallest workable playoff is 16, and my preference is for 24.

24 / 130 teams into the playoff, or 18.5%, is similar to 68/353, or 19.3%.


November 14th, 2018 at 6:53 PM ^

I liked the possible scenarios . I would love to see Bama Vs Wazzu and Bama  vs UCF the most. I hated that Michigan would have to play Bama in every scenario if they got past the first round . 


November 14th, 2018 at 6:54 PM ^

I like the idea of an 8 team playoff-- we can eliminate one of the non-conference games if we're concerned about student athletes playing too many games.  We could have round one between Christmas and New Year to keep it from dragging out too much into the new year.

Cali Wolverine

November 14th, 2018 at 7:02 PM ^

My Dream playoff scenario...

Round 1 - Michigan v Indiana ...if we win...

Round 2 - Michigan v Ohio State ...if we win...

Round 3 - Michigan v Northwestern ...if we win...

Round 4/5 - A birth in the CFP and anything is possible!!!


November 14th, 2018 at 7:03 PM ^

I’m partial to a six team playoff power five conference champions and the highest ranked out of the independents and G5 teams for one spot.  1 and 2 get a bye, still makes non conference games somewhat important as to impress the committee for a bye week and ranking.  


November 14th, 2018 at 7:20 PM ^

I like scenario 5 with the provision that no conference can have more than two teams in.  No Bye weeks and truth be told, only 8 teams have an extra game to play but they're playing for something meaningful.   Conference championships mean something and rankings mean something.  I would also add that all conferences have to play 9 conference games.

Charles Wood's son

November 14th, 2018 at 7:23 PM ^

The problem with expanding the playoffs is that more spots creates more controversy. There are many more teams that can argue that they are in the top 8 than in the top 4. It’s a never ending cycle of expansion because the people that are trying to solve the problem just end up creating more problems.


November 14th, 2018 at 7:32 PM ^

I don't disagree but if your goal is to get the top 4 teams in the playoffs you have a greater chance of achieving that goal.  More often than not, #5 (and maybe #6) will always try to argue that they should be among the top 4.  It's highly unlikely that in trying to end the season with the top 4 teams that #9 will have an viable argument that they should have been there.  I agree that they can argue that they were number 8 or 7 but I don't think it's as egregious.  

Bottom line is that this thing is broken right now and expanding to 8 might work and expanding any further just isn't doable.

oriental andrew

November 15th, 2018 at 3:59 AM ^

Of course they don't really matter. The vast majority of the things we discuss on this board don't really matter, if you think about it. But, like I said, it's just for fun, I was bored/jetlagged, and this (wasting, er, spending time on mgoblog) is (apparently) a hobby of mine. 

But I wasn't so bored that I was going to go through the effort of projecting outcomes for the remaining games and reranking all the teams based on my hypotheticals. That probably would be even more meaningless than just taking the current rankings (and then redoing this the next 3 weeks - but probably not). 


November 14th, 2018 at 8:21 PM ^

I have a better idea. Go back to the pre-BCS system of everybody goes to their respective conferences' bowl games, and everybody gets to argue about who had the best team. I detest the playoffs.


November 14th, 2018 at 9:46 PM ^

I vote for scenario 5. However, wouldn’t it be great to have the traditional bowl tie-ins play first, then a 4 team playoff with top G5 and a wild card?


November 14th, 2018 at 10:41 PM ^

I used to like an 8 team playoff with all P5 champs as auto invites.  But with independents and with some G5 teams at least pretending to claim they belong, I am thinking more along the lines of the top 8 teams go.  Chances are, it will include all power 5 champions anyway.  And if a P5 champ can't get into the top 8, then they really don't belong.  The current system encourages teams to beef up their schedule.  But if all P5 champs are automatically in, why would a team in a weaker conference (cough PAC 12 cough) do so?  I could live with either.  I don't like any of the 6 temp playoffs.  I'd rather reserve spots for the P5 champs than that.


November 15th, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

Interesting info.  Thanks for sharing! I am probably in the minority on this, but I would still prefer to have an 8-Team playoff and give the first rounds home field advantage to the higher seed.  I don't have an opinion one way or another how they come up with the top 8 teams.  I realize the main argument here is cold weather for northern team, but the NFL does just fine when their are home games in Green Bay and Chicago.  After the first round, the playoff games are played out how the current system does with 4 teams and they play at the bowl sponsored stadiums.


November 15th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

I dont know about you guys but I want the revenge tour to go through Notre Dame. We lost week 1 because of a slow start and not properly preparing for a running QB who could throw. Second half I thought we dominated but it was too late. I need Clemson to lose so we get N.D. first.