Round 1

It’s that time again for Round 1 of the NCAA football playoffs, as defined by Jay Heater. We all know, of course, that the only reason the bowl system continues to exist is because a bunch of people’s pockets are being filled with cash. Hopefully, the old boy network will crash and burn soon.

The NCAA Tournament is coming. Maybe not in the next five years, but it is coming. Eventually, television will dictate its existence. Some exec at ESPN is going to say, instead of drawing some small share for the Houston Bowl, we could be televising a first-round NCAA Tournament game. The Final Four would bring in a gadzillion dollars.

The idea that players will be spending too much time out of the classroom is not bunk meant for the public’s consumption. College administrators must think the public is a collective idiot. A playoff system returns most of the players to class much sooner than a bowl system.

So here is Round One of the 32-team tournament. I will follow up each week to completion.

The schedule
Round One Dec. 9
Round of 16 on Dec. 16
Round of 8 on Dec. 23
Round of 4 on Jan. 1
Championship game on Jan. 8

The teams

No. 32 seed Troy (7-5) at No. 1 seed Ohio State (12-0)
No. 22 TCU (10-2) at No. 11 Oklahoma (11-2)
No. 26 Oregon State (9-4) at No. 7 BYU (10-2)
No. 17 Cal (9-3) at No. 16 Auburn (10-2)


No. 29 Maryland (8-4) at No. 4 Louisville (11-1)
No. 21 Texas A&M (9-3) at No. 12 Notre Dame (10-2)
No. 20 West Virginia (10-2) at No. 13 Wake Forest (11-2)
No. 25 Rutgers (10-2) at No. 8 LSU (10-2)


No. 30 Navy (9-3) at No. 3 seed Michigan (11-1)
No. 24 Houston (10-3) at No. 9 Wisconsin (11-1)
No. 19 Nebraska (9-4) at No. 14 Virginia Tech (10-2)
No. 27 Penn State (8-4) No. 6 Boise State (12-0)


No. 28 Hawaii (10-3) at No. 5 USC (10-2)
No. 23 Boston College (9-3) at No. 10 Arkansas (10-3)
No. 18 Tennessee (9-3) at No. 15 Texas (9-3)
No. 31 Central Michigan (9-4) at No. 2 seed Florida (12-1)


  • I think 32 teams is a bit much. How about a first-round bye system where the top 8 get a week off and the field is reduced to 24? Basically your top 25 (minus one) gets into the tournament, and eight teams, including conference champions and BCS-style at-large tems, get one week off.

  • DJGuy

    Jay, this is very interesting. I’m a big fan of playoffs, and it’s good to see someone, namely you, took the trouble to come up with a realistic scenario. But where did the rest of the Cal page go? Here’s the link to your forum:

    No updates as of 6 pm Wednesday. Hope we haven’t lost you. Not at a time like this, with a Bowl game on the horizon!

  • Anonymous

    Why is BYU the 7 seed? Seems a tad high, no?

  • Pete Morris (’89)

    Love it, Jay! I just wish Cal hadn’t been placed in the “bracket of death”. Auburn, OU, AND Ohio State. Yikes!

    As someone who thinks the NCAA hoops tourney never should have expanded beyond 48 teams, I’m also inclined to prefer only a 12- or 16-team football tourney. Not only do you therefore limit the field to teams with at least nine or ten wins, but you could schedule the tourney so that the two finalists were determined by December 15. That would then free up all but the top pair from participating in the bowls.

  • DrBeeper

    A NCAA football playoff tournament sounds fun and all, but:

  • where would the games be played? (neutral sites?)
  • would fans actually be able to attend, or would they be largely corporate events? – travelling across the country in Dec/Jan on a weeks notice is not easy…

    The TV networks might like a playoff, but IMO it would turn into a farce, with only big “TV” teams in the brackets. The “East Coast Bias” would be even more prevalent.

    Why not remove the romance of regional college sports once and for all and create a “super-conference” of 12-16 top teams which play a season amongst themselves for the #1 ranking. Perhaps implementing a soccer-style “promotion/relegation” system.

    (and so dies college football…)

  • jcbear

    32 teams is way too many. By selecting 32 teams for the bracket, teams with 3 or 4 losses can still make the playoffs. That sure does diminish the importance of winning every single game. An eight team playoff system can work just fine and will ensure that only deserving and elite teams make the bracket.