While there are myriad pre-season top 25 rankings (CBS, SI.com, ESPN to name a few), I will use Phil Steele’s to illustrate what a Super 6 post-season would look like. Imagining that Phil Steele’s ranking is the final poll after championship Saturday, I’ll show you what the 6-team Super 6 playoff would be using my playoff rules, and then choosing the highest seed (and home team) for each first round game, I’ll extrapolate what each of the 16 bowl match-ups would be.
The final poll of the college football regular season looks like this.
1. Alabama (12-1). The 1-loss Tide beat then #5 Georgia in the SEC championship.
2. Oklahoma (12-0). OU beat OKSt on the road still lost top spot to Alabama.
3. Oregon (12-1). Oregon hosted and beat Stanford for the first PAC-12 title. (Steele’s #3 isn’t a Super 6 team)
4. Virginia Tech (12-1). The Hokies beat FSU for the ACC title.
5. Notre Dame (10-2). ND got a bump in the polls after winning at Stanford last week.
6. LSU (1o-2). LSU’s impressive win over Oregon in week 1 keeps them highly ranked still.
7. Texas A&M (10-2). Last week’s win over Texas impressed voters.
8. Georgia (11-2). Richt keeps job even though he can’t win the SEC title.
9. Florida St. (10-3). FSU won 8 straight before dropping the ACC title game.
10. TCU (11-1). Let’s pretend they are already in the Big East to make this more interesting.
11. Nebraska (10-3). The Huskers beat Wisconsin for the Big Ten title
The first four teams in my system are in with teams #1 and #2 getting a bye until the January playoff bowls. Oklahoma automatically advances to the Fiesta Bowl; Alabama’s ticket is punched to the Super 6 semi in the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech and Oregon get home games for the first round of the playoffs.
It so happens that all of the top 4 teams were also conference champions. The other two conference champions–TCU from the Big East at #10 and Nebraska from the Big Ten at #11–don’t deserve a spot in the playoff. However, the rule stipulates that any Super 6 champ in the top 10 gets a spot, unless a top 4, non-champion knocks them out. That’s not the case this year, so TCU is in.
To determine the final entry, the poll is used. Sitting at #5 this year is Notre Dame. Number 6 LSU and number 7 Texas A&M can gripe about this, but if they had won their conferences, they’d be in.
The Super 6 Playoff looks like this.
December 17–5 p.m. – Notre Dame at Virginia Tech
December 17–9 p.m. – TCU at Oregon
And the bowls would look thusly… (click here if you need to remember the bowl affiliations)
|Jan. 16||Super 6 Champ|
|Jan. 4||Fiesta||Glendale, Ariz.||Oklahoma vs. highest ranked playoff winner|
|Jan. 3 or 4||Orange||Miami, Fla.||Loser of ND/VTech playoff vs. LSU|
|Jan. 2 or 3||Sugar||New Orleans, La.||Alabama vs. lowest ranked playoff winner|
|Jan. 2||Rose||Pasadena, Calif.||Nebraska vs. Oregon (if lose playoff) or Stanford|
|Jan. 6||Cotton||Arlington, Tex.||Texas A&M vs. Arkansas|
|Jan. 2||Outback||Tampa, Fla.||Wisconsin vs. South Carolina|
|Jan. 2||Capital One||Orlando, Fla.||Penn State vs. Georgia|
|Jan. 2||Gator||Jacksonville, Fla.||Michigan St. vs. Mississippi St.|
|Dec. 31||Sun||El Paso, Tex.||North Carolina vs. UCLA/Utah|
|Dec. 31||Chick-fil-A||Atlanta, Ga.||Florida St. vs. Florida|
|Dec. 30||Pinstripe||New York, N.Y.||Iowa vs. Pittsburgh/West Virginia|
|Dec. 30||Insight||Tempe, Ariz.||Oklahoma St. vs. Illinois|
|Dec. 29||Alamo||San Antonio, Tex.||TCU/Pittsburgh vs. Utah/Washington|
|Dec. 28||Holiday||San Diego, Calif.||Stanford/UCLA vs. Houston*|
|Dec. 26||Champs Sports||Orlando, Fla.||USF vs. Miami|
|Dec. 24||Hawaii||Honolulu, Hawaii||Arizona St. vs. Texas|
*Team joined the Super 6’s Big 12 Conference
The Super 6 playoff would not only create two tension-filled, high-stakes games. They’d also create interest for a litany of other schools whose bowl match-ups or even berths are at risk. Washington and West Virginia are vying for a post-season game as the lowest seed from their conferences. If Oregon loses, Washington is out. If TCU loses, West Virginia is out. Some schools won’t know whom their opponent is until after the playoffs.
One argument against this system is that fan bases wouldn’t have enough time to prepare to travel. First off, as you see above, 22 of the 32 bowl participants would know as of December 4th (after conference championship game weekend) where they were headed. The other ten schools would have at least 10 days to prepare for a trip, and in all cases, they’d know where 1 of the 2 bowl destinations would be. It’s not as if any school could go to more than a few different bowl locations; in most cases, it’d just be a choice of two.
One accommodation I made though was for the bowls around Christmas Day–the earliest bowls. While Stanford theoretically could be the higher PAC-12 choice for the Hawaii Bowl (and TCU the higher Big East choice for the Champs Sports Bowl), bowl organizers would choose the “sure bet” so that travel plans could begin and the stadium would be filled with as many supporters as possible. They’d pass on a chance at Stanford for the ability to give Arizona State fans an extra two weeks to prepare. I suppose other bowls down the line could make the same choice if they wanted: take a lower-ranked team with a worse record simply to allow travel plans to begin.
I’ll update this page once the final BCS poll is created in early December using those result as well.