As things stand now, the college football playoff picture isn’t that complicated. Alabama as SEC champions, Clemson as ACC champions, Washington as Pac-12 champions and either Ohio State or Michigan winning the Big Ten make it an easy Final Four.
As we mentioned yesterday, other scenarios are obviously possible. Penn State or Wisconsin winning the Big Ten. Washington failing at the finish line. Clemson getting upset at the ACC title game or even against South Carolina. Oklahoma are suddenly in the picture. Florida might end up winning the SEC. Obviously, one of those things can happen. But everything at once? There’s a possibility ‘team chaos’ pays college football teams another visit in the final weeks of 2016, which would make things a lot more complicated for the committee, who’d then wish we were back in the days of computers calling the shots.
Credit for this idea goes to Richard_Bolitho. I hope it actually happens
So what would be the doomsday scenario for the voters?
We begin with the Pac-12, where Washington lose to Washington State and finish 10-2. Stanford beat Rice to finish 9-3, Washington State goes on to win the Pac-12 after beating USC in the title game to finish 10-3, and Utah beat Colorado so both teams finish 9-3.
SEC: Texas A&M beat LSU to finish 9-3, Tennessee beat Vandy to finish 9-3, Auburn win in the Iron Bowl to finish 9-3, Alabama lose also to Florida and finish 10-2, while Florida beat Florida State as well to win the SEC and finish 10-2.
On to the ACC: Louisville beat Kentucky to finish 10-2, Clemson lose to South Carolina and Virginia Tech in the ACC title game to finish 10-3, while the Hokies beat Virginia before the title game, finishing as ACC champs and 10-3.
Big Ten: Nebraska beat Iowa and Penn State to finish 11-2 and as Big 10 champions, Ohio State beat Michigan to finish 11-1 but without a slot in the Big Ten title game while Michigan finish 10-2, Penn State finish 10-3 after winning against MSU but losing to Nebraska, Wisconsin lose to Minnesota and finish 9-3.
Big 12: West Virginia beat Iowa State and are 9-3, Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma to win the Big 12; Cowboys are 10-2, Sooners are 9-3.
In the G5 conferences, Western Michigan win out to finish 13-0, Boise State get outside help while wining out to finish 12-1 and WMC champions, Houston beat Memphis to finish 10-2, USF beat UCF to finish 10-2, Navy beat Temple, SMU and Army to finish as American champions and 11-2.
If all of that happens (yeah, right), who makes the playoffs? Does the committee ignore the conference champions importance, and simply make it Florida, Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State? That’s great for ratings, but might not be the right thing to do. It could also infuriate enough people to make it an 8-team playoff eventually. Just like Oklahoma State getting shafted in 2011 helped rush in the era of the playoff, which would have worked quite well under the BCS system.
If the scenario above does happen, maybe the right thing to do would be taking conference champions only: Florida, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State and Western Michigan (over Washington State mind you). But the Big Ten and Pac-12 would be pissed to say the least. I think that in this kind of scenario, Ohio State are guaranteed to make it in, and the rest is a real tossup. Maybe the best thing to do to avoid complications is make a 6-team playoff, with five conference champions and one at-large bid. But change comes slowly in college football, even if it makes the sport better.