The prayers of college football fans everywhere have now been answered. Beginning in 2014, an annual four-team playoff will determine college football’s national champion. The playoff is a drastic improvement over the controversial BCS system, but what if it had been agreed upon a decade earlier? THE SPORTS DISPENCER analyzes what could have been in this week’s edition of What If.
Using the final AP Poll of the regular season, we have predicted the playoff pictures of the past ten years:
2002 Semifinals: 1 Miami vs 4 Georgia 2 Ohio St. vs 3 Iowa
Final: 1 Miami vs 2 Ohio St.
Outcome: The playoff produces a similar result, but controversy is raised over the exclusion of the Pac-10 champion USC Trojans.
2003 Semifinals: 1 Oklahoma vs 4 Michigan 2 USC vs 3 LSU
Final: 1 Oklahoma vs 2 USC Trojans
Outcome: After a marquee semifinal matchup, USC’s potent offense emerges victorious, eliminating 2003’s split national title.
2004 Semifinals: 1 USC vs 4 California 2 Oklahoma vs 3 Auburn
Final: 1 USC vs 3 Auburn
Outcome: The undefeated Auburn Tigers earn the postseason opportunity they rightfully deserved, but controversy is raised over the exclusion of undefeated Utah.
2005 Semifinals: 1 USC vs 4 Ohio St. 2 Texas vs 3 Penn St.
Final: 1 USC vs 2 Texas
Outcome: Fans are rewarded as the playoff still produces the decade’s most memorable title game.
2006 Semifinals: 1 Ohio St. vs 4 LSU 2 Florids vs 3 Michigan
Final: 1 Ohio St. vs 2 Florida
Outcome: The Chris Leak-led Gators dominate the Buckeyes to give Urban Meyer his first national title.
2007 Semifinals: 1 Ohio St. vs 4 Georgia 2 LSU vs 3 Oklahoma
Final: 1 Ohio St. vs 2 LSU
Outcome: With only one one-loss team, the committee faces difficult decisions to round out the top four, but LSU ultimately emerges victorious.
2008 Semifinals: 1 Oklahoma vs 4 Alabama 2 Florida vs 3 Texas
Final: 1 Oklahoma vs 2 Florida
Outcome: Tebow leads Florida over Oklahoma for his second national title, but undefeated Utah is snubbed yet again.
2009 Semifinals: 1 Alabama vs 4 Cincinnati 2 Texas vs 3 TCU
Final: 1 Alabama vs 2 Texas
Outcome: Alabama emerges victorious, and TCU becomes the first mid-major to qualify, but the committee struggles to decide between five undefeated squads and one-loss Florida.
2010 Semifinals: 1 Auburn vs 4 Wisconsin 2 Oregon vs 3 TCU
Final: 1 Auburn vs 3 TCU
Outcome: With one year’s experience behind them, TCU makes a run to the finals before falling to Cam Newton’s Auburn Tigers.
2011 Semifinals: 1 Alabama vs 4 Oregon 2 LSU vs 3 Oklahoma St.
Final: 1 Alabama vs 2 LSU
Outcome: In their third encounter this season, Alabama knocks off LSU to become the SEC’s sixth straight national champ.
* Photos Courtesy of The Smoking Section, CBS Sports, Zimbio, Arizona Foothills Magazine
What do you think? Anything we missed? Any other What If Wednesday suggestions? Comment below and let the discussion begin.