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The What-If College football tourney

Yes, it's that time of year again and the college football world prepares to not crown any sort of champion at all, since they prefer to let computers handle that sort of thing, 'cuz computers would never, say, forget to include a game in the computational formula, thus throwing off the rankings.

So I will put together the tournament brackets for the Division I football dance. As in previous years, 24 teams get in (about 20% of the schools in the Division I-FBS, which is roughly the same percentage as in other sports). I gave automatic bids to the 11 conference champions and picked 13 other schools deemed worthy. We rank the chosen 24 and put them in brackets, moving some teams around to avoid intra-conference games the first two rounds. Eight teams get byes so that the regular season still has "meaning."

Now this year we had a strange wrinkle thanks to Boise State's kicker. With the Broncos' loss to Nevada, and Nevada's earlier loss to Hawai'i, and the Waihine Warriors (or whatever they are) losing to BSU, we have a three-way tie for the WAC title, and the WAC is depressingly unprepared for this. Tiebreaking procedures say that head-to-head results come first (no help here) and then the "Bowl Selection Committee" gets involved. Thanks guys. So we just pretend that the WAC uses the Big XII and Big Ten procedure of giving the title to the top ranked team, which this year is Boise St, even when you fail to factor in the Western Illinois-App. State game.

And so, the brackets. . . . .

West Region

1. Oregon

4. LSU

5. Texas A&M

3. Boise St.

6. Florida International

2. Michigan State

East Region

1. Ohio State

4. Virginia Tech

5. Alabama

3. Utah

6. West Virginia

2. Stanford

Midwest Region

1. TCU

4. Arkansas

5. Florida State

3. Nebraska

6. Central Florida

2. Wisconsin

South Region

1. Auburn

4. Oklahmoma State

5. UConn

3. Nevada

6. Miami

2. Oklahoma

This was quite a year in college football as 20 teams won 10 or more games. Naturally, some of the ten wins teams from lesser conferences stay home while some quality nine-win teams are in. Not too many though, FSU, Texas A&M, 'Bama, and West Virginia (who I snuck in over an equaly qualified South Carolina. In the WAC we had the tri-champs, and while I thought BSU and Nevada deserved bids, Hawai'i was not so lucky. At 10-3 they did have the win over Nevada, but they also had a loss to a bad Colorado team and got absolutely crushed by Boise St.

The Big Ten goes three-deep with their tri-champs. I ranked them OSU-Wisco-MSU based on what they did against common opponants. MSU needed a comeback to beat Purdue, Wisco needed three second half interceptions, OSU needed to get to the stadium on time. Iowa beat MSU, lost by one to Wisconsin, and by three to OSU. Plus THE Ohio State doesn't play "Little Sisters of the Poor" so you have to consider those quality wins over Ohio U, Eastern Michigan, and Marshall. I might have considered the Hawkeyes, but they lost to Minnesota, and you don't get a bid if you lose to the terrible Gophers.

The SEC goes four deep with three 10-win teams. 'Bama is hard to keep out as the national champ. Plus they only lost to Auburn by one and to LSU by three and beat Arkansas. Yes, South Carolina got the best of them, so I did consider the Game Cocks, but they got crushed by Auburn and Arkansas and even lost to Kentucky.

In the final year they'll be relevant, the Big XII had four ten-win teams and a tough Texas A&M. They all get in, but the Sooners are the only ones getting the first round bye, and in fact the Aggies have to travel to LSU in the first round.

From the PAC-howevermany Oregon is the top-overall seed (and worst overall uniform) and Stanford is a clear two seed, but there's no one else that really deserves a bid. USC is ineligible for the postseason. Though tied for third in conference, Washington was 6-6 overall and Arizona comes in with a four game losing streak.

So what do we have? Well the WAC teams get easy first round games, BSU facing the Sun Belt champs FIU and Nevada drawing the MAC champion Miami Redhawks.

The SEC gets to go head to head with power conferences, with LSU facing Texas A&M and possibly Oregon. Bama draws ACC champ Va Tech and if they win, OSU. Arkansas get the Noles.

So when will we play these games? First round on campus sits Dec. 11, Second round on campus sits Dec. 18. Merry Christmas with the regional finals at traditional bowl sites. Hapy New Year with the national semi-finals, and on January 8, the two top teams face off for the national title (two days before the BCS title game is scheduled, in case you worry about these kids missing school).

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