Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Konformist College Playoff Bowl III: Part 2

Robert Sterling

Previously on Konformist.com, we had released the upper and lower brackets for a simulation of a college football playoff. Here are the brackets:

LSU (1, SEC)
Alabama (2)
Oklahoma State (3, Big 12)
Stanford (4)
Oregon (6, PAC-12)
Wisconsin (9, Big Ten)
Clemson (14, ACC)
West Virginia (23, Big East)

Arkansas (7)
Boise State (8)
South Carolina (10)
TCU (16)
Southern Miss (22)
Arkansas State
Northern Illinois
Louisiana Tech

The teams are then pair off in eight opening round playoff games, with the one seed playing the 16, two playing 15, etc. Below is how it'd look this year, with the simulation results, according to WhatIfSports.com:

Fiesta Bowl (Phoenix) Pac-10 Host
Oregon (6, PAC-12) - TCU (16)

Oregon managed to win the PAC-12 over Stanford, and faces a tough opponent in TCU, the top-ranked non-BCS conference winner (and the winner of College Bowl I.) The end results:

TCU Horned Frogs 7 10 10 7 34
Oregon Ducks 0 10 10 7 27

Despite TCU's success in recent years, this is a definite upset!

Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando) Big Ten Host
Wisconsin (9, Big Ten) - South Carolina (10)

Wisconsin managed to win the Big Ten, while South Carolina is the last of the four teams from the SEC to make the playoffs. Both are top 10 teams, so this should be a good match:

South Carolina Gamecocks 0 10 0 0 10
Wisconsin Badgers 7 28 0 17 52

Or maybe not. The Badgers totally dominate the Gamecocks...

Gator Bowl (Jacksonville) SEC Host
LSU (1, SEC) - Louisiana Tech

LSU is the top-ranked team, the only undefeated team, and the winner of the SEC, the toughest conference in college football. Still, their opponent, Louisiana Tech, is the best sixteen seed by far in the three years of this simulation. Is that enough to win against their same-state opponent?

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 0 21 3 7 31
LSU Tigers 9 7 7 3 26

Wow! An even bigger upset than the loss of Oregon. It only took three years for the top seed to lose in the opening round...

Liberty Bowl (Memphis) Big East Host
West Virginia (23, Big East) - Arkansas (7)

It took them a little help, but West Virginia squeezed into the playoffs by winning the Big East conference in the last week of play. They face a real tough opponent in number seven Arkansas...

Arkansas Razorbacks 14 7 14 17 52
West Virginia Mountaineers 7 13 14 19 53

In a stunner and a high-scoring game, the Mountaineers, who trailed by a point at the start of the 4th quarter, win the game by a point in a 53-52 battle!

Peach Bowl (Atlanta) ACC Host
Clemson (14, ACC) - Boise State (8)

Last year's upset College Bowl champ Boise State is a top 10 team once again (despite not winning their conference for a second year in a row. They face the ACC champs of Clemson:

Boise State Broncos 0 10 14 10 34
Clemson Tigers 3 3 7 7 20

In what is not a big surprise, Boise State joins fellow non-BCS member TCU in the big four bowl games for the third straight year...

Sun Bowl (El Paso) Big 12 Host
Oklahoma State (3, Big 12) - Arkansas State

Arkansas State, like Louisiana Tech, is a quality unranked team. Can they upset the Big 12 winners of Oklahoma State?

Arkansas State Red Wolves 0 6 10 0 16
Oklahoma State Cowboys 23 14 7 16 60


Alamo Bowl (San Antonio)
Stanford (4) - Southern Miss (22)

Stanford was a loss against Oregon from an undefeated season. Southern Miss got into the playoffs by winning over undefeated Houston...

Southern Miss Golden Eagles 7 13 7 14 41
Stanford Cardinal 0 17 0 14 31

Wow! The fourth non-BCS team gets into the big bowls by upsetting Stanford!

Hall of Fame Bowl (Tampa)
Alabama (2) - Northern Illinois

Alabama's only loss came against LSU and play Northern Illinois in the final round of 16 game...

Northern Illinois Huskies 3 3 0 7 13
Alabama Crimson Tide 10 3 7 3 23

Close by the Huskies, but not close enough. The Crimson Tide win, the only SEC team to make it to the big bowls...

Yes, this is a simulation, but simulations are often very revealing, as it is in this case. Among supporters of a college playoff, there is a debate if it should include 8 or 16 teams. The argument for a 16-team playoff is that every conference winner would get a chance to be crowned champions, with an extra five teams to ensure no team is unfairly excluded. The argument for the 8-team playoff is some of the teams not only don't deserve a shot at the championship, but would lead to unwatchable blowouts. Yet this year according to the simulation, four of the eight quarterfinalists came from non-BCS schools, proving that if given an opportunity, they could at least surprise their opponents and upsets aren't as implausible as some might think.

So what are the matchups for the Big Four Bowl Games? Wisconsin, at the Big Ten winner, goes to the Rose Bowl; Oklahoma State, as the Big 12 champ, goes to the Cotton Bowl; West Virginia, the Big East winner, goes to the Orange Bowl; and Alabama gets the Sugar Bowl as the SEC rep after LSU's upset defeat. TCU, the highest ranked West Coast conference winner, gets the PAC-12 slot in the Rose. Louisiana Tech, the other West Coast conference winner, gets the Cotton Bowl. Southern Miss, an East Coast conference champ, takes the ACC slot in the Orange, and that leaves Boise State in the Sugar. Here's how it looks:

Rose Bowl
TCU (16) - Wisconsin (9, Big Ten)

Cotton Bowl
Oklahoma State (3, Big 12) - Louisiana Tech

Orange Bowl
West Virginia (23, Big East) - Southern Miss (22)

Sugar Bowl
Alabama (2) - Boise State (8)

Tomorrow we'll have the results of the playoffs. Stay tuned!

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