What if College Football Had a 64-Team Playoff System in 2013?

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Already tired of the current four-team College Football Playoff structure and want to expand? How about eight teams? 10? 16?

What about a 64-team playoff? SURE!

I can imagine this going somewhere in the direction of the Batman and Joker conversation from the interrogation scene in The Dark Knight:

“You wanted me, here I am.”

“I wanted to see what you’d do. And you didn’t disappoint.”

Utilizing the wondrous and magical abilities of the whatifsports.com game simulator—which allows users to create custom matchups with real starting rosters to generate a complete play-by-play of the game—I’ve taken the liberty of simulating a 64-team playoff for the 2013* season, all played on neutral sites.

And it didn’t disappoint. (You can see the full bracket here.)

*Seeding was decided by my final 1-126 FBS rankings, which was posted on FanIQ.com. However, the site has since been discontinued.


FIRST ROUND


Midwest Region

(1) Florida State 41 vs. (64) Buffalo 16
(32) Miami-Fla. 28 vs. (33) Kansas State 26
(17) LSU 37 vs. (48) Penn State 10
(16) Louisville 22 vs. (49) Cincinnati 14
(9) Clemson vs. (56) Syracuse 20
(24) Texas 48 vs. (41) Vanderbilt 34
(40) Ole Miss 27 vs. (25) Nebraska 10
(57) Boston College 33, (8) Central Florida 20

Biggest upset: Boston College over UCF. It’s technically the only upset in this side of the bracket, but BC knocking off the Fiesta Bowl champs (erm, the would-be Fiesta Bowl champs) is arguably the biggest shock of the entire first round. Eagles running back Andre Williams ran all over the 16th-ranked rushing defense, going for 237 yards and three touchdowns off 31 carries.

BC v UCF

West Region

(4) Missouri 30 vs. (61) UL-Lafayette 6
(36) Oregon State 33 vs. (29) BYU 21
(45) Georgia Tech 40 vs. (20) USC 30
(13) Ohio State 36 vs. (52) Pittsburgh 28
(12) Oklahoma State 30 vs. (53) Michigan 20
(21) Washington 45 vs. (44) Georgia 39
(28) Notre Dame 29 vs. (37) Iowa 14
(5) South Carolina 51 vs. (60) Middle Tennessee 24

Biggest upset: Georgia Tech over USC. Paul Johnson got the best of those Southern Cal boys again (circa Sun Bowl, 2012), expect this time in a high-scoring manner that certainly exceeded the over. Though Cody Kessler’s 329 passing yards and four touchdowns were impressive, they weren’t enough to outshine Yellow Jacket running back Robert Godhigh, who rushed for 236 yards and three scores.

GT v USC

South Region

(2) Michigan State 34 vs. (63) Ball State 6
(31) Utah State 21 vs. (34) Arizona 20
(47) Boise State 33 vs. (18) Texas A&M 25
(15) UCLA 47 vs. (50) San Diego State 24
(55) Houston 24 vs. (10) Stanford 23
(42) Bowling Green 21 vs. (23) Duke 17
(39) East Carolina 28 vs. (26) Virginia Tech 16
(7) Alabama 45 vs. (58) Minnesota 9

Biggest upset: Houston over Stanford. There are several to choose from, with the obvious runner up being a quick exit from Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M Aggies, but Houston beating Stanford in the first round would have been a massive upset. A damning interception thrown by Kevin Hogan on the Cougars’ 37-yard line with :39 remaining in the fourth quarter sealed the deal.

HOU v Stanford

East Region

(3) Auburn 28 vs. (62) Maryland 3
(30) Fresno State 28 vs. (35) Marshall 17
(46) North Carolina 30 vs. (19) Wisconsin 17
(14) Baylor 24 vs. (51) Mississippi State 3
(11) Oregon 49 vs. (54) Rice 0
(22) Arizona State 41 vs. (43) Northern Illinois 13
(27) Texas Tech 51 vs. (38) Navy 10
(6) Oklahoma 26 vs. (59) North Texas 16

Biggest upset: North Carolina over Wisconsin. We saw the Tar Heels win six of seven to end the 2013 season, including a convincing 39-17 win over a solid Cincinnati team in the Belk Bowl. Once UNC clicked, it became one of the most dangerous teams in the country.


ROUND OF 32


(1) Florida State 49 vs. (32) Miami-Fla. 31
(17) LSU 27 vs. (16) Louisville 17
(9) Clemson 38 vs. (24) Texas 30
(57) Boston College 27 vs. (40) Ole Miss 21

(4) Missouri 43 vs. (36) Oregon State 36
(13) Ohio State 30 vs. (45) Georgia Tech 20
(21) Washington 31 vs. (12) Oklahoma State 29
(5) South Carolina 41 vs. (28) Notre Dame 31

(2) Michigan State 29 vs. (31) Utah State 24
(15) UCLA 31 vs. (47) Boise State 27
(55) Houston 27 vs. (42) Bowling Green 26
(7) Alabama 39 vs. (39) East Carolina 3

(30) Fresno State 45 vs. (3) Auburn 23
(14) Baylor 41 vs. (46) North Carolina 20
(11) Oregon 31 vs. (22) Arizona State 19
(6) Oklahoma 34 vs. (27) Texas Tech 24

Biggest upset: Fresno State over Auburn. Whatifsports.com has no regard for God’s Tigers, projecting a 22-point differential (thanks to a 28-point second quarter for Fresno) with the Bulldogs outgaining the BCS National Championship runner-ups 591-366. Surprisingly, it was Fresno’s running game that stifled Auburn, with Josh Quezada going for 211 yards and five touchdowns.

Fresno v AU


SWEET 16


(1) Florida State 38 vs. (17) LSU 36
(9) Clemson 43 vs. (57) Boston College 28

(13) Ohio State 43 vs. (4) Missouri 16
(21) Washington 52 vs. (5) South Carolina 9

(2) Michigan State 27 vs. (15) UCLA 3
(7) Alabama 55 vs. (55) Houston 38

(14) Baylor 38 vs. (30) Fresno State 34
(11) Oregon 65 vs. (6) Oklahoma 26

Biggest upset: Washington over South Carolina. Jadeveon Clowney was a complete non-factor as Keith Price and the U-Dub offense exploded for 52 points off 495 yards, and the defense had constant pressure on Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw, who was sacked five times by five different players.

UW v SC


ELITE EIGHT


(1) Florida State 48 vs. (9) Clemson 41

(21) Washington 48 vs. (13) Ohio State 38

(7) Alabama 45 vs. (2) Michigan State 37

(11) Oregon 41 vs. (14) Baylor 36

Biggest upset: Washington over Ohio State. The equivalent of about a 5-seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, Washington is the highest seed to make it this far—and is now in the Final Four, leaving the West region unscathed. Ohio State’s defensive front seven had no answer for future NFL running back Bishop Sankey, who pounded 34 carries for 285 yards (8.4 ypc) and two touchdowns.


FINAL FOUR


(1) Florida State 37 vs. (21) Washington 34

(11) Oregon 47 vs. (7) Alabama 42

Note: We finally got to witness the desired Alabama-Oregon matchup (well, kind of), and it was everything that we could have ever asked for. Both teams were going shot-for-shot through three quarters until Marcus Mariota hit Pharaoh Brown for a two-yard touchdown pass with 1:42 remaining to take a 40-35 lead, and then a quick four-and-out from the Crimson Tide led to another late score—this time off a 16-yard draw from De’Anthony Thomas—to put it out of reach. It was an exciting finish that would have broken ESPN’s ratings bar.

UO v Bama


NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP


(1) Florida State 41 vs. (11) Oregon 16

Note: Well, would you look at that—the BCS got it right, after all. It wasn’t the most exciting title game with Florida State dominating from start to finish, but it’s reassuring to know that the Seminoles earned their 2013 rings. Oregon’s front five was a mismatch for an NFL-ready defensive line, as Marcus Mariota was sacked four times and its dynamic running game was held to 2.0 yards per carry. Jameis Winston was named the College Football Playoff MVP, going 125-of-183 (68.3 percent) for 1,939 yards (323.2 ypg), 16 touchdowns (one rushing) and seven interceptions with a 176.7 passer efficiency rating.

FSU v UO