Home Sports What a great year to start a 12-team playoff — and not have to listen to whiny Nick Saban | D’Angelo

What a great year to start a 12-team playoff — and not have to listen to whiny Nick Saban | D’Angelo

What a great year to start a 12-team playoff — and not have to listen to whiny Nick Saban | D’Angelo

Two sure signs the 12-team playoff was not starting this year:

Only one conference championship game mattered.

Nick Saban’s whining about why his two-loss team deserved a spot in the playoff.

First Saban. This was not a good look even for a man who attempts to bully the media on every stage. Still not sure if he even believed the propaganda he was spewing all weekend. The most laughable comment being Alabama would be favored over the teams it was competing against for a playoff spot.

Let’s have Las Vegas determine who in and who’s out of the playoff. Great idea. Besides, Alabama was a 13.5 point favorite over LSU and 9.5 point favorite over Tennessee. How did those work out? In fact the Tide was 6-6 this season against the spread.

Maybe Alabama should be in the Gasparilla Bowl instead of the Sugar Bowl.

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Committee got it right

Alabama Crimson Tide band plays Monday, Jan. 10, 2022, before the College Football Playoff National Championship against Georgia at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Now to the playoff. The College Football Playoff committee got it right. The four best teams in the country will be playing New Year’s Eve when TCU faces Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl and Ohio State meets Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

But what if that 12-team format starting in two years was determining this year’s champion? What would it look like? Who would get the first-round byes? Who would host?

What would Saban whine about then?

Before the field was set this much we know: Every Power Five conference and the American Athletic Conference championship game would have had enormous playoff stakes. Not just the Pac-12, as was the case this season. Utah’s win over USC knocked the Trojans out of the playoff.

Each of those 12 teams would have been playing for a spot in the playoff, the winner guaranteed to go, and for some a first round bye would have been on the line. For others, a loss would have meant elimination from the playoff.

Instead, we got three games (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12) in which one team was guaranteed a spot in the playoff and the other had no chance … no matter the outcome.

Here is how the field would have looked based on the committee’s final rankings.

1. Georgia (SEC champion)

2. Michigan (Big Ten champion)

3. Clemson (ACC champion)

4. Utah (Pac-12 champion)

5. TCU (at-large)

6. Ohio State (at-large)

7. Alabama (at-large)

8. Tennessee (at-large)

9. Kansas State (Big 12 champion)

10. USC (at-large)

11. Penn State (at-large)

12. Tulane (AAC champion)

First two teams out: Washington, Florida State.

The rankings include the six highest ranked conference champions and the next six highest-ranked teams. The top four highest ranked conference champions are seeded 1-4 and receive the first-round bye. The rest of the field is determined by the eight remaining highest-ranked teams, including the remaining conference champions.

Georgia, Michigan, Clemson and Utah would have received byes this year. No. 7 Clemson and No. 8 Utah would jump into the top 4 as conference champions.

Seeds 5-8 would host a first round game. Here is what the first round and quarterfinals would have looked like:

Kansas State (9) at Tennessee (8). Winner vs. Georgia (1).

Tulane (12) at TCU (5). Winner vs. Utah (4).

USC (10) at Alabama (7). Winner vs. Michigan (2).

Penn State (11) at Ohio State (6). Winner vs. Clemson (3).

The quarterfinals and semifinals the first two years (2024, 2025 seasons) will rotate between the Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Rose and Peach bowls.

The championship game will continue to be determined by bids. Hard Rock Stadium will host a semifinal game after the 2024 season, quarterfinal game after the 2025 season and the championship game after the 2026 season.

This would have been a home run for the first year of an expanded playoff. The first round games pairing blue bloods – USC at Alabama, Penn State at Ohio State – would have been just what we needed to start this new era.

And those winners facing Michigan and Clemson, along with a possible quarterfinal matchup of TCU and Utah?

This cannot happen fast enough.


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