Monday, December 31, 2012

Man, What a Group!

Sorry about not getting this out sooner...but I'm excited to bring it to you just the same.

This promises to be one of the best (okay, at least one of the most interesting) fields to ever (at least on this computer) compete in the history of this one version of a should've been/would've been/could've been NCAA Division 1-A college football playoff.

What makes the 2012 version intriguing is the fact that NCAA sanctions have prevented Ohio State from bringing its 12-0 team to the table. (From what I heard and read, school officials' attitudes toward the sanctions didn't help, either.)

Anyway...without further ado, here's the 24-team field for my version of a 2012 NCAA D-1-A football playoff (with regular-season, pre-bowl records shown): 

1. Notre Dame (12-0; independent at-large)/ 2. Alabama (12-1; SEC champ)/ 3. Northern Illinois (12-1; MAC champ)/ 4. Florida (11-1; SEC at-large)/ 5. Oregon (11-1; Pac-12 at-large)/ 6. Kansas State (11-1; Big 12 champ)/ 7. Stanford (11-2; Pac-12 champ)/ 8. Kent State (11-2; MAC at-large)

9. Georgia (11-2; SEC at-large)/ 10. Florida State (11-2; ACC champ)/ 11. Oklahoma (10-2; Big 12 at-large)/ 12. South Carolina (10-2; SEC at-large)/ 13. Louisiana State (10-2; SEC at-large)/ 14. San Jose State (10-2; WAC at-large)/ 15. Boise State (10-2; Mountain West champ)/ 16. Utah State (10-2; WAC champ)

17. Texas A&M (10-2; SEC at-large)/ 18. Clemson (10-2; ACC at-large)/ 19. Louisville (10-2; Big East champ)/ 20. Nebraska (10-3; Big Ten at-large)/ 21. Tulsa (10-3; Conference USA champ)/ 22. Oregon State (9-3; Pac-12 at-large)/ 23. Arkansas State (9-3; Sun Belt champ)/ 24. Wisconsin (8-5; Big Ten champ)

If you're new to "Boston's Blog," these 24 teams are listed in order of playoff seeding (rather than rank in the AP, USA Today, and Harris Interactive polls). Matter of fact, the polls don't figure into how teams end up qualifying for this version of a Division 1-A playoff.

A point system akin to what the high school athletic association in your state (if it's a state of the United States) uses to determine playoff seeding in football is used here. And it breaks down like this:

*A Division 1-A team earns 50 quality points for beating a winning D-1-A club.

*It earns 45 points for a win over a nonwinning 1-A squad.

*Said club gets 40 points for a win against a Division 1-AA team that enjoyed a winning year.

*And the playoff team receives 35 quality points if it stopped a nonwinning D-1-AA entry.

This system takes out quality points for every loss...meaning that a loss to a winning D-1-A team costs a playoff squad 50 points, a loss to a 1-A team that stank costs 55 points, and if the playoff team loses to a successful D-1-AA entry, well...say goodbye to 60 quality points.

What's more, if one of these Division 1-A playoff teams should lose to a losing team from 1-AA...the defeat takes 65 quality points away. 

Plus: If a team goes undefeated, it picks up 55 bonus points.

This system also uses tiebreakers...with the first one being total number of victories racked up by a team's 1-A foes. If the tied teams saw their 1-A opponents win the same number of games, head-to-head competition is looked at. If the tied teams didn't meet during the regular season, conference records are examined. And if they're identical, point differential in conference games is next. If the teams are still in a deadlock, the next tiebreaker is point differential in all games. 

And if that's all comes down to a coin flip. 

With that in mind, Florida (which won the 2009 playoffs- unbelievably, the sole SEC team to go all the way in these playoffs!) got seeded higher than defending playoff champion Oregon, despite the Gators and Ducks racking up 475 quality points each in 2012. [The 1-A clubs that played Florida totaled 87 wins this season, while Oregon's 1-A opponents won 73 times. (Weak Washington State and even weaker Colorado didn't help the Ducks' cause.)]

Also: The top eight seeds get to duck (okay, Duck) the first round.

So...if you're scratching your head as to why Kent State (making its first appearance in these playoffs) jumped ahead of Georgia (in its twelfth appearance; its first was in the playoffs' inaugural year, 1982), here's the reason: The Bulldogs faced eight losing-or-.500 1-A teams this season, while the Golden Flashes went up against seven. (Georgia got 400 quality points, while Kent State slid by with 405.)

It's how a team did this season, rather than a team's past reputation. 

By the way...if the Buckeyes hadn't gotten put on probation, they probably would've gotten the playoffs' top seed...assuming they would've won the Big Ten title game to go 13-0. As it was, Urban Meyer's club would've received 670 points for a 13-0 record.

The result that actually took place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN (Badgers 70, Huskers 31) caused the field to have room for just one at-large nine-win team. On top of that, Wisconsin's win prevented Ball State (the Cards went 9-3) from entering the playoff field.

And it forced the Cornhuskers into a first-round game.  

Speaking of games...I'm looking forward to using Lance Haffner Games' 3-in-1 Football (computer vs. computer) to get those games played. (And I'm looking forward to bringing you the results!)

Well, that's it for me this year. I'm Jim Boston, and thanks for reading this blog! (And may YOU have a happy and prosperous 2013!)

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