This is the post I've been waiting two weeks to write.
I'm still conducting a 24-team NCAA Division 1-A football playoff, and I can't wait to finally get cracking on it. Finally got time that I can spend actually playing the games.
Really excited about the 2015 field, because it's got four teams that've never participated in this version of a playoff before, one finally back in the field for the first time since Ronald Reagan was calling the shots at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, two others making their first appearance each since Bill Clinton was giving Oval Office speeches, and...well, here's what the 2015 field looks like:
1. Clemson (13-0; ACC champ)/2. Alabama (12-1; SEC champ)/3. Michigan State (12-1; Big Ten champ)/4. Iowa (12-1; Big Ten at-large)/5. Houston (12-1; AAC champ)/6. Oklahoma (11-1; Big 12 champ)/7. Ohio State (11-1; Big Ten at-large)/8. Stanford (11-2; Pac-12 champ)
9. Western Kentucky (11-2; C-USA champ)/10. North Carolina (11-2; ACC at-large)/11. Notre Dame (10-2; independent at-large)/12. Northwestern (10-2; Big Ten at-large)/13. Florida State (10-2; ACC at-large)/14. Oklahoma State (10-2; Big 12 at-large)/15. Navy (10-2; AAC at-large)/16. TCU (10-2; Big 12 at large)
17. Appalachian State (10-2; Sun Belt at-large)/18. Toledo (9-2; MAC at-large)/19. Bowling Green State (10-3; MAC champ)/20. Florida (10-3; SEC at-large)/21. Temple (10-3; AAC at-large)/22. San Diego State (10-3; Mountain West champ)/23. Michigan (9-3; Big Ten at-large)/24. Arkansas State (9-3; Sun Belt champ)
Using a system akin to what your state's high school athletic association uses in order to determine football playoff seeding, I got results that agree with the College Football Playoff selection committee...in the top three spots.
Had the Big 12 had two more members, it could go back to playing a football title game. And the lack of such a sports event costs that conference's champion 50 extra quality points every year.
Speaking of quality points...Houston and Iowa had the same number of them (500) this time around. But the Hawkeyes (making their first D-1-A playoff appearance in six years) got the nod over the Cougars (back for the first time since losing to Oregon in the 2011 title game) because Iowa's Division 1-A opponents won 69 games to 67 for the 1-A squads Houston had to fight.
Northwestern, Florida State, and Oklahoma State totaled the same number of quality points as well- 365. The Seminoles got a higher seed than the Cowboys on account of FSU's 1-A foes winning 69 games themselves in 2015 while the 1-A teams that played O-State racked up 68 wins. (One of the Cowboys' foes was Kansas...which limped home without a win this season.)
Still, the Wildcats topped the Cowpokes and 'Noles because their own Division 1-A opponents won 75 times, enhancing Northwestern's first time in these playoffs since 1995 (when the 'Cats lost in the semifinals to future Big Ten foe Nebraska).
It's also North Carolina's first time in this set of playoffs since 1997 (when the Tar Heels lost in the first round to Ohio State). San Diego State, meanwhile, had been waiting since 1986 to get back to the playoffs. (The Aztecs went out in the first round, too, losing to Texas A&M.)
To top it all off, it's time to congratulate Appalachian State, Navy, Temple, and Western Kentucky for making it into these 1-A playoffs for the first time each.
Can't wait to see how these teams do. I'll be using Lance Haffner Games' old 3-in-1 Football, and playing the games computer vs. computer. And when all the results are in, I'll be glad to let you know.
I'm Jim Boston, and thanks for reading this blog!