Playoff vs. BCS

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Last updated: 01/08/2014 4:29 AM
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Football
Playoff Fantasy in the BCS Era
By Rob Ogden

Rest in peace, Bowl Championship Series.

Florida State's victory celebration Monday night in Pasadena was a wake for the 16-year-old system. There were hugs and tears, but not one shed for the BCS.

Jameis Winston gave the eulogy with his MVP performance.

Some fans might prefer "burn in hell," but the BCS was good to the Buckeyes.

An NCAA-leading 10 BCS bowl appearances and six BCS wins along with one national championship and three title games.

Still, very few lament the death of the much-beleaguered method of crowning a champion.

A playoff, a revolutionary idea perfected by nearly every other sport decades and decades ago, is welcomed with open arms.

The BCS will soon be a mere memory as the four-team playoff goes into effect with the 2014 season.

But what if college football's dignitaries had gotten it right 16 years ago? How would the Buckeyes have fared?

How many times would Ohio State have qualified for the four-team playoff? Because the playoff teams will be selected by committee and not from a poll, that question is impossible to answer perfectly, but going off the BCS standings, one can conclude the Buckeyes would have likely been involved in the playoff five times, including in 1998 — the inaugural year of the BCS.

1998

Maybe no BCS Ohio State team would have benefitted more from the playoff than the '98 Buckeyes.

After holding the top spot in the AP poll for nine weeks of the season, the Buckeyes fell to No. 7 after a November loss to Michigan State.

Tennessee finished the regular season unbeaten and claimed the top spot in the BCS. One-loss Florida State edged out Ohio State and Kansas State for the final spot in the title game.

Under the current format, the Buckeyes would have likely faced the eventual-national champion Volunteers in one semifinal while Florida State faced No. 3 Kansas State in the other.

Instead, the Buckeyes beat Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl and finished No. 2 in the final BCS standings.

2002

In 2002, Ohio State would have had to first get past No. 3 Georgia before it could claim its first national title in more than three decades.

No. 1 Miami would have likely faced No. 4 USC in the other semifinal. The Carson Palmer-led Trojans defeated co-Big Ten champion Iowa in the Orange Bowl instead.

Finishing at No. 5 a year later, the two-loss Buckeyes would have been on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, and would have had little to argue about following a loss to No. 4 Michigan.

Ohio State would have reemerged in the playoff disscusion two years later in 2005, when instead of facing Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes would likely have faced No. 1 USC.

No. 2 Texas, the eventual national champion, would have played No. 3 Penn State. In this world of hypotheticals, a win over the Trojans would have set up a rematch for the Buckeyes with one of the two teams they were defeated by that season — this time for the national championship.

How fun would that have been? Or maybe you're just as content with the Buckeyes' shellacking of Brady Quinn and Charlie Weiss.

2006

If there's any bowl season Buckeye fans want a redo on, it's likely 2006. Instead of the championship game thrashing at the hands of Florida, it would have been a semifinal game against No. 4 LSU — which, who knows, might have ended the same way.

But at least in this scenario, Ohio State fans could have taken some joy in watching Florida annihilate Michigan as opposed to their own team.

2007

Similarly, in 2007, the Buckeyes would have gotten No. 4 Oklahoma before a potential title game against No. 2 LSU or No. 3 Virginia Tech.

Instead, the Sooners lost 48-28 to West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl and Virginia Tech was defeated by Kansas in the Orange Bowl.

And I don't need to remind you what happened in the championship game. Or maybe I do. Did you block that out of your memory?

2008, 2009, 2010

A BCS bowl in 2008 but no playoffs for the No. 10 Buckeyes. Same can be said for 2009 and 2010.

2009 would have been fun. No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 TCU and No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Cincinnati.

Anything's better than the BCS.

So what do you think? How many titles would the Buckeyes have won since 1998 in a playoff format?

One? More? Fewer?

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