Simulating how a 16-team College Football Playoff bracket would play out to see if Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State or Notre Dame would emerge as champions.
The pandemic-affected 2020 season raised some controversy regarding the College Football Playoff. At the conclusion of the year, it was the Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, in order, that made it into the field of four.
However, while Ohio State finished their season at 6-0, there were plenty of people arguing that teams like Texas A&M and Cincinnati — or even Oklahoma and Florida that played a full schedule and had better wins — deserved to be in the running for the National Championship instead of the Buckeyes.
So, naturally, the conversation has once again reverted to expanding the College Football Playoff to allow more teams the opportunity to get into the field and to, hopefully, create less controversy in doing so. But while the likely next step is to move to eight teams, that would only pave the way for an eventual 16-team College Football Playoff.
What would a 16-team playoff look like — other than just being awesome? Well, at the end of the 2020 season, we’re going to try and answer that, comprising a 16-team bracket and simulating each game to see which squad would win the National Championship in this format. (Note: This simulation assumes no players who played this season would skip the playoff game.)
16-team College Football Playoff first round: 1 Alabama vs. 16 BYU
You have to tip your cap to what quarterback Zach Wilson and the BYU Cougars accomplished this season. A dominant Boca Raton Bowl victory over UCF clinched an 11-1 season for the group from Provo. And had it not been for an admirable willingness of the Cougars to take on a game against Coastal Carolina on short notice, it would’ve been a perfect season for BYU.
With Wilson and a slew of weapons both in the backfield and in the passing game, the Cougars have proven their ability to put up points on almost anyone. Even in a matchup against Alabama, it’s reasonable to think that BYU could hang a nice number on the scoreboard.
The Cougars, however, would get in trouble when it comes to slowing down the Crimson Tide offense. To this point in the season, there’s not been a team that has an answer for Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris or any of the Bama weapons. If you can slow down one, the others will only beat you that much worse.
Subsequently, this would be a game that you’d want to take the over if you’re the betting kind. But it would also be a game in which the outcome would never be in doubt as Nick Saban’s club would live up to the billing as the No. 1 overall seed.
Alabama wins, 58-31