College Football Playoffs?
Imagining a College Football Playoff
Randy Hill / FOXSports.com
Welcome to college football's parallel universe.
Participation does not require contacting the cable provider in your area.
While this is a parallel universe, some aspects of college football will stay the same. Ted Ginn Jr. remains faster than everybody, Will Ferrell still has a sideline pass and this season's title game will still be televised by FOX.
But the differences are crucial. For example, the value system of college presidents has been removed from the postseason process. Another change is the upgrade in national importance for each bowl game that occurs on New Year's Day. Also registering is the refusal of everyone to care about anything Beano Cook says.
That last example may not qualify as different.
Anyway, we're visiting this parallel universe to see what might happen if college football managed to bring an eight-team, national-championship tournament within sniffing distance of reality. We could refer to it as the January Jamboree or the PUCS (Parallel Universe Championship Series).
Billy Packer will not be involved, but we can guarantee at least one shining moment. We haven't had time to summon a selection committee, so this year's matchups are based on the BCS standings recently unleashed upon the regular universe.
With that on the table, let's take a look at our first Division 1 college football tournament:
New Year's Day
Fiesta Bowl: No. 1 seed Ohio State vs. No. 8 seed Boise State
Who wouldn't be excited about a first-round game featuring two unbeaten teams? That would be Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel, a man recently credited with having refused to vote after agreeing to take the Pepsi Challenge. But Tressel really knows how to prepare for bowl games, especially those that occur in Arizona. It also should be noted that Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith still is the Ohio State quarterback in this parallel universe. Unfortunately for Boise State, its quarterback is not named Bryce Drew.
The Buckeyes roll, 35-10.
Sugar Bowl: No. 4 seed LSU vs. No. 5 seed USC
LSU fans warm up for this battle of speedy teams by putting the "boo!" in Booty. That's USC quarterback John David Booty, who left Louisiana for L.A. without even bothering to participate in his senior season of high school. Booty can't do much against the relentless Tiger pass rush, but the Trojans manage a little business on the ground. The USC rushing attack is led by bruising Chauncey Washington, who arrived at Troy with credentials similar to those of current Superdome hotshot Reggie Bush.
USC prevails, 17-14.
Orange Bowl: No. 2 seed Florida vs. No. 7 seed Wisconsin
The Badgers just don't have the speed to handle the Gators, whose coach — Urban "Cabernet" Meyer — has unleashed more tricky plays than Neil Simon. While subbing for Chris Leak, Florida freshman quarterback Tim Tebow scores the game's first touchdown on a double-reverse pass to himself.
Wisconsin, which didn't allow a point to Ohio State this season, gives up 28 in an 18-point loss to Florida.
Rose Bowl: No. 3 seed Michigan vs. No. 6 seed Louisville
The Cardinals' highly regarded offense generates three touchdowns in Louisville's first three possessions. Eventually, Michigan realizes that its defense is being coached by Don English, the identical twin brother of Wolverine coordinator Ron English. After the switch back to Ron is made, Michigan allows just 10 more points. The Cardinals' lightly regarded defense does little to stop the comeback efforts of Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham.
Michigan advances with a 38-31 victory.
Jan. 8 — The Final Four
Semifinal 1: No. 2 seed Florida vs. No. 3 seed Michigan
This is the first time the 2 and 3 seeds have met in college football's Final Four. Michigan strikes first when English's defense scores on an interception of Florida's middle screen to an eligible tackle. The Gators respond when freshman Percy Harvin scores from 79 yards out on a Statue-of-Liberty handoff from Tebow on a fourth-and-one. Not to be outdone is fun-loving Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. Carr overrules his offensive coordinator and has receiver Manningham line up at quarterback and make a 15-yard scoring toss to quarterback Henne. Florida eventually succumbs when Leak — who's miffed that Tebow has taken half of the Gators' snaps — takes a knee on fourth-and-goal with his team down by four points.
Michigan reaches the championship game with a 28-24 victory.
Semfinal 2: No. 1 seed Ohio State vs. No. 5 seed USC
Before kickoff, the FOX broadcast team reminds us that no dome team has ever won the championship game of the college football tournament. Much like USC predecessor Matt Leinart, Booty has a huge opening half in his first game as the starter inside Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium. USC's advantage is assisted when a clean out-of-bounds collision co-starring Trojan safety Kevin Ellison and Tressel leaves the Buckeyes coach a bit dazed and confused. Tressel, thinking he's Woody Hayes, takes a swing at USC receiver Steve Smith. He compounds this mistake by traveling back to the 2005 Texas game and benching Troy Smith.
But the Ohio State defense saves the day, generating three USC turnovers as the Buckeyes advance with a 31-28 triumph.
Jan. 15 — Championship Game
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Title Tilt: No. 1 seed Ohio State vs. No. 3 seed Michigan
This is the first time teams from the same conference have met in the tournament championship game. Tressel has returned to his senses and has Troy Smith back at starting quarterback. But Michigan sets the tempo when the Wolverines marching band summons enough recruits to march the script Michigan on the stadium's roll-in grass field. A Tostitos essay contest is used to determine which lucky fans are allowed to dot each "i" in Michigan. Tressel, knowing the Wolverines know the Buckeyes and how Jim knows they know them, plays it close to the sweater-vest. Carr, who realizes just how slick Tressel is, does the same. Lloyd even encourages Henne to audible from a run to a run.This field-position battle finally yields a game-changing dividend when Buckeye Quinn Pitcock tackles Hart for a safety. Now trailing by a deuce, Carr decides to open it up. Henne rallies the Wolverines with a scoring toss to Steve Breaston. Ohio State answers when Ginn returns the kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown. The defensive battle anticipated for the showdown in Columbus resurfaces in the desert until Michigan kicks a field-goal for a 10-9 lead.
The Buckeyes strike last when Smith avoids a third-down sack and sprints 19 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Ohio State fans attempt to celebrate their 16-10 national-championship victory by tearing up the neighborhood, but realize there is no neighborhood around University of Phoenix Stadium.
A riot breaks out back in Detroit just moments after the game ends. Rioters admit they have no idea that Michigan had just played Ohio State.