- 11 teams are selected from the Conference Champions of all conferences
- 5 more teams are selected from an at-large pool consisting of all other teams
- First and second round games on campus sites; semifinals at any two of the Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Capital One Bowl, determined by regional interest (in actuality, it would rotate between the Sugar, Rose, Orange, and either Cotton or Cap One); the National Championship to be held at the Orange Bowl
Good luck to all our teams, especially our Number 1 seed, Oklahoma.
#16 Troy (Sun Belt champion) v. #1 Oklahoma (Big 12 champion)
I really found myself splitting hairs at several places in the seeding process. The first place I did so was: Who should be the No. 1 seed, Florida or Oklahoma? Florida had a worse loss, but because Georgia and Florida State found themselves in the top ten of the RPI, Florida ended up looking like it had the better wins and Oklahoma losing to Texas suddenly looked like they weren't getting the job done against a team in the field. This was arguably the least substantive point of stress, because if the two teams meet in the Golden Bowl it won't matter what order they're seeded in, and I stressed a little over the seeding of 15 and 16 as well. I went with Oklahoma to postpone any Big 12 or SEC rematch until the Golden Bowl. Keyed by Heisman hopeful Sam Bradford, Oklahoma's record-setting offense takes on a Troy team a year removed from being one win away from a fantastic, Sun Belt Championship-winning season, only to see Florida Atlantic snatch it away from them.
#15 Buffalo (MAC champion) v. #2 Florida (SEC champion)
Congratulations, Buffalo, on stopping Ball State's bid for an undefeated season! Your reward: A chance to try and stop last year's Heisman winner on offense while also getting past the stifling Gator defense.
#14 East Carolina (C-USA champion) v. #3 Texas (at-large)
East Carolina's early-season run almost had it bumping up to the 13 seed, but alas, the Pirates will have to settle for a first-round matchup with a Texas team still upset over not getting its chance to play in the Big 12 Title Game. There's now a way to rebound from that, but Texas will definitely get more of a challenge from East Carolina than it would have from Buffalo or Troy. If the Pirates are going to pull off one more upset, its defense will have to stop Heisman hopeful Colt McCoy.
#13 Virginia Tech (ACC champion) v. #4 Alabama (at-large)
V-Tech fans, blame your four losses and the fact that the best team you beat in a true road game was North Carolina, RPI #22. The Hokie defense will be in the spotlight in this one, though when you're in the SEC you're bound to have a great defense of your own.
#12 Boise State (WAC champion) v. #5 Penn State (Big Ten champion)
Penn State over USC or Texas Tech? USC I'll get to; Penn State played a better nonconference schedule than Texas Tech and beat some decent teams on the road. PSU over Texas Tech was a very difficult decision, but the Fighting JoePas might not like coming out on top, because their great defense is now being asked to stop a team hungry to prove they deserve to be undefeated, one with a very high-powered offense - and a defense that gives up fewer points per game than the Nittany Lions.
#11 Georgia Tech (at-large) v. #6 Cincinnati (Big East champion)
Georgia Tech just edged out Oklahoma State for the final at-large, and Pitt had a pretty good resume as well (and the BCS rankings would throw TCU in there for the hell of it), yet G-Tech could have easily passed Ohio State in the seeding. As for Cincy, they played a better nonconference schedule than Texas Tech, have better wins than anyone else that could compete with Texas Tech, and I want to hold off on a Big 12 rematch until the semifinals. The Bearcats have been rotating QBs like there's no tomorrow, but it'll be the defense that'll be tasked to stop the triple-option. A low scoring game probably favors Cincy and its great defense; a high scoring one could portend an upset.
#10 Ohio State (at-large) v. #7 Texas Tech (at-large)
Don't like this seeding, Red Raider fans? Don't like having to play a worldbeater in the first round, and potentially Florida in the second? Thank your lucky stars Texas doesn't get a chance at revenge in the quarters, and next time, keep in mind that in the playoffs, the regular season still matters. Of course, Ohio State is also groaning at trying to stop the amazing combo of Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, but they have their own offensive force in Terrell Pryor.
#9 USC (Pac-10 champion) v. #8 Utah (Mountain West champion)
Utah, USC, and Ohio State were pretty much all a collective case of splitting hairs. I could have easily justified ranking Ohio State ahead of USC on the grounds that USC's win over the Buckeyes was in the Coliseum. USC's problem? Even though they had the best top-to-bottom nonconference schedule of anyone outside the bottom three, Virginia was the best team they beat on the road, and Oregon was the best team they beat not named Ohio State. Oregon also just so happens to be the best team Boise State beat, to put that in perspective. That makes the loss to Oregon State look very concerning. Don't get too excited by how much the Trojans ran up the score on some bad teams; it wasn't enough to build their resume. Still, if the Trojan defense can be the squad that allowed the fewest points and yards per game in I-A, they can knock off a potentially questionable Ute offense.
The half of the bracket containing the 1 seed will play in the Rose Bowl for the semifinal; the half of the bracket containing the 2 seed will play in the Sugar Bowl. First-round results from Whatifsports.com coming on Sunday.