Nobody cares what I think (nor should they) and I have no special sources, but the College Football Playoffs are designed to reintroduce what computers cannot yet calculate. What is the algorithm for human drama?
Here are my guesses for how the committee will arrange its inaugural playoff pairings and a little bit of why it makes sense.
I see the Ducks jumping to No. 1 past Alabama for a couple of reasons. The Ducks have become a media darling in the Northeast, which won’t have a representative in the final four. Marcus Mariota is a lock for the Heisman next week, even without his impromptu lookalike pose last week. Pushing ‘Bama off its pedestal will create drama, but it will also set up the game the south most wants to see.
Alabama will be seeded to play Florida State on January 1 in New Orleans, where attendance and passions will exceed all expectations. This is the game the South wants to see and the committee can give it to them, pitting a dominant No. 2 against an unbeaten No. 3 in the Sugar Bowl.
That leaves only one more drama to the storyline the committee is crafting. Who is seeded No. 4 to play the Ducks? The candidates are TCU, Ohio State, and Baylor. All won yesterday. I’m guessing Ohio State for several reasons.
That would send a Big Ten champ to play the Pac 12 champ at the Rose Bowl. Even amid all these changes, there is still the natural order of things. Only Ohio State can claim allegiance from the Midwest. If the heartland has no team to root for, that leaves a large swath of the nation without a natural team. Ohio State has won eleven straight, behind three different quarterbacks. That’s a good story.
If each top-seed wins, that sets up Oregon vs. Alabama, new vs. old, unstoppable vs. immoveable. And if both are upset, Ohio State brings Urban Meyer back to battle his old cross-state rival, Florida State. If it’s a mix of outcomes in the semi-final, we’ll have two legendary coaches (Meyer and Nick Saban) matching wits, or two Heisman quarterbacks (Mariota and FSU’s Jameis Winston) battling to the end.
That’s how I think it’ll go, a little over an hour from now. But I could be wrong.