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Predicting How a 12-team Playoff Would Go This Season: Just A Minute

Travel and teams not playing the same number of playoff games would have a huge impact on the outcome of the national championship.

To the surprise of nobody the College Football Playoff is going to a 12-team tournament beginning in 2024, but for this year we have the four-team field with Georgia against Ohio State, and TCU vs. Michigan. 

The great thing about the change being two years away is we get to play the "What if" game and speculate on what might happen if we had the 12-team brackets this year. 

The first-round games would be at home:

  • Tennessee at Kansas State 
  • Tulane at TCU
  • USC at Alabama 
  • Penn State at Ohio State

Even without quarterback Hendon Hooker, Tennessee manages to win. TCU struggles and wins a close game against Tulane, which has pretty much been the Horned Frogs' modus operandi this season. Alabama's defense is the difference against the Trojans. I want to pick Penn State, but the Buckeyes won the initial meeting in Happy Valley, 44-31. This time it'll be a little closer. 

Second round

The highest-seeded teams are given a list of the four sites and get to choose where the game will be played. What stinks in this case is Utah could be sitting there with the fourth option, the Cotton Bowl, basically giving home-field advantage to TCU. 

  • Georgia vs. Tennessee at Sugar Bowl 
  • TCU vs. Utah at Cotton Bowl 
  • Alabama vs. Michigan in the Rose Bowl  
  • Ohio State vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl 

Georgia beats Tennessee for the second time this season. Utah pulls off the "upset" in Arlington. Alabama takes care of Michigan in the Rose Bowl as the Crimson Tide matches up well against the Wolverines. Ohio State dispatches Clemson in the South Florida rain. 

Semifinals

Again, the top seed picks the location, this time from the two remaining New Year's Six bowl sites. 

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  • Georgia vs. Utah at the Peach Bowl. 
  • Alabama vs. Ohio State at the Fiesta Bowl. 

Georgia wins a blowout and gets a nice sendoff from the Atlanta fans. The back-to-back long trips do in the Crimson Tide as Ohio State wins on a late turnover. 

Championship 

The game is still in Los Angeles, which means its back-to-back long trips for Ohio State.

The Bulldogs win in a blowout as the extra game takes a toll on the Buckeyes. 

In this scenario, the road to the title is actually easier for Georgia than the four-team field. 

See Also: All Things CW

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Take 2: The Grass Isn't Always Greener Through the Transfer Portal

Take 3: Alabama's Wide Receiver Room Needs to Close the Revolving Door

Take 4: Why Alabama's Recent Recruiting Classes Can't be Considered Busts

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