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How a 12-Team Playoff Would Look After CFB’s Week 13

Sports Illustrated 11/30/2022 Ross Dellenger

A rematch of the 2009 Sugar Bowl highlights potential first-round matchups from a mock 12-team playoff using the CFP committee’s rankings.

Remember in January 2009, when little Utah of the Mountain West beat big bad Alabama and Nick Saban in the Sugar Bowl? Well, the Utes are back!

In an expanded 12-team CFP, Utah, in the Pac-12 this time, and the Crimson Tide would meet again in a postseason game—this one on campus in Tuscaloosa with much more on the line. The No. 6-vs.-11 duel would be one of four intriguing first-round games in a 12-team format, including Clemson at Penn State, Kansas State at Tennessee and Tulane at Ohio State.

It sets up some scintillating potential quarterfinal matchups, too, such as Michigan-Tennessee in the Orange Bowl and Ohio State-USC in the Rose.

The 12-team playoff can’t get here soon enough. When will it get here exactly? Well, that’s a great question. That’s up to Rose Bowl officials, as Sports Illustrated reported Monday.

When you look at the below bracket, please keep in mind that we are using the same expansion model adopted this summer: (1) the six highest-ranked champs get automatic berths; (2) the next six highest-ranked teams get at-large spots; (3) byes go to the top four conference champs; and (4) first-round games are played at the better seed’s home stadium, and quarterfinals and semifinals are played in a rotation of six bowls.

A mock 12-team College Football Playoff using the selection committee’s latest rankings. Ross Dellenger/Sports Illustrated © Provided by Sports Illustrated A mock 12-team College Football Playoff using the selection committee’s latest rankings. Ross Dellenger/Sports Illustrated

1. Georgia (SEC champion)

Sugar Bowl

2. Michigan (Big Ten champion)

Orange Bowl

3. TCU (Big 12 champion)

Cotton Bowl

4. USC (Pac-12 champion)

Rose Bowl

Semifinals: Peach (No. 1 v No. 4) and Fiesta (No. 2 v No. 3)

5. Ohio State (Big Ten at large)

12. Tulane (American champion)

Ann Arbor, Mich.

-

6. Alabama (SEC at large)

11. Utah (Pac-12 at large)

Tuscaloosa

-

7. Tennessee (SEC at large)

10. Kansas State (Big 12 at large)

Knoxville, Tenn.

-

8. Penn State (Big Ten at large)

9. Clemson (ACC champion)

State College, Penn.

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