With all this possible playoff expansion talk, it got me thinking; what would be the worst-case scenario for the Group of Five?
Well, it would be where an expanded playoff doesn’t include an auto-bid for at least one G5 team. What does that mean for the G5, you might ask? It’s time to go our separate ways.
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, I used to love the idea of a G5 playoff but have since been talked off that ledge. The G5 and P5 are both FBS and should be treated as such.
The FBS is the only division of college football that doesn’t give each conference winner a chance at the National Championship. That needs to change. My ideal playoff would include all ten FBS conference winners plus six at large bids.
However, if the G5 doesn’t get at least one seat at the table, here’s what I think should happen.
Here’s how the new G5 will look. There are no independents. Army, Liberty, UConn, UMass, and NMSU all have new homes.
American Athletic Conference
FAU, FIU, UAB all get added to the conference; these are the schools with both enrollment and endowment on par with the rest of the AAC.
Two Florida additions help everyone by giving them a chance to recruit Florida more often by playing more games there. UAB gets the promotion because their enrollment is over 20k and have an endowment of nearly $500 million.
Army fans: I know, a lot of bad memories of Army’s old C-USA days but they needed a home. I didn’t want to make Army/Navy a conference game so this was the next best spot.
Liberty and NMSU get put in here because it makes the most sense geographically. NMSU pairs with UTEP and Liberty is close to ODU, Charlotte, and Marshall.
UConn and UMass join the MAC East which indirectly helps Buffalo by being close-ish to two more teams. Bowling Green moves to the West because we didn’t want to split up Miami and Ohio, and they’re closer to two West teams than they are to the entire East.
Mountain West Conference
No changes here.
Sun Belt Conference
No changes here either.
Playoff System Option 1
If you win your conference, you get a shot at the championship, what a novel concept.
Eight teams, five conference winners plus three at large bids.
The first-round is hosted at the higher seeds stadium. The Final Four and Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Winning your conference doesn’t mean you get a home game because, you know… math. But you do get a 1-5 seed.
- Boise State
- Appalachian State
- Air Force
Cincinnati, Navy, and Air Force got the at-large bids and I don’t think anyone could be mad at three 11 win teams getting a chance at the title.
I ran each matchup through a simulator and here’s what we got back.
#1 Memphis escapes #8 Air Force, 37-34
#2 Boise State tops #7 Navy, 31-23
#3 Appalachian State falls to #6 Cincinnati, 24-23
#4 FAU beats #5 Miami in the only blowout of the first round, 26-3
#1 Memphis routs #4 FAU, 66-20
#2 Boise State escapes #6 Cincinnati, 24-21
#1 Memphis blows #2 Boise State out, 41-17
Playoff System Option 2
If you win your division, you’re in.
No more conference title games, the division winners will play it out in the playoff.
12 teams, ten division winners plus two at large bids.
Top four division winners get byes.
First two rounds hosted by the higher seed, final four hosted at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
- Boise State
- Appalachian State
- Central Michigan
- Air Force
Navy and Air Force get the two at-large bids as two great 11 win teams.
I ran these matchups through another simulator and here’s what we got.
#5 FAU routs #12 Air Force, 30-6
#6 Louisana gets blown out by #11 Navy, 52-23
#7 UAB gets upset by #10 Central Michigan, 35-34
#8 Hawaii escapes #9 Miami, 21-17
#1 Memphis tops #8 Hawaii, 35-13
#2 Boise State gets upset #10 Central Michigan, 27-20
#3 Cincinnati gets upset by #11 Navy, 21-20
#4 Appalachian State escapes #5 FAU, 27-23
#1 Memphis tops #4 Appalachian State, 35-21
#10 Central Michigan continues cinderella run over #11 Navy, 27-24
#10 Central Michigan routs #1 Memphis, 41-23
This simulation was nuts. I expected to see an upset here and there, but then the computer kept spitting out Navy and Central Michigan wins.
See what happens when you give teams a chance, they can make a magical run. Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?
What do you think the G5 should do if they aren’t given a seat at the CFP table? Feel free to yell at me on Twitter: @AlexFunderburke