Monday, January 24, 2011

College Football Championship

For my hypothetical college football playoffs, here is the simulated championship game after six exciting weeks of playoffs.

Stanford 40, Florida St. 37
Stanford was able to hang on and claim the college football championship in an amazing fashion, fighting through three overtime periods to seal the win with a 23 yard field goal by Nate Whitaker. Neither team was able to stake a lead of more than seven points for the entire day. E.J. Manuel hit Taiwan Easterling for a 10 yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in the 1st quarter, but the score was tied 10-10 by halftime. The teams traded touchdowns in the 3rd quarter. In the fourth quarter the teams continued to swap the lead, with Dustin Hopkins hitting a 37 yard field goal as time expired to tie the game 27-27.

Both teams scored field goals in the first overtime, and then they both scored touchdowns in the second. In the third overtime, Florida St. had the ball first and E.J. Manuel threw an interception on 3rd and long. Stanford took over and started with a 17 yard run by Stepfan Taylor that set up Whitaker's short field goal to win the game.

Taylor finished with 127 yards while Andrew Luck threw for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns, two of which went to Doug Baldwin.

Now that college football season is finished, I'll spend the next few months posting the results of previous year's playoffs that I have simulated. I'll also eventually post the scheduling system I've used to determine which teams go to which region.

The 2010-2011 season is behind us, so it's time to start discussing what's coming up in 2011-2012. The new conference alignments should be interesting, since now there will be a championship game for the Pac-12 and the Big 10, but not for the Big 12. Who do you think is the favorite for next year?

Monday, January 17, 2011

College Football Playoffs, Round 5

The semifinal results are in.

Rose Bowl
Stanford 36, Arkansas 31

Stepfan Taylor had another tremendous game for the Cardinal, rushing for 166 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead Stanford to a Rose Bowl victory over Arkansas. Ryan Mallett's four interceptions were too much for the Razorbacks to overcome, even though he also threw for 437 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stanford heads back to Glendale, AZ for the championship game next Saturday.

Orange Bowl
Florida St. 34, Alabama 23

Even though Mark Ingram ran for 155 yards and a touchdown for Alabama, it was the Seminoles defense that controlled the game and allowed Florida St. to advance to the championship. They recorded three sacks and three interceptions to contain Alabama while Jermaine Thomas contributed with 2 touchdowns and 54 yards. Florida State also recorded touchdowns on a Chris Thompson run and an E.J. Manuel pass to Rodney Smith.

Next week is the big championship game between two teams who have worked hard to make it there. Stanford entered the tournament seeded 11th as the highest ranked team without a conference championship, while Florida St. was seeded 26th after losing the ACC championship. Who do you think would win in a real championship game that came at the end of an exciting playoff tournament?

Monday, January 10, 2011

College Football Playoffs, Round 4

West Region Championship
Stanford 43, Nebraska 24

Stepfan Taylor led the Cardinal to a Fiesta Bowl victory as he rushed for 110 yards and 3 touchdowns. Anthony Wilkerson and Andrew Luck also added rushing touchdowns of their own. Stanford led 30-17 at halftime and prevented Nebraska from scoring the entire second half until Taylor Martinez connected with Niles Paul for a touchdown in the final two minutes. Stanford advances to the Rose Bowl semifinal next week.

Central Region Championship
Arkansas 33, TCU 3

The final unbeaten team fell in the Cotton Bowl as the TCU offense was shut down by the Razorback defense. TCU had only 267 yards of total offense, compared to Arkansas's production of 532 yards. Zach Hocker kicked four field goals, including a 49 yarder, and Knile Davis ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Razorbacks to victory. Ryan Mallett threw for 327 yards including a 50 yard pass to D.J. Williams who totaled 104 yards for the day.

Midwest Region Championship
Alabama 45, Michigan St. 13

After a slow start for both teams, Alabama led 21-6 at the end of the third quarter before blowing the game open in the fourth. Greg McElroy connected with Julio Jones at the beginning of the fourth to take the score to 28-6, then Trent Richardson scored twice in the next ten minutes on runs of 30 and 31 yards. Richardson finished the game with three touchdowns and 154 yards rushing, while McElroy threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Edwin Baker ran for 134 yards and a touchdown for Michigan State.

East Region Championship
Florida St. 34, West Virginia 17

Chris Thompson ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns and Ty Jones added two touchdowns to lead the Seminoles to victory in Orlando on Saturday. Florida State kept the Mountaineer defense off of the field for most of the game, holding Noel Devine to only 56 yards rushing. Geno Smith threw for only 148 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Florida State heads south to the Orange Bowl for their semifinal matchup with Alabama.

The semifinals are set, with Stanford playing Arkansas in the Rose Bowl, and Alabam meeting Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Stanford finished second in the PAC-10 with their only loss this year at Oregon. Arkansas finished second in the SEC West, having only lost to Alabama and Auburn. Alabama finished in the middle of the SEC, losing to LSU, South Carolina, and Auburn. Florida St. won the Atlantic division of the ACC but lost in the championship game to Virginia Tech. Florida St.'s first round game was against the Connecticut team that beat West Virginia.

So who do you think would win? I think whoever would win the Stanford-Arkansas matchup would win the championship, since both of those teams seem better then either team in the Orange Bowl. Check out the updated bracket here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

College Football Playoffs, Round 3

Nebraska 21, Arizona 14
Arizona's win streak was ended by Nebraska in the Insight Bowl in Tempe, AZ. Taylor Martinez led the Cornhuskers with 3 touchdown passes for 161 yards, along with 62 yards rushing. Nebraska will remain in Arizona for the West Region Championship match-up with Stanford.

Stanford 46, Hawaii 31
Stepfan Taylor ran all over Hawaii, scoring 3 touchdowns while rushing for 132 yards. Andrew Luck contributed two touchdown passes and 293 yards for Stanford. Hawaii had a big 2nd quarter scoring 17, but Stanford dominated the other three for the victory.

TCU 27, Missouri 20
TCU escaped a fourth quarter rally by Missouri and pulled off the win in the Alamo Bowl. Down 27-10 at the end of the fourth quarter, Missouri started to comeback on a Grant Ressel field goal. A later drive was capped by a De'Vion Moore touchdown with just over a minute left, but the onside kick was recovered by TCU. Andy Dalton led TCU with 208 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Arkansas 38, Oklahoma 17
Knile Davis led the Razorbacks to a Sun Bowl victory with 188 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. Arkansas's defense came up big as well, with 8 different players recording a sack. Arkansas is now set to play TCU in the Central Region championship next week.

Michigan St. 38, Auburn 17
Auburn could not get their offense going as they converted only 3 of 13 3rd attempts and Cam Newton threw two interceptions. They opened the game with a field goal and scored on a 73 yard punt return in the 2nd quarter, while the Spartans scored one or more touchdowns in every quarter. Edwin Baker ran for 234 yards and a touchdown while Kirk Cousins threw for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Michigan St. heads to New Orleans for the Midwest Region championship at the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama 24, Wisconsin 14
High winds played havoc with the kicking game, but that didn't stop the Alabama offense as Greg McElroy threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns, and Mark Ingram ran for 169 yards. The Crimson Tide defense stymied Wisconsin all day, allowing only 3 of 13 3rd down conversions. Alabama will face another Big 10 team next week when they take on Michigan St. in the Sugar Bowl.

West Virginia 34, Florida International 20
Florida International's unlikely run in the playoffs ended in the Outback Bowl, as Noel Devine ran for 174 yards and a touchdown to advance the Mountaineers in the playoffs. West Virginia led 20-13 at halftime, but a Devine touchdown in the 3rd and a Geno Smith scramble for a touchdown in the 4th put the game away.

Florida St. 33, Maryland 24
Three field goals in the fourth quarter secured the victory for Florida State. Bert Reed tied the game at 24 near the end of the 3rd on a 45 yard pass from EJ Manuel, but it was Dustin Hopkins who was the hero in the fourth quarter. The Seminole kicker made field goals of 36, 49, and 38 yards to advance Florida St. to next week's Capital One Bowl.

So the regional championship games are set. Nebraska will face Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, TCU will play Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl, Michigan St. will play Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and West Virginia matches up against Florida St. in the Capital One Bowl. You can see the complete bracket here. TCU is the only #1 seed and the only conference champion remaining. Will they be able to make it all the way to the championship?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

College Football Playoffs, Round 2

The second round of my hypothetical playoffs would have taken place last weekend. Thanks to the magic of, these are the results of the simulations I ran.

Arizona 20, Oregon 16
Arizona scores the biggest upset possible, as the #9 seed Arizona beat #1 seed Oregon. While Darron Thomas was able to throw for a respectable 252 yds, he did not record any touchdown passes compared to Nick Foles, who threw for 341 yds and 2 touchdowns. Arizona goes home next week to play in the Insight Bowl against Nebraska.

Nebraska 30, Nevada 14
Nebraska scored two touchdowns in the first two minutes of the second quarter to take control of the game. While Vai Taua rushed for over 100 yds. and a touchdown, it wasn't enough to overcome the Nebraska defense.

Stanford 42, Utah 19
Utah committed four turnovers and Nate Whitaker kicked 5 field goals for Stanford that lead to Stanford's win over Utah. The score was 21-15 Stanford at the end of the 3rd quarter, but Stanford scored three touchdowns in the 4th quarter to put the game away. Andrew Luck finished with 263 yds, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Hawaii 35, Boise St. 21
Hawaii's upset victory over Boise St. means that the two top seeds in the West have been eliminated. Bryant Moniz passed for 386 yds and 2 touchdowns. Boise St. started the game with two touchdowns, before Moniz hit Kealoha Pilares for a 64 yd. score at the end of the first quarter. Alex Green scored two touchdowns in the second quarter and another in the third as Hawaii took control of the game.

TCU 37, Texas Tech 13
TCU's unbeaten streak continued behind the rushing of Ed Wesley. He accumulated 182 yards and two touchdowns, including one for 69 yards. Texas Tech's Taylor Potts was intercepted three times while throwing for only one touchdown.

Missouri 30, LSU 12
Henry Josey had a breakout game for Missouri, running for 91 yards and two touchdowns in their Texas Bowl victory over LSU. LSU was held to only 116 yards rushing with half of that coming on a Michael Ford third quarter run. LSU was kept out of the end zone all day, with all their points coming from Josh Jasper field goals.

Arkansas 38, Oklahoma St. 34
Ryan Mallet threw two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to lead Arkansas over Oklahoma St. Arkansas led 24-17 at halftime, but Oklahoma St. scored two unanswered touchdowns and a field goal to stake a 34-24 lead. The pass to Arkansas's Jarius Wright brought them within 3 and the pass to Austin Tucker gave the Razorbacks the victory.

Oklahoma 27, Texas A&M 26
Cameron Kenney caught a 22 yd. pass from Landry Jones with 11 seconds left to come back and beat Texas A&M. That was one of three touchdown passes by Landry Jones, who threw for 338 yards and no interceptions.

Auburn 45, Notre Dame 23
Notre Dame started the game by posting 10 points in the first 10 minutes, but couldn't contain Auburn as the Tigers followed up with five unanswered touchdowns. Notre Dame was hindered by their quarterback play, with Tommy Rees throwing 4 interceptions and Nate Montana adding one as well.

Michigan St. 24, Ohio St. 23
Due to the Big 10's schedule, these two top ranked teams did not get a chance to meet during the regular season. So they met in the post-season, in a game that wasn't decided until the final few minutes. That's when Dan Conroy kicked a 48 yd field goal to give Michigan St. the victory. Ohio St. had started strong, scoring the first two touchdowns of the game. But Le'Veon Bell was able to score two touchdowns in the second half to get Michigan St. back in the game.

Alabama 48, Miami (OH) 9
Greg McElroy led Alabama in their route of MAC champion Miami by throwing for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns, 3 of them in the first quarter. Mark Ingram contributed 158 yards and a touchdown.

Wisconsin 22, Mississippi St. 7
John Clay led the Badgers with 100 yards and two touchdowns, as Wisconsin ground a win against Mississippi St. Wisconsin only had three plays over 20 yards, but they controlled the ball for 36:47, not giving the Bulldogs any chance to get started. Mississippi St. finished with only 240 yards of total offense.

Florida International 20, Virginia Tech 9
Florida International came out swinging, posting a 17-0 halftime lead. The Panther defense was able to stifle Virginia Tech's attack, not allowing any of Virginia Tech's rushers to get over 50 yards and holding Tyrod Taylor to 176 yards throwing. The Sun Belt champions will stay in Florida for their next game in Tampa against West Virginia.

West Virginia 30, South Carolina 13
West Virginia took advantage of a big second quarter, scoring 17 points to stake a 24-7 halftime lead. Noel Devine led the Mountaineer rushing attack with 215 yards and a touchdown.

Florida St. 24, Connecticut 10
While Connecticut may be more accustomed to the snow than Florida St., it was the Seminoles who took the win on Saturday. Beau Reliford exploded for 116 yards, most of which came on a 87 yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Jordan Todman ran for 152 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies.

Maryland 50, Central Florida 7
Maryland completely dominated the UCF Knights on Saturday scoring 41 of their points in the first half. Danny O'Brien threw for 303 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Da'Rel Scott added 125 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Overall, a pretty exciting weekend of football. There were two big upsets in the west with Arizona beating Oregon and Hawaii beating Boise St. Florida International had the most likely upset with their win over Virginia Tech. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan St. advanced on game winning plays in the final minutes. Check out the updated bracket here. 2011 kicks off in a great way with the 16 remaining teams looking to advance. What do you think of last week's results, and who do you think will win next week?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Playoff results, round 1

Arizona 52, Tulsa 17
Arizona lit up the scoreboard in their first round win over Tulsa. QB Nick Foles was the player of the game with over 400 yds passing and 6 touchdowns.

Texas Tech 38, Baylor 24
Texas Tech jumped out to a 14 point lead in the 1st quarter and never looked back. Taylor Potts threw for over 300 yds and Detron Lewis ran for over 100 in the Red Raiders' win over Big 12 rival Baylor.

Notre Dame 25, Northern Illinois 14
David Ruffer kicked 4 field goals as Notre Dame beat Northern Illinois to advance to the next round.

Florida International 29, Navy 13
The Sun Belt champions proved they belonged in the playoffs by winning their first round game against Navy. While Navy's defense didn't give up many big plays, Jack Griffin was able to lead the Golden Panthers to victory with 5 field goals.

The updated bracket can be found here:

Comment below and let everyone know who you think would be the winners in the next round. To be honest, I'm more excited about these imaginary playoffs then I am about the real bowl games.