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Jon Joseph

2024 Playoff - Puddles Flight to Atlanta will be Turbulent

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From the comments I have read on OBD, there is confusion regarding the structure of the 2024 Playoff. The confusion is not surprising considering the format will seed lesser-ranked teams in the top four seeds, with a first-round bye, and knock out teams that finish in the Playoff Committee's top twelve with on-field results that should lead to a spot in the Playoffs. 


CBS Sports has an article up today, that uses Dennis Dodd's post-spring top 25 rankings to project the Playoff field, seeding, game locations, and projected game results leading to Ohio State playing Georgia for the championship on January 20, 2025, in Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia would have the benefit of playing a 'home-field' game like Arizona basketball would have had in The Tournament if it had made the Final 4 in Glendale, Arizona.


CBS's projection has Oregon ranked No. 3, and seeded No. 5 in the Playoff.



In this bracket, the No. 3 team in the country will enter as the No. 5 seed. The No. 14 team jumps up to the No. 4 seed. That's how the new system works


Ohio State is ranked No. 2 and would be seeded the same in the Playoff. For the Committee to rank Oregon No. 3 at season's end, Oregon would most likely have to rematch against Ohio State in the B1G Football Championship game to be played in Indianapolis on December 2, 2024, the day before the Committee releases its final ranking of the 2024 season.


The champion game in Indianapolis would be Oregon's 13th game of the season. Instead of a Georgia/Ohio State final, if Oregon was one of the two finalists, the championship game would be the Ducks 17th game of the season, the equivalent of an NFL regular season. Ohio State would have a first-round bye as would No. 1 Georgia,  No.3 seed 12th-ranked Utah, and No. 4 seed 14th-ranked Clemson. The championship game for any of these four would be the 16th game of the season. 


Oregon's first-round game would be contested in Autzen Stadium versus the 12th-seed Group of 5 representative. The other three on-campus 1st-round games would be played at the homes of SEC teams. Oregon's G5 matchup in 2023-24 in the Fiesta Bowl did not go well for Liberty. Oregon would win this game against the G5 rep and advance to play No. 4 seed Clemson.


This is where the Playoff format becomes even more questionable. Clemson 14th ranked by the Committee, but as the Playoff's 3-seed, would have the choice of game venue. Ohio State would play a quarter-final game in the Rose Bowl, Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, Utah in the Fiesta Bowl, and Oregon would play Clemson in the Peach Bowl, played at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Clemson fans would have a two-and-a-half hour drive to Atlanta, all on Interstate 85 South. Oregon fans would have a thirty-nine-hour drive, with twists and turns before finishing the drive on Interstate 80 East. 


Oregon defeats Clemson. Next up comes No. 1 seed Georgia. The semifinal games will be played in the Orange Bowl in Miami and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Understandably, Georgia opts for the nearer-by Orange Bowl. Ducks fans have more miles to travel for the semi-final game than the quarter-final game. Win this game and Puddles will be back in Atlanta for the 17th game of the season. And the CBS projections have Ohio State playing its semifinal game against Texas in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.


In 2025, the Peach and the Fiesta Bowls will be the semi-final sites so Puddles could have a semi-final flight closer to home. The champ game will be played in the Orange Bowl in Miami. Are you getting the drift? In 2024-25 and 2025-26, ten of the 14 playoff games contested off-campus will be played in Dixie. According to this CBS projection, three of the four first-round on-campus games in 2024-25 would be hosted by SEC teams that played eight and not nine conference games. 


I reiterate that it is perfectly understandable for fans to be confused by the Playoff format in 2024-25 and 2025-26. Hopefully, B1G commissioner Tony Petitti will not only push for a format change in 2026-27 but also argue for more on-campus Playoff games, and if bowls continue to be used for the quarter-finals and games after that, for LA's Sofi Stadium, the Raiders Stadium in Las Vegas, and enclosed stadiums in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Detroit to be included in the Playoffs sites rota. 


17 games after a stretch of eight in a row without a break during the regular season. Possible travel to Indianapolis, then home, and then to Atlanta, Miami, and Atlanta again. WOW!

Edited by Jon Joseph
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Great run down.

It’s pretty ridiculous that conference champions automatically get an advantage. You could conceivably have a 7-5 second place finisher score an upset in their championship game and get a top 4 seed for winning that one particular game. A team with 4 or 5 losses should never get a top seed, auto-bid is already generous enough if something like this happens. 

Learn from March Madness.

We would have been a 1 seed last season with this logic.

Edited by JabbaNoBargain
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Thanks Jon for the excellent break down.


While I agree that a lower ranked conference champ getting a 1st round bye doesn't seem fair, winning your conference deserves reward.

I also don't like the subjective poll rankings. Too much ESPN influence.

Since when do we agree entirely with the polls?


I have 2 major concerns:

1- the number of games is too many for students (yes, they are getting paid, but they still have classes) pro's can spend all day rehabbing an injury if necessary. 


2-the number of inter-conference games must be the same. And the OOC games also must be in line the same, ie. same conference level teams, etc.


Traveling, while tough, isn't so bad when on private charter flights (not commercial), though flying coast to coast seems problematic for pro sports.


The odds of a 7-5 team making playoff are pretty slim. What's worse is a 18th(or worse) ranked G5 team bumping a #12 ranked team. The G5 conferences have been weakened by realignment, especially from the Big12.


And a team winning it all, playing their 17th game, will always be the underdog.


Alas, no system will seem fair until the conferences realign again. 

Maybe separate leagues are now needed.

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While unlikely, there have been quite a few recent examples of teams with 3+ losses making their conference title game. Why risk it? Win your conference championship game, sure you get the reward of an auto bid, just like hoops...but seeding should be based on ranking. It's such a simple fix, I don't understand the upside of potentially having a team go 8-5 and getting a #4 seed. Lot of perks with those first 4 seeds.

Edited by JabbaNoBargain
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Joel Klatt’s “top 25”

1-Ohio St




5-Ole Miss




9-Penn St


11-Notre Dame

12-Florida St

Xx – no Group of 5 Champ in his Top 25


If that pre-season prediction was duplicated in the Final Playoff Ranking:

1-Ohio St – Big Ten Champ with first round bye

2-Georgia – SEC Champ with bye

6-Utah – Big12 Champ with bye

12-Florida St – ACC Champ with bye

11-Notre Dame – out, replaced by Group of 5 Champ


3-Texas in Austin vs 11-Group of 5, game winner vs 12-Florida St in Sugar

4-Oregon in Eugene vs 10-Mizzou, winner vs 6-Utah in Fiesta

5-Ole Miss in Oxford vs 9-Penn St, winner vs 2-Georgia in Peach

7-Alabama in Tuscaloosa vs 8-Michigan, winner vs 1-Ohio St in Rose


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Thanks, HDuck.


I considered using 'friend of the B1G'' Klatt's top 25 but it presents a worse playoff case for Oregon than Dennis Dodd's projection. Dodd would have 5-seed Oregon playing a G5 team in Eugene. Klatt has Oregon in the 1st-round playing against an SEC opponent. It would be nice to play Utah in the Fiesta Bowl instead of Clemson in the Peach Bowl but I would not trade the opener against a G5 team for a game vs. the SEC. Certainly not with the playoff grind of games following a season and conference champ game grind. 


Klatt like Dodd has the SEC receiving a 1st round bye and hosting 3 of the 4 1st-round games, Perfect for the SEC and horse bleep for the B1G which plays 9 conference games instead of the 8 played by the SEC. If SEC teams ipso facto receive higher playoff seeds simply because they play in the SEC then let's call the whole thing off. 


Add UNC and Notre Dame to the B1G, and Clemson and FSU to the SEC, and play a World Series post-season with the same number of SEC and B1G teams. 


Playing eight instead of nine conference games and playing three cupcakes, at least, Mizzou and Ole Miss play 4 in 2024, OOC gives the SEC a playoff millions of dollars leg up every season. Then factor in the SEC advantage in Klatt's scenario, of three playoff games in 2024-25 being played in the West, the Rose and Fiesta Bowls, and Mizzou at Oregon. Eight playoff games would be played in Dixie including three SEC home games and the title game in Atlanta. 


I do not want to see 'Sucker-Dumb' carry over from the Pac to the B1G. If Tony Petitti cannot see that the SEC has playoff structural advantages something is rotten at B1G headquarters. BTW, the SEC commissioner was one of the architects of the 12-team structure. Now modified for seven instead of six at large teams to participate and from what I've seen preseason, the 7th team is always an SEC team.


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On 5/9/2024 at 6:36 PM, JabbaNoBargain said:

While unlikely, there have been quite a few recent examples of teams with 3+ losses making their conference title game. Why risk it? Win your conference championship game, sure you get the reward of an auto bid, just like hoops...but seeding should be based on ranking. It's such a simple fix, I don't understand the upside of potentially having a team go 8-5 and getting a #4 seed. Lot of perks with those first 4 seeds.

Seeding should be obvious. I agree. When the 12-team playoff was designed to include 5 P5 conference champs and Notre Dame, and unanimity was required for a format change before 2026-27, giving the Pac-12, B12, and ACC champs preferred seeds made political sense. Today, this makes no sense.


But it is what it is for the next two seasons. 

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This is the first year of the 12-team playoff. How will the new format affect the Ohio State football program's preparation throughout the season?


Interesting article on how the Buckeyes are preparing for the 12-team playoff.

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No. 1 Boise State, 3-0 vs the Ducks, is coming to town in Week 2 with one of the best RBs in the nation and a 5* QB recruit. Looking at the comparative schedules a 10-3 Boise State should be ranked higher than a 13-0 Liberty. For the second season in a row, Liberty does not have a P4 opponent on its schedule and CUSA is the weakest conference in the G5. But. CUSA is adding Missouri State.



Here's an early look at the 2024 Group of Five hierarchy after spring practices



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