How come the hoops junkies get to have all the fun in March?
Yeah, we have spring football to keep us from going into complete withdrawal, but that’s not the same as the real thing.
So we’re going to take a page out of Washington State coach Mike Leach’s playbook and create our own version of March Madness in football. Leach has suggested that college football should reduce the number of regular-season games to 10 and use a 64-team field to decide the national championship.
We’ve heeded his call and, using ESPN’s preseason FPI rankings as a guide, we’ve seeded the teams from 1 to 64 and will play out the 2017 postseason round by round, just as they do in hoops.
(1) Florida State 30, (3) USC 27: There has never been any doubt about Deondre Francois‘ toughness. In the opener of the two historic Final Four football games, the redshirt sophomore takes his biggest step yet as a quarterback — and on his biggest stage — by throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rally the unbeaten Seminoles to the national championship game.
(1) Alabama 21, (5) Michigan 16: Who didn’t want to see this matchup? Nick Saban vs. Jim Harbaugh. While the two coaching giants don’t come to blows over satellite camps during their pregame chat, their two teams trade blows on the field in a punishing struggle that comes down to the Crimson Tide holding the Wolverines on fourth-and-1 just inside the Alabama 20-yard line. Harbaugh is furious afterward about what he says was the kind of “SEC-tilted spot that Paul Finebaum would have made.”
(1) Alabama 35, (1) Florida State 31: These same two teams opened the season in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a comeback win by the Seminoles that left us thirsting for more, and we get more with a rematch in the national championship game. Florida State strikes early and leads most of the way. Alabama’s running game, in particular the Tide’s deep stable of running backs, changes the complexion of the game in the fourth quarter, leading to Saban’s fifth national championship at Alabama in the past nine years. Saban celebrates by spending an extra half-day at his house on Lake Burton in Georgia and even decides to open a Twitter account.
First round: (1) Ohio State over (16) Colorado State, (2) Penn State over (15) Boise State, (3) USC over (14) West Virginia, (4) Miami over (13) BYU, (12) Duke over (5) Tennessee, (6) Texas over (11) Missouri, (10) Georgia Tech over (7) Baylor, (8) Kansas State over (9) Mississippi State
Second round: (1) Ohio State over (8) Kansas State, (2) Penn State over (10) Georgia Tech, (3) USC over (6) Texas, (4) Miami over (12) Duke
Regional semifinals: (1) Ohio State over (4) Miami, (3) USC over (2) Penn State
Regional final: (3) USC over (1) Ohio State
First round: (1) Florida State over (16) Minnesota, (2) Auburn over (15) Indiana, (3) Washington over (14) Nebraska, (4) Georgia over (13) Oregon State, (12) Texas Tech over (5) Notre Dame, (11) Pitt over (6) Oregon, (7) Washington State over (10) Iowa, (8) Northwestern over (9) Arkansas
Second round: (1) Florida State over (8) Northwestern, (7) Washington State over (2) Auburn, (11) Pitt over (3) Washington, (4) Georgia over (12) Texas Tech
Regional semifinal: (1) Florida State over (4) Georgia, (7) Washington State over (11) Pitt
Regional final: (1) Florida State over (7) Washington State
First round: (1) Alabama over (16) San Diego State, (2) Clemson over (15) Michigan State, (3) Stanford over (14) Wake Forest, (4) Florida over (13) Utah, (5) TCU over (12) Syracuse, (6) UCLA over (11) Memphis, (10) Arizona State over (7) Texas A&M, (8) Virginia Tech over (9) Kentucky
Second round: (1) Alabama over (8) Virginia Tech, (2) Clemson over (10) Arizona State, (3) Stanford over (6) UCLA, (4) Florida over (5) TCU
Regional semifinals: (1) Alabama over (4) Florida, (2) Clemson over (3) Stanford
Regional final: (1) Alabama over (2) Clemson
First round: (1) Oklahoma over (16) California, (2) LSU over (15) Houston, (3) Wisconsin over (14) Arizona, (13) South Florida over (4) Louisville, (5) Michigan over (12) Vanderbilt, (11) Colorado over (6) NC State, (7) Oklahoma State over (10) Ole Miss, (8) South Carolina over (9) North Carolina
Second round: (1) Oklahoma over (8) South Carolina, (7) Oklahoma State over (2) LSU, (11) Colorado over (3) Wisconsin, (5) Michigan over (13) South Florida
Regional semifinals: (5) Michigan over (1) Oklahoma, (7) Oklahoma State over (11) Colorado
Regional final: (5) Michigan over (7) Oklahoma State