|By RALPH D. RUSSO and ANDREW BAGNATO|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 04 January 2008 19:27|
Everybody wants a college football playoff except the people who matter most.
But we can dream. Right?
Here's one possible eight-team playoff, complete with the winners and a national champion.
Really, is it any crazier than what the Bowl Championship Series has come up with?
The first task is picking a field.
Easy enough: the six major conference champions and two wild cards.
Sorry, Kansas, but we need a little controversy and the Jayhawks get to be the sacrificial lamb.
How nice. We haven't played a game yet and already an entire state is ticked off.
Here's the field: LSU (SEC champ), Ohio State (Big Ten champ), Southern California (Pac-10 champ), Oklahoma (Big 12 champ), West Virginia (Big East champ), Virginia Tech (ACC champ) and two wild cards - Georgia and Missouri.
Next, seed the teams and match them up. We'll use the BCS standings. The result:
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 West Virginia.
No. 2 LSU vs. No. 7 Southern California.
No. 3 Virginia Tech vs. No. 6 Missouri.
No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Georgia.
Where to play the games? Highest seed gets a home game in the first round.
Boy, this is easy. Really, BCS guys. Totally easy. Seriously.
Anyway, play ball.
West Virginia at Ohio State. The Buckeyes had problems with the Illinois option. Wait till they get a load of Pat White, Steve Slaton, Noel Devine and the gang. Playing in the Horseshoe helps Ohio State, but the Mountaineers' underrated and fast defense keeps the Buckeyes in check. The Mountaineers rally around interim coach Bill Stewart and his awe-shucks approach. West Virginia 31, Ohio State 21.
USC at LSU. Tough draw for the preseason favorites to meet in the first round. A classic matchup with future NFL players all over the field. Plus a great subplot with Louisiana high school star John David Booty returning to his home state. The Tigers are the nation's third-best team at forcing turnovers, and they harass the error-prone Booty into a couple of critical picks. LSU 27, USC 24.
Missouri at Virginia Tech. The quintessential rock vs. scissors matchup. The Tigers average 40 points a game, seventh in the nation. The Hokies give up 15 points a game, second in the nation. Blacksburg is a tough place on visitors, but remember what Boston College and Matt Ryan did to the Hokies? Missouri's Chase Daniels leads a Tigers upset. Missouri 21, Virginia Tech 20.
Georgia at Oklahoma. The Sooners are tough to beat in Norman, and the Bulldogs struggled on the road, losing badly at Tennessee and beating Vanderbilt by a field goal. The Sooners' problem is they're a different team in the postseason, as their recent run of bowl losses attests. The Bulldogs pull out a thriller. Georgia 35, Oklahoma 33.
West Virginia vs. Georgia at the Orange Bowl. Remember the 2005 Sugar Bowl? The Mountaineers ran out to a big lead against the Bulldogs and held on. Same thing this time. White and the Mountaineers' fast-paced spread negate the Bulldogs' pass rush. West Virginia's pressure gives QB Matthew Stafford fits. Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown find room to run, but not quite enough. West Virginia 34, Georgia 28.
LSU vs. Missouri at the Sugar Bowl. The Bayou Bengals get a home-field advantage and they'll need it against Daniel, Jeremy Maclin, Tony Temple and that potent Missouri offense. LSU's defense has struggled in the second half of the season with All-American DT Glenn Dorsey banged up. But LSU's powerful offensive line takes over much the way Oklahoma did against Missouri in the Big 12 title game. Can a Tiger be Tiger Bait? LSU 38-28.
West Virginia vs. LSU at the Fiesta Bowl*. Slaton breaks out of his slump with a couple of touchdowns to give the Mountaineers an early 14-3 lead.
In the second quarter, West Virginia's mohawked FB Owen Schmidt and LSU's hit-machine LB Ali Highsmith collide at the line of scrimmage so hard, both break their facemasks. Each decide to play the rest of the game without them.
Trindon Holliday breaks a punt return for a touchdown. Devine breaks a kickoff return for a touchdown. At halftime the speedsters race and both break the world record for the 100 meters, with their pads on.
The Tigers rally and the Mountaineers respond. Schmidt and Highsmith collide again and crack their helmets. Both play the rest of the game without helmets.
With the score 35-33, LSU drives to the West Virginia 3 with 8 seconds left. LSU coach Les Miles decides to take one more crack at the end zone. The Tigers run a double-reverse halfback pass that gets tipped at the line. West Virginia S Eric Wicks rips the ball away from LSU WR Early Doucet. Video review confirms the interception and Stewart completes a championship run reminiscent of Michigan's basketball title in 1989 under Steve Fisher.
West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong removes the interim tag from Stewart's title, saying, ``A West Virginia man will coach West Virginia.''
*Note: The Rose Bowl gets Illinois (Big Ten) vs. Arizona State (Pac-10), a sunny day for the parade and their exclusive TV spot on New Year's Day and couldn't be happier.