With the conclusion of conference championship games and the selection of the actual 4-team College Football Playoff, today is the day — the Student Union 64-team bracket is here.
For those who missed the explanation of how the SU64 tournament will work and the criteria used to determine the field/seedings, read through my explanation article from last week here.
Without further delay, here is the SU64 bracket, determined by yours truly.
The regions, like the NCAA basketball tournament, are: West (Oklahoma), Midwest (Alabama), East (Georgia), South (Clemson). I stuck with the four teams earning actual CFP bids as top seeds (because I think the committee’s decision was right), but had Oklahoma as the #1 overall seed in the tournament with Clemson second, Georgia third and Alabama fourth.
Based off the criteria explained in my first article, I ranked every bowl eligible team from 1 to 81, from Oklahoma to Western Kentucky. Grouping teams by four into their seeds, I placed the teams into regions with geography in mind as best as possible. The first two rounds will be simulated with the “home field advantage” option turned on before going to neutral site, so I figured trying to fit teams geographically would be most realistic. Some changes had to be made to avoid in-conference matchups in the first round.
Looking back at the process and the shiny new bracket, there were a few takeaways.
First, the last four teams out (ranked 65-68) were: Colorado State, Northern Illinois, Appalachian State and Central Michigan. Every bowl eligible P5 team was included, mostly because of their advantage in strength of schedule (I used the rankings from SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, which you can find here). All 6-6 Group of 5 teams were left out, excluding 16-seed Temple who had by far the toughest schedule among these teams. The teams left out were all G5 teams with schedules ranked 100 or worse according to Connelly’s metric.
The breakdown by conference is as follows:
Pac 12 & SEC-9
Big 12 & Big 10-8
Mountain West & Conference USA-4
MAC & Independents-2
The tournament ended up a bit top-heavy with Power 5 teams, but every G5 conference was represented and for the most part with multiple teams (sorry Fun Belt). Central Florida, Troy, Memphis, Fresno State and Boise State all host games as 8 seeds or better and I have a feeling that some G5 teams like USF, Navy, San Diego State or Florida Atlantic could sneak through with an upset.
As far as intriguing games in the first round, there are plenty. Mississippi State and West Virginia were both given worse seeds because of injuries to their starting quarterbacks, and it just so happens that now they’re facing each other. The 5 vs 12 games are always sneaky good in basketball and there are some gems here too, most notably Northwestern-USF, LSU-Florida State and Michigan-UCLA. Oregon-Boise State and Boston College-Iowa are real-life bowl game matchups. Some other teams on upset alert not yet mentioned are 5-seed Washington State vs. #12 Toledo, #6 NC State vs. #11 Missouri and #3 UCF vs. #14 Virginia.
With the bracket out, the madness has still yet to begin. Simulations will start Friday with the West region first round and will continue on with the schedule below. Stay tuned.
December 4 – selection Monday
December 8 – West region first round
December 11 – Midwest region first round
December 15 – East region first round
December 18 – South region first round
December 22 – West/Midwest regions second round
December 26 – East/South regions second round
December 29 – Sweet 16
January 1 – Elite Eight
January 5 – semifinals
January 8 – National Championship