What If: 2021 College Football 12 Team Playoff — Round 1
What would have happened if there had been a twelve-team playoff from the top twelve teams in college football in 2021?
Well, I decided to find out.
I got the rankings from College Poll Archive on December 5th. This was after all the conference championship games but before all the bowl games.
I used What If Sports to simulate each matchup. All games were played on a neutral site.
Here we go!
Game 1: #9 Oklahoma State vs. #8 Ole Miss.
This one wasn’t even close
Oklahoma State mopped the floor with the Ole Miss Rebels, thanks to Ole Miss being completely unable to stop the Cowboys’ offense.
Game 2: #5 Notre Dame vs. #12 BYU.
This game was much closer.
A bit of an upset here, as BYU was the 12-seed! The box score reveals how Notre Dame’s mistakes likely cost them this game.
While Notre Dame had 445 yards of total offense compared to the Cougars’ 377, it was the three interceptions thrown by Jack Coan that likely cost the Fighting Irish a chance to move on in the playoffs.
Game 3: #11 Michigan State vs. #6 Baylor.
This one was a heart-breaker for Baylor.
Baylor was leading 28–17 going into the 4th quarter and gave up 18 points in the final quarter to blow the lead and the game.
This was a rather evenly matched game — Baylor’s defense just decided to take the fourth quarter off, which cost them.
Game 4: #7 Ohio State vs. #10 Utah.
This game went about how you probably expected.
Ohio State just had too much offensive firepower for Utah to hang with them. C.J. Stroud threw for 439 yards, and Jaxon-Smith Njigba had 132 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Next up is round two!
The top four seeds had a bye in round one, but we’ll see the top teams in action in the second round.