Using the same criteria described previously on this blog, I determined which NCAA Division I FBS men's football teams would qualify for the playoffs and ranked them based on their 2014 season results.
Recall that the criteria were
- RPI (which consisted of won-loss percentage 10%, road won-loss percentage 20%, strength of schedule 25%, opponent's strength of schedule 25%, and strength of victory 20%),
- record against all teams under consideration (minimum 3 games),
- total wins,
- record in the last 4 games,
- road record,
- Head-to-head wins (which could count more than once), and
- record against common opponents.
For determining percentages in RPI, overtime losses were treated as ties (1/2 win, 1/2 loss). Games against FCS opponents were not counted in won-loss percentage, were counted in road W-L percentage if it was an improvement, were counted in strength of schedule, and were not counted in opponent's strength of schedule or in strength of victory. If a team did not have three games against TUC, that comparison was ignored.
Teams under consideration were those with a WLT percentage of at least .500 against FBS teams and an RPI of at least .5000. Automatic berths were given to the conference champions. These were the winners of the conference championship games (Florida State, Ohio State, Marshall, Northern Illinois, Boise State, Oregon, Alabama), and the champions of the other conferences (Memphis by head-to-head records with Cincinnati and Central Florida; Baylor by head-to-head over TCU; Georgia Southern by record).
Only Memphis and Georgia Southern were not TUCs by RPI.
The TUCs, and automatic qualifiers, by RPI were:
74. Georgia Southern
Northwestern (4-7) and Tennessee (5-6) were removed from consideration.
The field was compared and groups of four teams were assigned to regional bowl games. The bowl games selected were: Bitcoin Bowl in St Petersburg, Fla. (South Florida as host); Music City Bowl in Nashville (Vanderbilt as host); Sun Bowl in El Paso (UTEP); Texas Bowl in Houston (Houston); New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque (New Mexico); Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif. (San José State); Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx (Army); and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (Indiana). None of the host schools qualified.
My principles for creating the brackets:
- The #1 overall seed must be conference champion.
- Once conference champion is seeded, other teams from that conf. may take seeds 2-4 overall.
- Seeds 5-32 are available to any team, but automatic berths must be respected.
- Assign full bracket via pairwise.
- Adjust to avoid conference matchups in the first round, and the second round, if possible.
- Assign teams to locations; adjust brackets to include host schools.
- Adjust for conference representation.
- Adjust, if necessary, for BCS/FBS balance.
The 32 qualifying teams, ranked by pairwise (automatic qualifiers in bold ):
Florida State goes to St Petersburg.
Ohio State goes to Indianapolis.
Oregon goes to San José.
UCLA goes to Houston.
Preserving the brackets as much as possible,
Alabama goes to El Paso.
Boise State goes to Albuquerque.
Marshall goes to the Bronx.
Georgia Tech goes to Nashville.
The St Pete and Nashville regionals will play in the Orange Bowl (hosted by U of Miami).
The El Paso and Houston regionals will play in the Sugar Bowl (hosted by Tulane).
The Albuquerque and Santa Clara regionals will play in the Fiesta Bowl (hosted by Arizona State).
The Indianapolis and Bronx regionals will play in the Rose Bowl (hosted by UCLA).
The Final Four will play at the Cotton Bowl, hosted by TCU, with Orange vs Sugar and Fiesta vs Rose.
The complete schedule:
|Bitcoin Regional, St Pete
Georgia Southern vs Florida State
Wisconsin vs Georgia
|Gildan Regional, ABQ
Virginia Tech vs Boise State
Ole Miss vs Northern Illinois
|Music City Regional, Nashville
Louisville vs Georgia Tech
Mississippi St vs Texas Christian
|Foster Farms Regional, Santa Clara
Cincinnati vs Oregon
Oklahoma vs Michigan State
|Sun Bowl Regional, El Paso
Boston College vs Alabama
Kansas State vs Arizona
|Pinstripe Regional, Bronx
Maryland vs Marshall
Arizona State vs Baylor
|Texas Regional, Houston
Navy vs UCLA
Clemson vs Missouri
|Lucas Oil Regional, Indianapolis
Memphis vs Ohio State
Colorado State vs Utah