|ESPN.com: NCF Nation||[Print without images]|
|Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany's playoff proposal rewards actually winning one's conference.|
Under this format, in the past eight years, 30 of the 32 teams in the playoff would have been conference champions. Only two teams -- No. 2 Alabama (in 2011) and No. 4 Ohio State (in 2005) -- that weren't a conference champion would have qualified for the national semifinals.
Using the conference affiliation for the schools for each season and not their future affiliation, the SEC would have had the most schools in the playoffs from 2004-11 with eight, including seven conference champions. The Pac-12 and Big 12 would have been next, each with six schools, followed by the Big Ten with five (four conference champions, one at-large), the Mountain West with four, the Big East with two and the ACC with one.
Of the Mountain West's four representatives, two were by Utah, now in the Pac-12, and two by TCU, which joins the Big 12 this fall.
|The Utah team that demolished Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl might have gotten to play for the national title under Jim Delany's top-six plan.|
Top 6 ranked teams: No. 1 Oklahoma (Big 12 champ), No. 2 Florida (SEC champ), No. 3 Texas (at-large), No. 4 Alabama (at-large), No. 5 USC (Pac-10 champ), No. 6 Utah (Mountain West champ).
Conference champs in four-team playoff: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Florida, No. 5 USC, No. 6 Utah.
Non-conference champs in four-team playoff: None.
Top-6 teams left out: No. 3 Texas, No. 4 Alabama.
Revisionist history: The good news is that the top four conference champions are all ranked among the nation's top six teams. The bad news is No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Alabama, both of which didn't win their conference, would not be included in the playoff. Lower ranked, but conference champion, USC (No. 5) and Utah (No. 6) would have made the field.