If there were a playoff in 2012 ...
It's not going to happen, nor should it, but what if the regular season ended today and we began an eight-team playoff in college football? There would be absolutely no shortage of storylines or riveting games -- and that's just in the first round.
Forget the coming four-team model; this season has provided the perfect example of what makes us want to see eight teams, to build the drama in the additional week of compelling matchups.
Perhaps that will happen in the future. Some ADs and administrators have intimated to me all fall that they don't think the four-team playoff will last the duration of the 12-year deal, regardless of what the playoff brass is saying.
What are they basing that on? The idea that after a few years of seeing that the four-team model is functional (although it isn't likely to solve every debate), playoff officials and the conferences, as well as TV execs, will recognize that one additional layer, going to eight teams, is feasible, highly lucrative and something that fans would really enjoy. It's their hope that something like what you see below might be less than a decade away.
This is a fun exercise, to be sure, but it also gives us an idea of the types of trends, matchups and debates a playoff system will bring.
For our hypothetical journey, I asked RJ Bell of Pregame.com to check around in Vegas and set some lines.
Here were the overall odds for each of the top eight teams in this week's BCS standings to win a hypothetical playoff:
To read Travis Haney's look at what a college football playoff might look like for the 2012 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.