US LBM Coaches Survey Week 14
USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken explains this week’s US LBM Coaches Poll and discusses how the undefeated NFL will miss the playoffs after finishing fifth.
The 12-team playoff arrives a year too late to prevent a great deal of anger from some quarters of college football fans — sorry, Seminoles. But let’s try to lighten the mood a little and pretend, just for fun, that the powers that be in the sport have gotten together and introduced a 12-team format for this season.
That wouldn’t stop all the screaming, of course. Someone will be the first team out no matter the size of the field, and fans of the fifth team will complain about having to play an extra game. But that’s better than being left out completely, right?
Postseason lineup: Full rundown of the entire 2023 bowl schedule
So again, just for fun, here’s what the duos will look like based on the final CFP Top 25. Keep in mind that potential matchups won’t necessarily align with this season’s New Year’s Six bowl assignments, as they are dictated by conference ties. But if we sorted the field by seeding, with the top-five group champion getting an automatic place, the first round would go something like this.
First round matches of the qualifiers
Next year’s first round will be played on campus with the top four seeds getting home games. These games will be held in 2024 from December 20 to 21.
No. 12 Liberty at No. 5 Florida State
We’ll get an undefeated battle right out of the gate as the Flames prepare to test their mettle against the ACC champion Seminoles. Liberty hasn’t faced any Power Five competition this season, but the Flames have reeled off wins against Georgia Tech and Auburn over Bowling Green and New Mexico State, respectively. The Flames’ high-octane offense directed by QB Kaidon Salter that scores more than 40 points a game will have its hands full against Jared Fiers and the Seminoles’ defense that has enabled it to thrive when the offense has been exhausted.
No. 11 Mississippi at No. 6 Georgia
This wasn’t a big game just a few weeks ago on November 11 when then-No. 1 Bulldogs raced to a 52-17 win over the Rebels. And again, since this is just a thought exercise, it might be more fun to think about how Georgia’s offense fares against Penn State’s more accomplished defense.
But again, with these seeds, we’ll then see a future SEC showdown in the quarterfinals, where either the Bulldogs or the Rebels will meet No. 3 Texas.
No. 10 Penn State at No. 7 Ohio State
It seems likely that in order to avoid rematches, the committee may adjust its final rankings and flip Ole Miss and Penn State. As it is, we’ve seen this film before as the Buckeyes won a defensive effort with the Nittany Lions on October 21st. If the duos are tweaked, it will be somewhat interesting to see what Jaxson Dart and the Rebels’ more experienced ball-handling talent can do against Tommy Eichenberg and Co. in Columbus.
No. 9 Missouri at No. 8 Oregon
Now this would be all kinds of fun. The Ducks have taken on every team on their schedule (not named Washington), but the Tigers are built in a similar way to the Huskies, able to move the ball in a variety of ways.
The winner of this potential shootout will be determined against top-seeded Michigan, and either one will likely have the firepower to make that quarterfinal contest entertaining as well.
Schedule of quarter-final matches
The bowl games will host the final eight teams. The 2024 season schedule includes the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31. The Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will be held on January 1.
Winner Oregon-Missouri vs. No. 1 Michigan
Winner of Ohio State-Penn State vs. No. 2 Washington
Winner Georgia-Mississippi vs. No. 3 Texas
Winner of Florida State vs. No. 4 Alabama
Schedule of semi-final matches
The semifinals will be held in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 9 and the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 10.
Oregon, Missouri, or Michigan vs. Florida, Liberty, or Alabama
Ohio State, Penn State, or Washington vs. Georgia, Mississippi, or Texas
The national championship game will be held Jan. 20 in Atlanta and will feature the winners of the semifinals.
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