How We Built This Thing



It’s that time again… The CFP playoff.  Which means it’s time for the whining to begin.  Teams ranked #5 through #8 or so will all have fan bases screaming that their team belonged in the big show.

It’s not a new thing… when it was just the National Championship, whoever landed in that third or fourth spot made that argument.  Before there was a NC game, it was even worse.  Now they’re talking 8 or 12 teams… and I can promise you we’ll have the same arguments from the teams who are close but don’t make the cut.

My 4 teenage sons and myself… the “staff” at RoughingThePasser… while watching ESPN last year after Ohio State made the cut, and hearing the talking heads complain to high h@ll about it… one of the kids jokingly said that they should just do a 64 team bracket like they do in basketball.

That joke turned into an idea, and we ended up doing just that.  If you’re here, you’ve probably seen our power rankings.  Using them, we seeded the top 64 teams and built a bracket.

That wasn’t enough, though… we played the whole d@mn thing out.  Used a simulator like this, and ran it through to the end.  It was an absolute blast… almost like being able to write fan fiction (or whatever it’s called now).  Matchups you’d never actually see.  It ended up being our most successful project on here by far… more than 100k people viewed the thing.  Maybe not a big deal in terms of the internet, but to us?  That’s a lot of d@mn people.

But here’s the thing… about a fourth of our comments… I kid you not… were folks b@tching that their team didn’t make the cut in our imaginary tourney.  Like they were actually upset over this.

So this year, we think we’ve found a way to shut everyone up… we pretty much put all of FBS in the d@mn thing.

Obviously, the concept here is nonsense.  There are a million reasons it’s not close to realistic.  But we wanted, within those unrealistic boundaries, to make it at least reasonable.  Here’s what we came up with.

We started by seeding the top 64 teams, just like we did last year.  We didn’t bother with regions or strength of schedule and the like… that would have taken the 5 of us months; we just seeded them by our rankings.  Here’s how it panned out:

#1  Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma St., Alabama

#2  Cincinnati, Ohio St, Baylor, Ole Miss

#3  Kentucky, BYU, Notre Dame, Pitt

#4: Oregon, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Iowa

#5  Wake Forest, Utah, Arkansas, NC State

#6  Texas A&M, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue

#7  Clemson, Houston, App St, Arizona St

#8  Iowa St, Mississippi St, UTSA, UCLA

#9  Penn St, Oregon St, Auburn, Texas Tech

#10  SMU, Coastal Carolina, Tennessee, Fresno St

#11  San Diego St, Air Force, Washington St, Kansas St

#12  Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina

#13  Florida, LSU, Texas, Boston College

#14  North Carolina, Army, Maryland, Virginia Tech

#15 Utah St, Liberty, Boise St, Rutgers

#16 UAB, East Carolina, USC, UCF

Now here’s where we shut everyone else up… we then seeded #65-128.  Here’s how that looks.

#1  Miami, West Virginia, UTEP, TCU

#2  Washington, Nebraska, Marshall, Central Michigan

#3  Northern Illinois, Western Kentucky, Nevada, Eastern Michigan

#4  Western Michigan, Ball State, Florida St, FAU

#5  Louisville, San Jose St, Syracuse, Duke

#6  Cal, Stanford, Memphis, Northwestern

#7  Wyoming, Kent St, Illinois, Georgia St

#8  Tulsa, North Texas, Colorado, Toledo

#9  ULM, Charlotte, Buffalo, Indiana

#10  Arkansas St, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, Tulane

#11  Louisiana Tech, Troy, Miami, Mid Tennessee

#12  Old Dominion, Kansas, Navy, Vanderbilt

#13  Hawaii, Texas St, South Alabama, USF

#14  Arizona, Colorado State, Ohio, Akron

#15  Bowling Green, UNLV, New Mexico, Temple

#16  Rice, Southern Miss, FIU, New Mexico State

That’s 128 d@mn teams.  Literally the only teams not here are UMass and UConn, who between them beat each other once and an FCS team.  If they even have football fans and they b@tch… We got nothing.

Think of the lower bracket like a version of the NIT… only the final four of our bracket all earn a spot in a play in game against the #16 seeds in the actual Championship bracket.  We then played that bracket to its title game.

We’ve gotten a bit more scientific in how we play the games out, or at least we like to think so.  We used 3 different simulators, all set to predict the game played at a neutral site.  It doesn’t account for things like injuries and story lines and whatnot, but you can’t have everything.  So the teams are all at full strength here.  We averaged out the 3 simulators and filled in out brackets.

That would have been mildly interesting, if a bracket where every game plays as it’s supposed to interests you.  But any fan knows it’s the chaos of these things that make them amazing, so we found a pretty basic way to do so.

We literally put every team on a piece of paper in a bucket and had ourselves a chaos lottery.  We looked at what percentage of games in each round of basketball brackets were upsets, and literally reached in and picked the teams that fell.  Fortunately none of them were ridiculous… New Mexico State isn’t going to beat ‘Bama…. So we didn’t have to improvise.  We did the same for a bunch of scenarios; for example, we picked a number of teams as “closer than expected” and such.

One of the simulators even included game stats, so we did small write ups on each game… you’ll see as we go.  They get more detailed… the later games in the championship bracket have full game summaries.  Those we obviously used some creative license, but we stuck to the scores and stats as they were.

So how does it work? If you want to start with the play in tourney, click here.  You’ll be taken to the first round.  You’ll see a full updated bracket for that round. Scroll down, you’ll see the game summaries.  At the end, you’ll come to another button, which will take you to the next round.

If you want to stick to the big boy bracket, click here. 

Keep in mind… this imaginary bracket takes place immediately after the regular season, so, for example, the conference titles don’t happen in our little world… ‘Bama hadn’t smashed Georgia, Baylor hadn’t beaten OSU, etc.  (Although it’s almost funny… the way this thing played out kind of mirrored reality).

Also remember… we’re not professionals.  Just a guy and his kids who love us some football.  We do know the whole concept isn’t realistic.  We know our page looks like a bunch of kids built it… they did.  But the internet lets us do nonsense like this… and if there’s one thing the internet seems to be for it’s people to share their nonsense.  So suspend your disbelief for a bit, and just jump down the football rabbit hole with us. 

2022 FBS Team Schedules

2022 FBS Team Schedules

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