I know this is me just living in a fantasy world, but this discussion is so much fun to have. Looking at the bracket after this week's action, no new teams have found their way into the dance. Only one team lost this week, but it was to the unstoppable Bayou Bengals. Here is what the top 16 look like today.
1. LSU (SEC leader)
Only one more hurtle to go for them to end up undefeated. Even if they lose that game, they could still end up #1 going into the postseason.
2. Alabama (At large #1)
Their regular season is over since LSU took their division. With that said, they are a lock in the playoff and can only move up from here. If LSU loses in the SEC Championship game, they could easily end up #1 in the land heading into the postseason.
3. Oklahoma St. (Big 12 leader)
They play Oklahoma in the Bedlum game next week. If they win, they wrap up the Big 12 championship and the #3 seed. If they lose, they fall to #7 or #8. Either way, they should be a lock in the playoff barring some unforeseen upsets in championship games.
4. Stanford (At large #2)
The highest ranked Pac-12 team cannot win their conference after their loss to Oregon. However, their season is over so they are in the same boat as Bama. They are a lock in the playoff and can only move up if Oklahoma St. loses.
5. Virginia Tech (ACC leader)
They always seem to be up in the discussion every year. However, they have yet to beat anyone with a top 25 rank as is shown by them staying put and Stanford jumping over them. They will have to if they want to clinch their spot in the playoff. They play Clemson in the ACC Championship who they lost to earlier in the year, but Clemson has undergone a monumental collapse the last month. Another loss to Clemson puts the Hokies in jeopardy of missing the playoff.
6. Houston (C-USA leader)
A big win this week against Tulsa bumped them up a couple spots in the rankings. They still have one more big game against Southern Miss. in the Conference USA Championship. A win could move them up even higher. A loss could easily knock them out of the playoff. This year's Cinderella story could lose its slipper before the ball.
7. Boise St. (At large #3)
In reality, if Boise St. makes that field goal against Nevada we could be talking about an LSU-Boise St. National Championship. In my little fantasy world, as long as they take care of business against New Mexico they will have a tough matchup on the Smurf Turf in the first round.
8. Arkansas (At large #4)
Honestly, they fell way too far after their loss to LSU. They have only lost two #1 and #2 so far this season. With that said, they are in the playoff as long as there aren't some upsets that force at large bids to go to the likes of LSU, Virginia Tech, and possibly Houston.
9. Oregon (Pac-12 leader)
As long as they beat UCLA at home in the championship game, which is extremely likely, they get the automatic bid as Pac-12 Champ. They lose, which is highly unlikely, they are out. Simple as that.
10. Oklahoma (At large #5)
They have to beat Oklahoma St. to stay in the bracket. A loss in Bedlum knocks them out.
11. Michigan St. (Big 10 leader)
Most people think they will lose in the Big 10 Championship to Wisconsin, but they are still the higher ranked team so they get the spot for now. Wisconsin slides in if they win. It really is a toss up though.
12. TCU (MWC leader)
Easy game against UNLV left to clinch the MWC title. A loss knocks them out and opens up another spot for someone else.
13. Northern Illinois (MAC leader)
Since conference play started, they have been on a roll. They now have to beat a sneaky Ohio team in the MAC Championship to wrap up their automatic bid.
14. Louisiana Tech (WAC Champ)
This spot is clinched for Louisiana Tech since their season is over.
15. Louisville (Big East leader)
I don't know what to do with this conference. Louisville has gotten hot lately and ended their season strong. With their season over, it is all up to everyone else if they get this spot. If Cincinnati loses, they are in no matter what West Virginia does as they hold the head-to-head tie breaker. If Cincinnati wins and West Virginia loses, Cincinnati gets the spot since they hold the tie breaker over Louisville. If both Cincinnati and West Virginia win, it is a three way tie which means the tie breaker goes to BCS standings which puts West Virginia in the playoff. It's a mess.
16. Arkansas St. (Sun Belt Champ)
They have one more game against Troy, but since they beat Western Kentucky they hold the tie breaker. That means Arkansas St. is in no matter what happens next week. They need a good showing to possibly get a better matchup in the first round.
Potential Bracket Busters
These are the only teams that have any shot of breaking up this top 16.
Kansas St. - They are currently in position as the 6th at large team. If Oklahoma loses and Kansas St. beats Iowa St., the Wildcats should be in.
Clemson - They have gone from potential National Championship contender to long shot for a chance in the postseason. However, they have beaten Virginia Tech before, and if they do it again they are back in the dance.
West Virginia - No one is in control of their own destiny in this conference, however they are the likely choice even though Louisville is the current leader.
Cincinnati - They need a a win and an upset of West Virginia to South Florida (which is unlikely, but in the Big East, who knows). It seems like a long shot though.
Wisconsin - A lot of people say they are the favorite to win the Big 10, but it will take a tough win against Michigan St.
Southern Miss - They have had some bad losses, but they are a tough team that could give Houston problems in the C-USA Championship. An upset puts them in.
Ohio - They have been playing really well and will give Northern Illinois a tough game in the MAC Championship. This game should be fun to watch to see who gets this spot.
UCLA - Technically they have a shot. Logically, they really don't. Beating Oregon at home is next to impossible. However, it has already been done by one LA team this year.
Georgia - No one has been able to beat LSU so far. The only way Georgia does is if LSU has a let down after a rough schedule and not really necessarily needing a win to be in the top 2.
First Round Matchups
#16 Arkansas St. at #1 LSU
Shouldn't be a problem for LSU considering everything else they have faced this year.
#9 Oregon at #8 Arkansas
Oregon has had trouble with SEC teams in the past because of their size. Will they have trouble in Arkansas?
#13 Northern Illinois at #4 Stanford
The Cardinal's defense should be able to slow Northern Illinois's offense. The Luck of the Cardinal.
#12 TCU at #5 Virginia Tech
The Hokies haven't played anybody. TCU is one of the toughest teams to beat in the nation. Always look at the 5/12 matchup for an upset.
#14 Louisiana Tech at #3 Oklahoma St.
This would most likely be a shootout as most games are with the Cowboys this year, but Oklahoma St. would most likely out-score them like they usually do.
#11 Michigan St. at #6 Houston
The rugged, physical, grind-it-out Spartans against the speedy, pass-happy Cougars. It could be an interesting clashing of styles.
#15 Louisville at #2 Alabama
Bama should roll Louisville like a lower level SEC team like Kentucky. You never know though.
#10 Oklahoma at #7 Boise St.
Why does it seem Boise St. always ends up playing a familiar foe from the past? Another classic would most likely ensue.
There it is. After next week we get to set the bracket for good and start filling it out. Wouldn't it be amazing to fill out a bracket for college football as well as college basketball. Holiday Madness!!!