College Football Playoff: What a 12-team postseason would have looked like in 2023

A 12-team playoff would have saved us all from College Football Playoff controversy in 2023.

The expanded format comes to college football next season but could have been in place this year. And if it were, undefeated Florida State would have easily made the postseason field and had a chance at the national title. Same for Georgia, a team that fell from No. 1 to No. 6 in the rankings after a three-point loss to Alabama.

But since the playoff is at four teams for the final time, both the Seminoles and Bulldogs are left out of the field.

If you’re wondering what a 12-team playoff would look like with both FSU and UGA in the field, we have you covered. Here’s how the field would stack up if the impending expansion was in place in 2023.

As a reminder, the six highest-ranked conference champions would have earned automatic berths and leave six wild card spots for the top teams who didn’t win their conference. With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the field will include five conference champions and seven wild cards.

Teams with first-round byes

Michigan (13-0, Big Ten champion)

Washington (13-0, Pac-12 champion)

Texas (12-1, Big 12 champion)

Alabama (12-1, SEC champion)

The current playoff field would each receive byes into the second round as the top four conference champions.

First-round matchups

No. 5 Florida State (12-1, ACC champion) vs. No. 12 Liberty (13-0, Conference USA champion)

The Seminoles would get a home game against a team it would be heavily favored against no matter who was playing QB for FSU. Liberty was ranked one spot ahead of AAC champion SMU (11-2) despite playing the weakest schedule in college football.

No. 6 Georgia (12-1, at-large) vs. No. 11 Ole Miss (10-2, at-large)

This game would be a rematch of a November contest that Georgia won easily. The Bulldogs blew out the Rebels 52-17 after it clinched the SEC East title hours earlier thanks to Tennessee’s loss to Missouri. The win was Georgia’s second in two weeks over a top-12 opponent and pushed the Bulldogs to No. 1 in the CFP rankings.

No. 7 Ohio State (11-1, at-large) vs. No. 10 Penn State (10-2, at-large)

It’s another rematch of a game that wasn’t all that close. This hypothetical playoff would be much more fun if Penn State traveled to Athens and Ole Miss went to Columbus. Ohio State beat Penn State 20-12 in October as the Nittany Lions were a gruesome 1-of-16 on third downs.

No. 8 Oregon (11-2, at-large) vs. No. 9 Missouri (10-2, at-large)

This would be the most fun matchup of the first round given the current rankings. Oregon QB Bo Nix is completing 77% of his passes while Missouri QB Brady Cook made one of the biggest leaps from 2022 to 2023 of any QB. The Ducks and Tigers each boast a 3,000-yard passer (Nix and Cook), a 1,000-yard rusher (Bucky Irving and Cody Schrader) and a 1,000-yard receiver (Troy Franklin and Luther Burden III).

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