Mocking the process: The Advocate’s College Football Playoff projections _lowres

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer sings "Carmen Ohio" after their 49-28 win over Maryland in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

We projected what the CFP semifinal and bowl selection process would look like by letting last week’s Associated Press poll stand in for the CFP rankings. Here’s how the process would work:

1. Place the No. 1 seed

In our rankings, Ohio State is No. 1. The CFP is charged with but not required to place the No. 1 seed as close to home geographically as possible. It’s 1,060 miles from Columbus, Ohio, to Arlington, Texas, site of the Cotton Bowl semifinal, and 1,154 miles from Columbus to Miami, site of the second semifinal at the Orange Bowl. We believe the committee would place Ohio State in the Cotton despite the fact the Buckeyes beat Oregon in AT&T Stadium in January’s inaugural CFP final.

2. Place seeds 2-4

No. 2 seed Baylor automatically goes to the Orange Bowl to face No. 3 seed Clemson. We feel the committee would want to deny Baylor the relative home-field advantage of a 90-minute trip to Arlington and make things fairer for ACC champion Clemson. As the No. 4 seed, SEC champion LSU would automatically be slotted to face Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, to the delight of LSU alumni from Louisiana to the Metroplex.

3. Fill in the blanks

The SEC and Big 12 are contracted to send their champions to the Sugar Bowl in years the Sugar doesn’t host a semifinal. Same for the Big Ten with the Rose and the ACC with the Orange. Those four conference champions are in our playoff, so those bowls have to go with the next highest-ranked teams from their respective conferences. The Rose replaces Ohio State with No. 6 Michigan State. Pac-12 champion and No. 8 Stanford, left out of the semifinals, automatically goes to the Rose. The Sugar replaces SEC champ LSU with No. 7 Alabama, sending the Crimson Tide to New Orleans for a third straight year. No. 5 TCU replaces Baylor as the Big 12’s top available team in the Sugar Bowl.

4. Fiesta and Peach

The CFP is compelled to go with the next three highest-ranked available teams and the highest-ranked champion from the “Group of Five” conferences: Conference USA, Sun Belt, American Athletic, Mid-American and Mountain West. The committee is free to make the best matchups it sees fit from the available teams. For our purposes, we’ll say for the sake of geography the committee sends No. 11 Florida to the Peach to play No. 16 Memphis, the AAC champion, while No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 10 Iowa meet in the Fiesta.

The projections

CFP semifinals: Cotton Bowl

No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 4 LSU

CFP semifinals: Orange Bowl

No. 2 Baylor vs. No. 3 Clemson

Sugar Bowl

No. 5 TCU vs. No. 7 Alabama

Rose Bowl

No. 6 Michigan St. vs. No. 8 Stanford

Fiesta Bowl

No. 9 Notre Dame vs. No. 10 Iowa

Peach Bowl

No. 11 Florida vs. No. 16 Memphis

Upcoming CFP schedule


Semifinals: Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl (Dec. 31)

Championship: Glendale, Arizona (Jan. 11)


Semifinals: Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl (Dec. 31)

Championship: Tampa, Florida (Jan. 9)


Semifinals: Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl (Jan. 1)

Championship: TBA Wednesday (Jan. 8)

CFP selection committee

Jeff Long, Chairman, Arkansas athletic director (term expires Feb. 2018)

Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin athletic director (Feb. 2017)

Gen. Mike Gould, ex-Air Force superintendent (Feb. 2016)

Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech athletic director (Feb. 2017)

Tom Jernstedt, ex-NCAA executive VP (Feb. 2018)

Bobby Johnson, ex-Vanderbilt coach (Feb. 2017)

Tom Osborne, ex-Nebraska coach (Feb. 2016)

Dan Radakovich, Clemson athletic director (Feb. 2018)

Condoleezza Rice, ex-U.S. Secretary of State (Feb. 2017)

Mike Tranghese, ex-Big East commissioner (Feb. 2016)

Steve Wieberg, ex-USA Today writer (Feb. 2018)

Tyrone Willingham, ex-Notre Dame coach (Feb. 2018)