How an 8-team playoff would have affected the Big 12

The Big 12 is making just its second College Football Playoff appearance this New Year’s Day. Second-ranked Oklahoma will face No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl.

The Big 12 and Pac-12 are now tied for the fewest appearances in the event’s brief history. The only previous trip for the Big 12 to college football’s final four was in 2015 — also Oklahoma. The Sooners fell to Clemson in the semifinals.

And that’s how the Big 12 has yet to even win a single game in the playoff — the lone conference with that distinction.

But what if the playoff, as many wish it to be, was played in an eight-team format? Would the Big 12 have benefited much from that hypothetical?

Based on the CFP rankings we’ve been handed each selection day since 2014, the Big 12 would have more than double its current number of two individual appearances in the playoff. Albeit, only three additional slots would have been represented by the conference.

Alas, here’s how the playoff would have looked thus far if the field was doubled.

2014

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan State

No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 7 Mississippi State

No. 3 Florida State vs. No. 6 TCU

No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Baylor

2015

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 8 Notre Dame

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 7 Ohio State

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 6 Stanford

No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 5 Iowa

2016

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Wisconsin

No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 7  Oklahoma

No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Michigan

No. 4 Washington vs No. 5 Penn State

2017

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 8 USC

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Auburn

No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 6 Wisconsin

No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 5 Ohio State

In regards to pairings that haven’t happened of late among Big 12 teams, we can only imagine what would have been if TCU and Baylor had the chance to face Florida State and Ohio State, respectively.

Oklahoma vs. Iowa in 2015 would have been less entertaining, if we learned anything from watching the Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl that New Year’s Day.

For now, Big 12 fans will have to settle with watching Baker Mayfield and the Sooners attempt to bring the Big 12 its first national title in more than a decade. They’ll face off against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, with a date with the winner of Alabama-Clemson on the line in Atlanta, Ga. on Jan. 8, 2018.

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