If the college football playoff started today and the USA Today coaches' poll still mattered,
Florida State would play Oregon in one semifinal with Alabama and Oklahoma pairing up in the other.
The Seminoles and Ducks would play in the
Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day right after the Crimson Tide and Sooners in the Rose Bowl.
The winners would play at A&T Stadium in Texas for the first College Football Playoff championships.
The coaches' preseason top 10 is Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon, followed by No. 5 Auburn, Ohio State, UCLA, Michigan State, South Carolina and Baylor. Stanford is 11 while USC, finally off probation after four years, starts No. 15.
Florida State, which defeated Auburn for last year's last
BCS crown, enters as the obvious No. 1 as the Seminoles return the key starters from last year's 14-0 team.
Ok, stop. There is one huge caveat here: The playoffs do not start today and the coaches' poll no longer matters.
For the first time since 1950, the coaches' poll will have no significant say in the naming of national champions. This is the trade-off for the four-team playoff coming this year.
For the last 16 years, the coaches' poll was a controversial component of the BCS standings formula that chose the top two teams each year.
The Associated Press poll, which began in 1936, demanded to be removed from the BCS formula after the 2004 controversy that put No. 4 Texas in the Rose Bowl instead of No. 5 Cal.
There was talk of disbanding the coaches' poll in the wake of the new playoff, but USA Today has decided to keep hype alive while it takes its poll door-to-door with its new sponsor ...
A 13-person selection committee will take over the heavy lifting this year, picking the top four teams and also taking over seeding and selection for the now six major bowls: Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Peach.
The coaches' poll will serve now only as a tool for the committee, which will release its own weekly top 25 in October. The selection committee can also consult, if there was one, the Bob's Big Boy top 25.
The AP poll will release its preseason poll in August and continue to crown an independent champion. In 2003, remember, the AP crowned USC No. 1 even though Louisiana State won the coaches' trophy as BCS champions.
With four teams making the playoff now, though, it seems highly unlikely the AP, or any other reputable rankings, would crown a different winner than the College Football Playoff champion.