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What a college football playoff would have looked like

Here’s a cool look back at which teams would have made a college football playoff and where Oklahoma State fits in.

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Guest post by Sean Thomas Mallory

I started wondering the other day what if the college football playoff was set up a few decades ago? Then I realized that we would not only be talking about National Championships but also “Playoff Appearances.”

So I reached back into the AP poll archives to find the top five teams before bowl season (that is when the playoff teams would have been selected).

I chose to use years 1968 to 2013 ​​(1968 was the first year that the National Championship was awarded after bowl season). I picked the top five for two reasons, first because there is a possibility that a No. 5 AP poll team could be No. 4 in the BCS and because I wanted to see what team had the most near misses in making the playoff (it was Michigan with five, then Florida and USC with four).

Then maybe someone would have had some sympathy for us getting left out of the Championship game in 2011.

Here’s a look at every year leading up to the BCS Era:

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And the BCS Era:

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After tallying up all of the top four appearances for each team the results are as expected when it comes to teams that have 10+. The big surprise, for me at least, was that OU came out on top with 17.

Then I remembered that Switzer was coaching from there from 1973-1988, where he only lost 29 games over that time and that pretty much explains why they finished in the top four ten times while he was there.

Here’s a look at all the teams that have more than one:

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And all the teams that have just one:

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 2.42.26 PM

Upon realizing that we would only have had one “Playoff Appearance” I started to get a little depressed thinking maybe our Cowboys weren’t that special. Then I realized that our 1987 Team with Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas couldn’t even make the top four.

This made me feel like our Weeden2Blackom campaign was pretty special, and that must be what it would take to get into the playoff.

Fun Facts:
• Miami would have made it into the playoffs eight straight years from 1985-1992. The next closest would have been five straight (Oklahoma 1971-1975 and Florida St. 1996-2000).
• Both TCU and West Virginia would have had two playoff appearances before Oklahoma St. got their first in 2011.
• There were eight split National Championships from 1968-2013. Cheers to having one champion from here on out.
• Notice that Boise St. would have never made it into the playoff.
• In 31 of the 46 years there would have been at least one “new face” team in the playoff.
• Lastly, 2011 is the only year where two teams from the same conference ended up No. 1 and No. 2 at the end of the regular season. (shakes head).

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