The Greatest Of All Time CFB Tournament: Round 1

It’s our latest simulation, and this one is coming in several stages. Using our WhatIfSports Simulator, we created a 32-team bracket (shown below). No program was allowed more than two entries, but the bracket filled up quickly. Historic teams like 2019 LSU and 2001 Miami headlined the bracket, while teams from the Alabama and USC dynasties both entered the field. We also reserved two spots – one in each bracket – for some of the best Group-of-Five programs in modern-era history. The 32-team field was divided into 16-team double-elimination brackets, the winners of each will clash in a championship game. Here’s the field and Round 1:

12019 LSU2001 Miami
22018 Clemson2005 Texas
32004 USC2009 Alabama
41999 Florida State2013 Florida State
52010 Auburn2004 Auburn
62008 Florida2005 USC
72012 Alabama2003 LSU
82010 TCU2009 Florida 
92008 Oklahoma2014 Ohio State
102009 Texas2000 Oklahoma
112010 Oregon2016 Clemson
121997 Michigan2014 Oregon
132000 Miami1998 Tennessee
141999 Virginia Tech1997 Nebraska
151998 Ohio State1996 Arizona State
162009 Boise State2017 UCF

Bracket A 

Round 1

2019 LSU vs. 2009 Boise State
LSU 49 Boise State 45
2018 Clemson vs. 1998 Ohio State
Clemson 21 Ohio State 14
2004 USC vs. 1999 Virginia Tech
USC 35  Virginia Tech 17
1999 Florida State vs. 2000 Miami
Miami 38 Florida State 21
2010 Auburn vs. 1997 Michigan
Auburn 23 Michigan 20
2008 Florida vs. 2010 Oregon
Florida 37 Oregon 23 
2012 Alabama vs. 2009 Texas
Alabama 44 Texas 14 
2010 TCU vs. 2008 Oklahoma
Oklahoma 37 TCU 24
Bracket-A 3 Stars
1. Cam Newton, 2010 Auburn: 25 carries, 154 yards, 2 TDs
2. Joe Burrow, 2019 LSU: 31-36, 405 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
3. Eddie Lacy, 2012 Alabama: 22 carries, 104 yards, 2 TD

Game of the Round

Somewhat surprisingly the best game in Bracket A came in the LSU vs. Boise State 1 v. 16 match-up. The Broncos no doubt had a stellar offense that year under Kellen Moore, and while they couldn’t stop the LSU offense, they put up their fair share of points. Joe Burrow did Joe Burrow things, throwing for 405 yards and 5 touchdowns, and Boise State had to settle for a field goal inside the ten-yard line, which spelt doom on their upset hopes.

Other Games

Elsewhere, Clemson continued to have Ohio State’s number in a low-scoring 21-14 battle between their 2018 championship squad and 1998 Ohio State. 2004 USC slapped Michael Vick’s 1999 Hokies around in a blowout, while 2000 Miami, led by two interceptions from Ed Reed, pulled the first upset of the bracket, taking down the #4 Seminoles 38-21.
Auburn and Michigan played an instant classic, but ultimately, Cam Newton was simply too much. Despite constant pressure from Sam Sword (2 sacks) and the Michigan defense, Newton ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Tigers edge out the Wolverines with a game-winning drive. 

The remainder of the first round games were not particularly close. A two-headed rushing monster in Chris Rainey and Percy Harvin led Florida over Oregon with ease. 2009 Texas got another shot at an Alabama team with a healthy Colt McCoy, but they stood no chance against the Tide’s fearsome ground game, headlined by Eddie Lacy’s two touchdowns and 104 yards. In the final contest of the round, 2008 Oklahoma pulled a mini upset, winning as the ninth seed over #8 TCU with relative ease, 37-24. Bradford tossed a pair of scores, and Chris Brown ran in another two for the Sooners, who defeated TCU’s undefeated and Rose Bowl-winning 2010 squad. 

Bracket A Winner’s Bracket

2019 LSU vs. 2008 Oklahoma
2018 Clemson vs. 2012 Alabama
2004 USC vs. 2008 Florida
2010 Auburn vs. 2000 Miami
Loser’s Bracket
2010 TCU vs. 2009 Boise State
2009 Texas vs. 1998 Ohio State
2010 Oregon vs. 1999 Virginia Tech
1999 Florida State vs. 1997 Michigan

Bracket B 

Round 1

2001 Miami vs. 2017 UCF
Miami 49 UCF 30 
2005 Texas vs. 1996 Arizona State
Texas 30 Arizona State 23
2009 Alabama vs. 1997 Nebraska
Alabama 34 Nebraska 9
2013 Florida State vs. 1998 Tennessee
Tennessee 35 Florida State 31
2004 Auburn vs. 2014 Oregon
Oregon 34 Auburn 31 (OT)
2005 USC vs. 2016 Clemson
USC 49 Clemson 23
2003 LSU vs. 2000 Oklahoma
LSU 34 Oklahoma 13

2009 Florida vs. 2014 Ohio State
Ohio State 31 Florida 28 (OT)

Bracket-B 3 Stars
1. Matt Leinart, 2005 USC: 30-36, 451 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
2. Travis Henry, 1998 Tennessee: 21 carries, 151 yards, 2 TD
3. Ken Dorsey, 2001 Miami: 26-39, 412 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Game of the Day

Marcus Mariota’s 12th-seeded 2014 Oregon Ducks took on the 2004 Auburn Tigers and and fell behind early, but Mariota displayed the poise that made him one of the best collegiate quarterbacks of the decade, tossing three touchdowns and 304 yards to rally the Ducks and force overtime, tied 28-28. There, Mariota did it with his legs, running in the game-winning touchdown from nine yards out to pull the 12-over-5 upset.

Other Games

Elsewhere, top-seeded 2001 Miami curb stomped the 2017 “national champion” UCF Knights 49-30 behind 412 passing yards from Ken Dorsey and 168 rushing yards from Clinton Portis.
#2 2005 Texas held off 1996 Arizona State, while 2005 USC, 2003 LSU and 2009 Alabama took care of business in blowout fashion to advance into the winner’s bracket. #13 1998 Tennessee swung the upset to push into the winner’s bracket, and the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes won in another overtime thriller against 2009 Florida.

Bracket B Winner’s Bracket
2001 Miami vs. 2014 Ohio State
2005 Texas vs. 2003 LSU
2009 Alabama vs. 2005 USC
2014 Oregon vs. 1998 Tennessee
Loser’s Bracket
2009 Florida vs. 2017 UCF
2000 Oklahoma vs. 1996 Arizona State
2016 Clemson vs. 1997 Nebraska
2013 Florida State vs. 2004 Auburn


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