CFB Greatest OF All Time Bracket: 2019 LSU and 2018 Clemson Clash in Quarterfinals

It’s been one heck of a ride so far, but by the time our initial field of 32 college football teams boiled down to 6, we have ourselves some of the greatest squads to ever step onto the gridiron left. Starting it off is a modern-day classic featuring the last two national champions – 2019 LSU and 2018 Clemson – battling for the right to face 2012 Alabama in the Bracket A final. In Bracket B, 2013 Florida State has slogged their way through the loser’s bracket, winning two straight overtime clashes, to set up a battle with 2009 Alabama. The winner of that will face the daunting task of having to defeat 2001 Miami – who has only trailed for a total of 3 minutes and 22 seconds in four games so far. Twice. They have to defeat them twice. It’s a tough road ahead, but let’s see what happens in our final pre-championship round.

Bracket A Semifinals
1. 2019 LSU vs. 2. 2018 Clemson
Clemson 34 LSU 33
This one lived up to the hype. LSU took the early edge, 23-21 at halftime, but Clemson rallied in front by a 31-30 margin at the end of the third quarter. Joe Burrow hit Ja’Marr Chase for a 39-yard gain, and Clyde Edwards-Hillaire broke off a 15-yard run, as LSU snuck into the red zone near the halfway mark of the final quarter. However, Clemson’s defense stiffened, and Burrow’s 6-yard scramble on 3rd and 8 left the Tigers two yards short at the Clemson 8-yard line. Cade York drilled a 25-yard field goal, but with 4:49 to play, Clemson only trailed by two. 

Clemson’s drive looked destined to stall, but an 18-yard scramble from Lawrence extended the drive on 3rd down, and Etienne ripped off a 41-yard run to bring Clemson to the red zone with 1:53 to play. LSU had just one timeout, which was burned on an Etienne run, and Clemson worked the clock down under a minute before kicking a field goal to take the lead. Burrow was left with 47 seconds and no timeouts and couldn’t make any magic happen, getting to the Clemson 49 before heaving up a Hail Mary that fell to the ground. And with that Hail Mary ended the infallible 2019 season of LSU, who dropped two straight games after dancing dangerously through three one-score victories. 

Bracket A Championship

7. 2012 Alabama vs. 2. 2018 Clemson 
Alabama 23 Clemson 21 
Another great game, but 2012 Alabama stays undefeated. The 7th-seeded darkhorse Crimson Tide have rolled their way through bracket A and into the championship, behind the strength of their ferocious backfield, headlinged by Eddie Lacy, Kenny Drake, and T.J. Yeldon. Lacy did the damage in this one, leading the way with 92 rushing yards and a touchdown, while quarterback A.J. McCarron was his usually efficient himself, limiting mistakes and throwing for 174 yards and a score. Clemson got 105 rushing yards from Travis Etienne, but they rarely had the ball, holding possession for just 21 minutes and 35 seconds of game time. 

Bracket B Semifinals

3. 2009 Alabama vs. 4. 2013 Florida State
Alabama 37 Florida State 28
After crawling past two consecutive opponents in overtime, Florida State’s magic ran out. The Seminoles jumped out to a halftime lead, but they quite simply ran out of gas. In typical Nick Saban and Alabama fashion, the Crimson Tide controlled the contest with a ground-and-pound attack, racking up over 350 yards, led by 180 from Mark Ingram, who also found the end zone three times. Trent Richardson chipped in with 92 yards and a touchdown for the Tide, who trailed 28-27 entering the fourth quarter before completing their comeback. 

Bracket B Championship

1. 2001 Miami vs. 3. 2009 Alabama
Miami 24 Alabama 23 
This was an excruciating loss for the Crimson Tide. Not only because of their elimination, but because of how it went down. Miami trailed 23-17 with 2:17 to play, but Ken Dorsey connected with Ethenic Sands for 28 yards on the opening play of their drive, bringing them to the Alabama 47. However, Dorsey was hit hard on the play and was unable to return. The Hurricanes summoned backup quarterback Brock Berlin in, who proceeded to dice the Crimson Tide defense, going 5-5 for 31 yards. With 17 seconds to play and a timeout to burn, Berlin handed off to Clinton Portis from the 5-yard line, and the legendary Miami running back did the rest, breaking a tackle at the 2 and extending the ball over the line for a game-winning touchdown. The Hurricanes are 5-0 and into the championship round, where they will have to take down another Alabama team – the 2012 version – in a best-of-three series.

CFB Greatest Of All Time Tournament – Round 3: Clemson Faces Two Elimination Games

After a thrilling and surprising Round 2, we’re back with Round 3 of our college football Greatest of All Time bracket. Here’s where we are at regarding our original bracket. Each 16-team bracket is double-elimination with the winner on each side clashing in the championship. The eliminated teams are marked with the red strike-through, while unbeaten teams are highlighted in green.

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

Round 3

Bracket A Winner’s Bracket

1. 2019 LSU vs. 13. 2000 Miami
LSU 45 Miami 41
In their third straight one-possession game, 2019 LSU once again got a lethal offensive performance to bail out a struggling defense. Joe Burrow threw for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Clyde Edwards-Hillaire pounded the Miami defense for 167 yards and two touchdowns, as the Tigers improved to 3-0 with a 45-41 victory.

6. 2008 Florida vs. 7. 2012 Alabama
Alabama 28 Florida 27
After Kenny Drake starred in game 1, and Eddie Lacy put on a show in Game 2, it was TJ Yeldon’s time to shine in 2012 Alabama’s third game. The third back of the Tide’s 3-headed monster piled up 116 yards and two touchdowns, while AJ McCarron tossed his lone TD of the game with 4:23 left in the game to edge Alabama past 2008 Florida.

Bracket A Loser’s Bracket

2. 2018 Clemson vs. 16. 2009 Boise State
Clemson 44 Boise State 14
They don’t make backs like Travis Etienne in the Mountain West Conference. Clemson’s star back roared his way to 179 yards on just 18 carries, finding the end zone three times, as the Tigers eliminated the Broncos in thoroughly convincing fashion, 44-14.

3. 2004 USC vs. 4. 1999 Florida State
Florida State 30 USC 28
A nailbiter start to finish, Florida State held their breath as USC’s 55-yard field goal as time expired hooked wide left. The ‘04 Trojans crashed to elimination in Round 3, as Travis Minor ran for 99 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and the Seminoles’ knocked through a game-winning field goal with 2:03 left in the game. 

5. 2010 Auburn vs. 11. 2010 Oregon
Oregon 31 Auburn 23
In a rematch of the 2010 BCS National Championship, LaMichael James made sure Oregon’s chance at revenge didn’t go to waste. James torched the Auburn defense for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns on a 33-carry workload, as Oregon rallied to take down Cam Newton and the 2010 Tigers.

8. 2008 Oklahoma vs. 15. 1998 Ohio State
Oklahoma 24 Ohio State 21  OT
The 1998 Ohio State defense helped the Buckeyes play above their seed, and they limited the lethal 2008 Oklahoma offense to 24 points in Round 3. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the 312-yard, 2-touchdown effort by Sam Bradford was just enough to lift the Sooners to a 24-21 victory in overtime, as Ohio State’s game-tying 45-yard effort faded wide right. 

Bracket B Winner’s Bracket

1. 2001 Miami vs. 12. 2014 Oregon
Miami 33 Oregon 24
Three games in, and the 2001 Miami machine has yet to trail in a game. Oregon stayed within striking distance, trailing 23-17 entering the fourth quarter, but Clinton Portis roared for 126 yards, including a 27-yard game-sealing touchdown with 4:06 remaining in the game, while Ken Dorsey threw for 375 yards and two scores.

3. 2009 Alabama vs. 7. 2003 LSU
Alabama 37 LSU 10
– This one was absolutely no contest from the get-go. After engineering an upset over 2005 Texas, ‘03 LSU had very little in the tank, giving up 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Mark Ingram, as 2009 Alabama rolled, 37-10.

Bracket B Loser’s Bracket

2. 2005 Texas vs. 16. 2017 UCF
UCF 44 Texas 34
– Can someone spell shocker?!?! In a thrilling game, UCF rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to slow down Vince Young and stun the ‘05 Longhorns 44-34. Adrian Killins ran for 103 yards and a touchdown,  McKenzie Milton threw for 270 yards and a pair of scores, and Knights outscored the Longhorns 37-17 in a shootout of a second half. 

6. 2005 USC vs. 4. 2013 Florida State
Florida State 38 USC 35
In a battle of two quarterbacks who barely ever lost in college, Jameis Winston and his 27-1 collegiate record held strong, as he threw for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns in Florida State’s 38-35 victory over 2005 USC. The Trojans got a 104 yards and two TDs from Reggie Bush, but it wasn’t enough to pull the mini-upset in round 3.

13. 1998 Tennessee vs. 11. 2016 Clemson
Clemson 28 Tennessee 23
13th-seeded Tennessee couldn’t quite pick up a second victory in bracket play, as 2016 Clemson (11th seed) turned a 20-14 deficit into a 28-23 victory in Round 3 to stay alive. Deshaun Watson completed 20 of 27 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns, two to Mike Williams (93 receiving yards).

9. 2014 Ohio State vs. 10. 2000 Oklahoma
Ohio State 27 Oklahoma 17
Ezekiel Elliot ran for 119 yards, Vonn Bell picked off Josh Heupel twice, and Ohio State led wire-to-wire in a clean 27-17 victory. The ‘14 Buckeyes, known for their red-hot tear to win the national championship six years ago, stay alive into Round 4. 

Round 4 Schedule

Bracket A Winner’s Bracket

1. 2019 LSU vs. 7. 2012 Alabama

Loser’s Bracket

 2. 2018 Clemson vs. 4. 1999 Florida State
8. 2008 Oklahoma vs. 11. 2010 Oregon

BYE: 13. 2000 Miami, 6. 2008 Florida

Bracket B Winner’s Bracket

1. 2001 Miami vs. 3. 2009 Alabama

Loser’s Bracket

4. 2013 Florida State vs. 16. 2017 UCF
9. 2014 Ohio State vs. 11. 2016 Clemson

BYE: 12. 2014 Oregon, 7. 2003 LSU

Greatest Of All Time CFB Tournament: Round 2 – Upsets Abound As 8 Teams Eliminated

We’re back with Round 2 of our GOAT college football tournament. Joe Burrow continues to lead the 2019 LSU team as the top seed, while Ed Reed leads the charge of the 2001 Miami defense. Florida State, who saw both their entrants suffer upsets in the first round, will be fighting for elimination. Elsewhere, Andy Dalton and the 2010 TCU Horned Frogs duel with Kellen Moore and the 2009 Boise State Broncos in an elimination battle, while Michael Vick’s 1999 Virginia Tech squad. Lots of legends are clashing on the gridiron, but let’s see which 8 teams got the ax in this round.

Bracket A Winner’s Bracket

2019 LSU vs. 2008 Oklahoma
LSU 58 Oklahoma 52
2018 Clemson vs. 2012 Alabama
Alabama 35 Clemson 20
2004 USC vs. 2008 Florida
Florida 45 USC 33
2010 Auburn vs. 2000 Miami
Miami 51 Auburn 28
Loser’s Bracket
2010 TCU vs. 2009 Boise State
Boise State 33 TCU 17
2009 Texas vs. 1998 Ohio State
Ohio State 23 Texas 13
2010 Oregon vs. 1999 Virginia Tech
Oregon 30 Virginia Tech 21
1999 Florida State vs. 1997 Michigan
Florida State 38 Michigan 13

Bracket A’s 3 Stars
1.
Joe Burrow, 2019 LSU: 28-31, 423 yards, 5 TD
2. Eddie Lacy, 2012 Alabama: 23 carries, 149 yards, 2 TD
3. LaMichael James, 2010 Oregon, 32 carries, 138 yards, 1 TD

Eddie Lacy has the 2012 Alabama Crimson Tide into the third round with a 2-0 record.

Game of the Day

Once again, 2019 LSU was engaged in a thrilling battle. Their defense was plenty good enough during their championship season, but it’s struggled to get stops against elite offenses in this bracket. Can Burrow continue to lift the Tigers? We’ll see. He rallied the Tigers from a halftime deficit in this one. With 1:33 remaining, Burrow hit a streaking Ja’Marr Chase down the sideline for the game-winning TD. Chase finished with 101 yards and three scores. Sam Bradford tossed five TDs for 2008 Oklahoma, but the 8th-seeded Sooners dropped into the loser’s bracket. 

Other Games
Bracket A saw the lone entries from TCU, Virginia Tech, and Michigan all crash and burn, dropping out of the tournament with an 0-2 record. Boise State kept the Group of 5 alive in the bracket with a dominant victory. 2010 Oregon survived outlasted Michael Vick’s Hokies, and the 1999 Florida State squad, after suffering a first-round upset, brutalized the Wolverines 38-13. 2009 Texas also bid adieu, suffering an upset to 1998 Ohio State’s throttling defense. 

In the winner’s bracket side of things, besides LSU’s thrilling victory, we saw three straight upsets. 7th seeded 2012 Alabama got a combined 279 rushing yards from Kenny Drake and Eddie Lacy to topple 2018 Clemson. #6 2008 Florida handled 2004 USC, and 2000 Miami showed they may have been dreadfully underseeded; the 13th seed dismantled Auburn’s 2010 national championship squad 51-28, as quarterback Ken Dorsey threw for five touchdowns and 340 yards.
 
Bracket B Winner’s Bracket
2001 Miami vs. 2014 Ohio State
Miami 48 Ohio State 21
2005 Texas vs. 2003 LSU
LSU 38 Texas 33
2009 Alabama vs. 2005 USC
Alabama 40 USC 31
2014 Oregon vs. 1998 Tennessee
Oregon 30 Tennessee 28
Loser’s Bracket
2009 Florida vs. 2017 UCF
UCF 42 Florida 30
2000 Oklahoma vs. 1996 Arizona State
Oklahoma 28 Arizona State 14
2016 Clemson vs. 1997 Nebraska
Clemson 34 Nebraska 14
2013 Florida State vs. 2004 Auburn
Florida State 44 Auburn 24

Bracket B’s 3 Stars
1. Clinton Portis, 2001 Miami: 18 carries, 178 yards, 3 TDs
2. Mark Ingram, 2009 Alabama: 26 carries, 149 yards, 1 TD
3. Deshaun Watson, 2016 Clemson: 20-28, 238 yards, 3 TD

Game of the Day

The game of the day was an easy pick on this side of the bracket. In a battle of underdogs, the 12-seeded 2014 Oregon Ducks took on the 13th-seed – the 1998 Tennessee Volunteers. Battling to improve their record to a surprising 2-0, the Vols had Marcus Mariota and the Ducks on the ropes, after a touchdown put them up 28-27 with 1:04 to play. However, Mariota hit Royce Freeman for 34 yards on a screen pass on the first play of the drive to immediately but the Ducks in Tennessee territory. After another 10-yard completion, Oregon utilized their two timeouts, as Freeman ran twice for 16 yards to bring it to the Tennessee 15-yard line with 9 seconds to play. Matt Wogan drilled the 32-yarder for his 3rd field goal of the day and a game-winner, and Oregon moved on in the winner’s bracket. 

Other Games

After a 19-point win in Round 1, 2001 Miami continued to showcase their dominance, winning 48-21 in Round 2 over 2014 Ohio State. Clinton Portis ran for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns in the pounding. 2003 LSU kept the Tigers undefeated as a program in this bracket, toppling Texas 38-33 behind 143 receiving yards and a touchdown from Michael Clayton, and 2009 Alabama utilized a 149-yard rushing effort from Mark Ingram to torch 2005 USC’s defense in a 40-31 victory. 

Over on the loser’s bracket side, UCF gave the Group of 5 another victory as the self-declared national champions handled the Gators 42-30. No other game was decided by less than 14 points. 2000 Oklahoma took down the 1996 Arizona State squad, 28-14, 2016 Clemson dismantled 1997 Nebraska, and Jameis Winston and the 2013 FSU Seminoles destroyed Auburn’s undefeated 2004 team. 

Round 3 Schedule

Bracket A Winner’s Bracket
1. 2019 LSU vs. 13. 2000 Miami
6. 2008 Florida vs. 7. 2012 Alabama

Bracket A Loser’s Bracket
2. 2018 Clemson vs. 16. 2009 Boise State
3. 2004 USC vs. 4. 2013 Florida State
5. 2010 Auburn vs. 11. 2010 Oregon
8. 2008 Oklahoma vs. 15. 1998 Ohio State

Bracket B Winner’s Bracket
1. 2001 Miami vs. 12. 2014 Oregon
3. 2009 Alabama vs. 7. 2003 LSU

Bracket B Loser’s Bracket
2. 2005 Texas vs. 16. 2017 UCF
6. 2005 USC vs. 4. 2013 Florida State
13. 1998 Tennessee vs. 11. 2016 Clemson
9. 2014 Ohio State vs. 10. 2000 Oklahoma

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