2019 is the 6th year of the College Football Playoffs system. Prior, the sport used the BCS, which involved a computer formula determining the top two teams that would play each other in the championship.
That would have been quite controversial this season, with Ohio State, LSU, and Clemson all 13-0 and all staking a claim to be a top 1-2 team. Hard to imagine one of them being left out. That’s why the playoffs work. It gives more teams an opportunity, outside of just the top two teams.
But what if the playoffs didn’t exist? How would the Championship Game have been impacted if the last five seasons followed the BCS model?
2015 National Championship – Ohio State vs Oregon
#4 Ohio State beat #2 Oregon to win the National Championship. Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliot ran for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns (in a game ironically played at Cowboys Stadium).
2015 BCS Championship – Alabama vs Oregon
Ohio State would not have had the opportunity to play in the championship. It would have been #1 Alabama vs. #2 Oregon. In addition to Ohio State, #3 Florida State, who lost to Oregon in the Rose bowl, would have been left out.
2016 National Championship – Alabama vs Clemson
Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 to win the National Championship. Crimson Tide outscored Clemson 24-16 in a wild fourth quarter.
2016 BCS Championship – Alabama vs Clemson
Alabama was ranked #2 and Clemson was ranked #1, so these two teams would have still met in the Championship Game. To get the the Championship, Alabama beat Michigan State 38-0 and Clemson beat Oklahoma 37-16.
2017 National Championship – Clemson vs Alabama
Clemson beat Alabama 35-31 to win the National Championship. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson threw 420 yards and 3 TDs and helped the Tigers score 21 points in the fourth quarter.
2017 BCS Championship – Clemson vs Alabama
Alabama was ranked #1 and Clemson was ranked #2, so the opposite scenario as above, but also like the previous year, the BCS would have pitted the top two teams in the Championship Game. In the Playoffs, Clemson blanked Ohio State 31-0 and Alabama beat Washington 24-7.
2018 National Championship – Alabama vs Georgia
#4 Alabama beat #3 Georgia in overtime to win the National Championship
2018 BCS Championship – Clemson vs Oklahoma
Neither Alabama or Georgia would have made the National Championship Game. #1 Clemson lost to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and #3 Georgia won a classic Rose Bowl against #2 Oklahoma, led by QB Baker Mayfield.
2019 National Championship – Clemson vs Alabama
Clemson blew out Alabama 44-16 in the Championship Game. Clemson led 14-13 after the first quarter and outscored Alabama 17-3 in the second and 13-0 in the third.
2019 BCS Championship – Clemson vs Alabama
Every time Clemson has played Alabama in the championship, it has featured the top two teams. Both teams were 14-0 coming into the Championship. Alabama beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl and Clemson beat Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.