Your Choice: The People's Playoffs
By Stewart Mandel, CNNSI.com
Hope you like rematches.
Based on users' answers to our recent Your Choice survey, CNNSI.com devised a hypothetical playoff based on the 2000 season. The result: An eight-team bash in which all four first-round games are rematches of the regular season, including an unprecedented third meeting between Oklahoma and Kansas State.
Now, you get to determine how it would play out by voting for the winners of each game, starting with today's first round.
The format of CNNSI.com's playoff follows almost exactly the desires of the survey respondents. It should be noted, though, that overcoming the logistics were every bit as tricky as every conference commissioner and bowl official could imagine.
First, there was the matter of picking and seeding teams. Fifty-one percent of you opted for a panel of actual humans over the BCS computer or Top 25 polls. So a five-person panel, including CNNSI.com's Ivan Maisel and Trev Alberts, was asked to rank its top eight teams based on similar criteria used by the NCAA basketball selection committee -- quality wins, head-to-head competition, how teams finished the season, etc.
The bigger issue came in the fact that 54 percent of you wanted all playoff games to be played at traditional bowl sites. That the four BCS bowls -- Orange, Rose, Sugar, Fiesta -- would be included was a given. But what of the other three playoff games? How do you pick just three for this escalated prestige out of the 21 others available? Are they the same every year? Or perhaps we just double-up at three of the BCS sites.
The solution was to pick three bowls to host first-round games on an individual basis each season, much the way the NCAA awards Final Four sites or the NFL Super Bowl sites, based on location, prestige and potential payout. Those chosen for 2000: the Cotton in Dallas, the Citrus in Orlando and the Peach in Atlanta. The four BCS games would rotate each season between hosting first round, semifinal or championship games. Teams would be assigned to the bowls based on geographic considerations.
Finally, there was the timing issue. An overwhelming 70 percent opted for the playoff to run through mid-January, or as long as it takes. So, due to the inclusion of the bowls in this system, our tournament begins with the traditional New Year's weekend and concludes on Jan. 20, during the weekend between the NFL conference championships and Super Bowl.
As for the TV networks, we assumed they'd want to tie in programming with the already-scheduled pro playoff games. So kickoff is moved up from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m. when following NFL games.
Without further ado, your 2000-01 Division I-A playoff pairings:
Cotton Bowl -- Sunday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m. ET
Rose Bowl -- Monday, Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. ET
Citrus Bowl -- Monday, Jan. 1, 8 p.m. ET
Peach Bowl -- Tuesday, Jan. 2, 8 p.m. ET
Fiesta Bowl -- Saturday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m. ET
Sugar Bowl -- Sunday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m. ET
Orange Bowl -- Saturday, Jan. 20, 8 p.m. ET