PROTEST PLAYOFF '98: Encore

In some ways, reseeding the 1998 FBS Playoff was easy, and in other ways it was hard as hell.

Seeds 1-5 remain the same. Texas A&M needed to move to the north side of the bracket to avoid Kansas State until the final game. In general, I will try to avoid penalizing higher seeds to avoid problems like this, so Texas A&M moves down the seed line to No. 8.

Irrespective of other considerations, Arizona would normally move up to No. 6, but that would put Florida at No. 7 and create a likely 2nd round rematch with Florida State. While this is not as undesirable as a rematch with conference foe Tennessee, it should still be avoided where possible. Florida moves to No. 6 and cannot meet Florida State until the Final Four or Tennessee until the championship.

For the reseeded playoffs, I am keeping the 1st round match-ups intact since they are already simulated and it would create unnecessary hassles to shake them up needlessly. I had already avoided matching foes that had played before in the 1st round. This is more about correcting rematches in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

However, for the curious, I will make a note of places where 1st round matches might have changed using the new seeding principles. For the most part, 1998 would see no changes. Wisconsin cannot remain No. 9 since the Badgers need to be on the opposite side of the bracket from Ohio State, and since Nebraska cannot be No. 11 and thus be in K-State's region, the Badgers follow Florida to that spot.

Virginia stays at No. 12 to be on the opposite side of Florida State, but if I were doing this from scratch Syracuse would meet K-State as No. 14 and Air Force would move up to meet Ohio State at No. 13. This is because Syracuse already lost to Tennessee in the regular season and in the unlikely event they advance, I would not want them to meet the Volunteers again until the Fiesta Bowl.

However, since they are not conference opponents and Syracuse loses in the 1st round anyway, it's not much of a big deal and not worth simulating two more new games in the 1st round, so I left Air Force and Syracuse where they were originally.

 

1998: The Field

No. 1 seed Tennessee Volunteers (12-0; BCS #1): SEC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #15 Syracuse, BCS #8 Florida, BCS #13 Arkansas
Losses: none
Head Coach: Phillip Fulmer
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Tee Martin
Running Backs: Travis Henry and Travis Stephens
Wide Receivers: Peerless Price and Cedrick Wilson
Tight End: John Finlayson

 

No. 2 seed Florida State Seminoles (11-1; BCS #2): ACC Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #6 Texas A&M, BCS #14 Georgia Tech, BCS #12 Virginia, BCS #8 Florida
Losses: NC State
Head Coach: Bobby Bowden
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Chris Weinke
Running Backs: Travis Minor and Jeff Chaney
Wide Receivers: Peter Warrick and Ron Dugans
Tight End: Nick Franklin

 

No. 3 seed Kansas State Wildcats (11-1; BCS #3): Big 12 North Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #11 Nebraska
Losses: BCS #6 Texas A&M
Head Coach: Bill Snyder
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Michael Bishop
Running Backs: Eric Hickson and Marlon Charles
Wide Receivers: Darnell McDonald and Aaron Lockett
Tight End: Justin Swift

 

No. 4 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1; BCS #4): Big Ten Co-Champion (at-large bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Michigan State
Head Coach: John Cooper
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Joe Germaine
Running Backs: Michael Wiley and Joe Montgomery
Wide Receivers: David Boston and Dee Miller
Tight End: John Lumpkin

 

No. 5 seed UCLA Bruins (10-1; BCS #5): Pac-10 Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #7 Arizona
Losses: Miami
Head Coach: Bob Toledo
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Cade McNown
Running Backs: Jermaine Lewis and DeShaun Foster
Wide Receivers: Danny Farmer and Brian Poli-Dixon
Tight End: Mike Grieb

 

No. 6 seed Florida Gators (9-2; BCS #8): at-large bid
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #1 Tennessee, BCS #2 Florida State
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Offensive Style: Favor Pass

Quarterback: Doug Johnson
Running Backs: Terry Jackson and Robert Gillespie
Wide Receivers: Travis McGriff and Travis Taylor
Tight End: Erron Kinney

 

No. 7 seed Arizona Wildcats (11-1; BCS #7): at-large bid
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #5 UCLA
Head Coach: Dick Tomey
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Keith Smith
Running Backs: Trung Canidate and Kelvin Eafon
Wide Receivers: Dennis Northcutt and Jeremy McDaniel
Tight End: Mike Lucky

 

No. 8 seed Texas A&M Aggies (11-2; BCS #6): Big 12 Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: BCS #11 Nebraska, BCS #3 Kansas State
Losses: BCS #2 Florida State, Texas
Head Coach: R.C. Slocum
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Randy McCown
Running Backs: Dante Hall and Ja'Mar Toombs
Wide Receivers: Chris Cole and Leroy Hodge
Tight End: Derrick Spiller

 

No. 9 seed Tulane Green Wave (11-0; BCS #10): C-USA Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: none
Head Coach: Tommy Bowden/Chris Scelfo**
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Shaun King
Running Backs: Toney Converse and Michael Burks
Wide Receivers: P.J. Franklin and JaJuan Dawson
Tight End: Mike Turner

 

No. 10 seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3; BCS #11): at-large bid
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #6 Texas A&M, Texas, BCS #3 Kansas State
Head Coach: Frank Solich
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Eric Crouch
Running Backs: Correll Buckhalter and Joel Makovicka
Wide Receivers: Matt Davison and Kenny Cheatham
Tight End: Sheldon Jackson

 

No. 11 seed Wisconsin Badgers (10-1; BCS #9): Big Ten Co-Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Michigan
Head Coach: Barry Alvarez
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Mike Samuel
Running Backs: Ron Dayne and Eddie Faulkner
Wide Receivers: Chris Chambers and Ahmad Merritt
Tight End: Eric Grams

 

No. 12 seed Virginia Cavaliers (9-2; BCS #12): at-large bid
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #14 Georgia Tech, BCS #2 Florida State
Head Coach: George Welsh
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Aaron Brooks
Running Backs: Thomas Jones and Antwoine Womack
Wide Receivers: Terrance Wilkins and Kevin Coffey
Tight End: Casey Crawford

 

No. 13 seed Syracuse Orangemen (8-3; BCS #15): Big East Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: BCS #1 Tennessee, NC State, West Virginia
Head Coach: Paul Pasqualoni
Offensive Style: Favor Run

Quarterback: Donovan McNabb
Running Backs: Kyle McIntosh and Rob Konrad
Wide Receivers: Kevin Johnson and Darryl Daniel
Tight End: Stephen Brominski

 

No. 14 seed Air Force Falcons (11-1; Sagarin #17*): WAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: TCU
Head Coach: Fisher DeBerry
Offensive Style: Heavy Run

Quarterback: Blane Morgan
Running Backs: Charles Gilliam and Qualario Brown
Wide Receivers: Matt Farmer and Dylan Newman
Tight End: Ken Chandler

 

No. 15 seed Marshall Thundering Herd (11-1; Sagarin #54*): MAC Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Bowling Green
Head Coach: Bob Pruett
Offensive Style: Balanced

Quarterback: Chad Pennington
Running Backs: Doug Chapman and Llow Turner
Wide Receivers: Nate Poole and LaVorn Colclough
Tight End: Gregg Kellett

 

No. 16 seed Idaho Vandals (8-3; Sagarin #69*): Big West Champion (automatic bid)
1st playoff appearance

Notable Wins: none
Losses: Nevada, LSU, Washington State
Head Coach: Chris Tormey
Offensive Style: unavailable***

Quarterback: unavailable***
Running Backs: unavailable***
Wide Receivers: unavailable***
Tight End: unavailable***

 

*BCS rankings only went from #1-15 from 1998-2002, so I used Sagarin rankings to seed all teams not listed in the BCS Top 15.

**Tommy Bowden departed before the Liberty Bowl, in which the team was coached by Chris Scelfo. It is reasonable to hypothesize, however, that Bowden would have remained at Tulane until the Green Wave were eliminated from the playoff.

***The database for Idaho only goes back to 2001. Since they will most likely lose to No. 1 seed Tennessee anyway, I will use the 2001 team for simulation purposes.

 

2nd Round Bowl Selection

Rose Bowl: As before, the Rose Bowl tries for a 4-5 Ohio State-UCLA match-up (and fails).

Cotton Bowl: In this scenario, the Cotton Bowl has two equally tempting choices: Kansas State and its rabid fan base vs. Florida and K-State's former defensive coordinator, or SEC Champion Tennessee vs. home state team Texas A&M? Tough decision, but they opt for the latter to guarantee maximum ticket sales.

Citrus Bowl: That leaves the Citrus Bowl with a very nice consolation prize: a bunch of excited Gator fans that don't have to leave the state, not to mention a K-State fan base traveling to its first-ever Florida bowl game...

Holiday Bowl: The Holiday Bowl again lucks into getting Arizona and Florida State.

 

Sweet Sixteen (Day 1)

TennesseeLeftIdahoRight

Game 1: No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers (12-0) VS. No. 16 Idaho Vandals (8-3)

Neyland Stadium - Knoxville, Tenn.
Friday, Dec. 11, 1998 - 11 AM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 20
Wind: E 3 MPH

Final Score: Tennessee 35, Idaho 13

Player of the Game
Tennessee RB Jamal Lewis

Box Score

 

OhioStateLeftSyracuseRight

Game 2: No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-1) VS. No. 13 Syracuse Orangemen (8-3)

Ohio Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Friday, Dec. 11, 1998 - 1 PM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 15
Wind: N 4 MPH

Final Score: Ohio State 44, Syracuse 3

Player of the Game
Ohio State RB Michael Wiley

Box Score

 

VirginiaLeftUCLARight

Game 3: No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers (9-2) VS. No. 5 UCLA Bruins (10-1)

Rose Bowl - Pasadena, Calif.
Friday, Dec. 11, 1998 - 1:30 PM PST

Precipitation: Light Rain
Temperature: 48
Wind: W 6 MPH

Final Score: Virginia 24, UCLA 15

Player of the Game
Virginia RB Thomas Jones

Box Score

 

TulaneLeftTexasA&MRight

Game 4: No. 9 Tulane Green Wave (11-0) VS. No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies (11-2)

Kyle Field - College Station, Texas
Friday, Dec. 11, 1998 - 7 PM CST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 49
Wind: W 8 MPH

Final Score: Texas A&M 20, Tulane 10

Player of the Game
Texas A&M RB Dante Hall

Box Score

 

Sweet Sixteen (Day 2)

FloridaStateLeftMarshallRight

Game 1: No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (11-1) VS. No. 15 Marshall Thundering Herd (11-1)

Doak Campbell Stadium - Tallahassee, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 - 11 AM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 60
Wind: E 12 MPH

Final Score: Florida State 19, Marshall 13

Player of the Game
Florida State RB Travis Minor

Box Score

 

KansasStateLeftAirForceRight

Game 2: No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) VS. No. 14 Air Force Falcons (11-1)

KSU Stadium - Manhattan, Kan.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 - 12 PM CST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 35
Wind: S 17 MPH

Final Score: Kansas State 30, Air Force 12

Player of the Game
Kansas State QB Michael Bishop

Box Score

 

WisconsinLeftFloridaRight

Game 3: No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers (10-1) VS. No. 6 Florida Gators (9-2)

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - Gainesville, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 - 4:30 PM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 49
Wind: E 5 MPH

Final Score: Florida 22, Wisconsin 3

Player of the Game
Florida DT Eugene McCaslin

Box Score

 

ArizonaLeftNebraskaRight

Game 4: No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (11-1) VS. No. 10 Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-3)

Arizona Stadium - Tucson, Ariz.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 1998 - 6 PM MST

Precipitation: Moderate Rain
Temperature: 45
Wind: NW 8 MPH

Final Score: Arizona 31, Nebraska 13

Player of the Game
Arizona RB Trung Canidate

Box Score

 

3rd Round Bowl Selection

Sugar Bowl: The Sugar Bowl can gamble on Florida advancing, or it can just take the safe bet - perennial powers Tennessee and Ohio State. It takes the safe bet.

Orange Bowl: That leaves the Orange Bowl with Florida State (most likely) and Florida (possibly) or Kansas State (nice fallback).

 

Elite Eight

KansasStateLeftCompUSA Florida Citrus BowlFloridaRight

Game 1: No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats (12-1) VS. No. 6 Florida Gators (10-2)

CompUSA Florida Citrus Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl - Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998 - 11 AM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 78
Wind: SE 12 MPH

Final Score: Kansas State 31, Florida 9

Player of the Game
Kansas State QB Michael Bishop

Box Score

 

Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic
TennesseeLeftTexasA&MRight

Game 2: No. 1 Tennessee Volunteers (13-0) VS. No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies (12-2)

Southwestern Bell Cotton Bowl Classic
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998 - 12 PM CST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 53
Wind: NW 9 MPH

Final Score: Texas A&M 24, Tennessee 19

Player of the Game
Texas A&M QB Randy McCown

Box Score

 

FloridaStateLeftCulligan Holiday BowlArizonaRight

Game 3: No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (12-1) VS. No. 7 Arizona Wildcats (12-1)

Culligan Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998 - 1:30 PM PST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 56
Wind: SSE 6 MPH

Final Score: Florida State 13, Arizona 6

Player of the Game
Florida State RB Travis Minor

Box Score

 

OhioStateLeftRose BowlVirginiaRight

Game 4: No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1) VS. No. 12 Virginia Cavaliers (10-2)

The Rose Bowl Game presented by AT&T
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1998 - 5 PM PST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 51
Wind: E 2 MPH

Final Score: Ohio State 30, Virginia 3

Player of the Game
Ohio State WR David Boston

Box Score

 

Final Four

FloridaStateLeftFedEx Orange BowlKansasStateRight

Game 1: No. 2 Florida State Seminoles (13-1) VS. No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats (13-1)

FedEx Orange Bowl
Pro Player Stadium - Miami Gardens, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 26, 1998 - 4:30 PM EST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 79
Wind: E 20 MPH

Final Score: Kansas State 6, Florida State 0

Player of the Game
Florida State DT Todd Frier

Box Score

 

OhioStateLeftNokia Sugar BowlTexasA&MRight

Game 2: No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) VS. No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies (13-2)

Nokia Sugar Bowl
Louisiana Superdome - New Orleans, La.
Saturday, Dec. 26, 1998 - 8 PM EST

Precipitation: None (dome)
Temperature: 75 (dome)
Wind: None (dome)

Final Score: Ohio State 38, Texas A&M 10

Player of the Game
Ohio State RB Michael Wiley

Box Score

 

1999 FBS National Championship

 

KansasStateLeftFBS National Championship - 1998 FiestaOhioStateRight

No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats (14-1) VS. No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-1)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Sun Devil Stadium - Tempe, Ariz.
Saturday, Jan. 2, 1999 - 6 PM MST

Precipitation: None
Temperature: 48
Wind: WNW 13 MPH

Final Score: Kansas State 22, Ohio State 12

Player of the Game
Kansas State RB Marlon Charles

Box Score

 

Discussion

As I suspected, not much changed, but that was to be expected since I only shuffled a few teams in the original seed order. In the end, we got the same final results, but what was slightly surprising was that despite the shift in seeds, the overall seed records stayed the same. Only coach, conference, and team records changed, and those only slightly.

The Florida-Texas A&M swap was detrimental to Spurrier and positive for the Aggies, but all else remained unchanged. Kansas State still advanced to the title game, while Tennessee fell to yet another No. 8 seed, who then in turn still got pummeled by Ohio State. Bonus irony: Ohio State beat Texas A&M in actuality that season, and even in the Sugar Bowl, no less, but the score was a more modest 24-14.

Once could be a fluke, but twice is somewhat conclusive: Tennessee was overrated that season. They were simply the luckiest team and benefited from a flawed system. I feel fairly confident now in saying that the Wildcats should have been the rightful champions in 1998, especially after seeing the only team that beat them advance to the Final Four.

 

Original 1998 Bracket

1998

 

Revised 1998 Bracket

1998reseed

 

Final Associated Press Poll (with final game result)

  1. Kansas State (15-1) - beat Ohio State 22-12 in the Fiesta Bowl
  2. Tennessee (13-1) - lost to Texas A&M 19-24 in the Cotton Bowl
  3. Ohio State (13-2) - lost to Kansas State 12-22 in the Fiesta Bowl
  4. Florida State (13-2) - lost to Kansas State 0-6 in the Orange Bowl
  5. Texas A&M (13-3) - lost to Ohio State 10-38 in the Sugar Bowl
  6. Tulane (12-1) - beat BYU 41-27 in the Liberty Bowl
  7. Arizona (12-2) - lost to Florida State 6-13 in the Holiday Bowl
  8. Air Force (12-2) - beat Washington 45-25 in the Oahu Bowl
  9. Marshall (12-2) - beat Louisville 48-29 in the Motor City Bowl
  10. Wisconsin (11-2) - beat Nebraska 38-20 in the Alamo Bowl
  11. Georgia Tech (10-2) - beat Notre Dame 35-28 in the Gator Bowl
  12. Florida (10-3) - lost to Kansas State 9-31 in the Citrus Bowl
  13. UCLA (10-3) - lost to Georgia 31-35 in the Peach Bowl
  14. Michigan (10-3) - beat Arkansas 45-31 in the Tangerine Bowl
  15. Virginia (10-3) - lost to Ohio State 3-30 in the Rose Bowl
  16. Georgia (9-3) - beat UCLA 35-31 in the Peach Bowl
  17. Texas (9-3) - beat Mississippi State 38-11 in the Independence Bowl
  18. Arkansas (9-3) - lost to Michigan 31-45 in the Tangerine Bowl
  19. Penn State (9-3) - beat Kentucky 26-14 in the Outback Bowl
  20. Miami (9-3) - beat NC State 46-23 in the MicronPC Bowl
  21. Notre Dame (9-3) - lost to Georgia Tech 28-35 in the Gator Bowl
  22. Virginia Tech (9-3) - beat Alabama 38-7 in the Music City Bowl
  23. Nebraska (9-5) - lost to Wisconsin 20-38 in the Alamo Bowl
  24. Missouri (8-4) - beat Syracuse 34-10 in the Insight.com Bowl
  25. Colorado (8-4) - beat Oregon 51-43 in the Aloha Bowl

 

BracketCat's Protest Playoff Archives

1998: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Fiesta | Data

1999: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Sugar | Data

2000: Selection Sunday | Sweet 16 (1) | Sweet 16 (2) | Elite 8 | Final 4 | Orange | Data

2001: Selection Sunday

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