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2018 NCAA Division I Football Field of 64

It's time for the grand thought experiment: what if football could do what basketball and baseball do and invite 64 teams to their tournament? I took my role as the selection committee as seriously as the exercise merits, setting myself a few rules:

1) No play-in games, because the hell with that.

2) Each FBS conference gets both title game representatives in, while each FCS conference gets their official champion in.

3) That's 33 automatic bids; the other 31 are at-large, determined by a specific formula that takes into account computer rankings and W-L record.

4) Teams from the same conference cannot meet until the regional final. COROLLARY: there is a maximum of 8 teams allowed per conference. (Sorry, Missouri.)

5) The first four bids from any one conference must be in four different regions. (This is not an NCAA rule, but I felt like making the puzzle more interesting.)

6) Teams must be at most one line away from their "true" seed and can only be moved if necessary to comply with rules 4 and 5.

7) Only teams with winning records can get at-large bids. This includes teams that went 6-6 but won their bowl game, by the way.

8) For the sake of argument, the first two rounds are at campus sites; the regionals are at four NY6 bowl sites; and the final four are at the Rose Bowl AS THEY SHOULD BE.

So without further ado, here is the Field:

EAST REGION (finals at the Orange Bowl)

1. CLEMSON (15-0, ACC Atlantic) hosts 16. DUQUESNE (8-3, Northeast)
8. UTAH (9-5, Pac-12 South) vs. 9. Auburn (8-5)

4. Louisiana State (10-3) hosts 13. James Madison (9-4)
5. Penn State (9-4) vs. 12. KENNESAW STATE (11-2, Big South)

2. NORTH DAKOTA STATE (15-0, Missouri Valley) hosts 15. WOFFORD (9-4, Southern)
7. West Virginia (8-4) vs. 10. PRINCETON (10-0, Ivy League)

3. CENTRAL FLORIDA (12-1, AAC East) hosts 14. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-6, MAC West)
6. APPALACHIAN STATE (11-2, Sun Belt East) vs. 11. Duke (8-5)

WEST REGION (finals at the Fiesta Bowl)

1. OKLAHOMA (12-2, Big XII first) hosts 16. SAN DIEGO (9-3, Pioneer)
8. South Dakota State (10-3) vs. 9. NORTHWESTERN (9-5, B1G West)

4. Iowa (9-4) hosts 13. PITTSBURGH (7-7, ACC Coastal)
5. Kentucky (10-3) vs. 12. Temple (8-5)

2. GEORGIA (11-3, SEC East) hosts 15. NORTH CAROLINA A&T (9-2, MEAC)
7. Stanford (9-4) vs. 10. Ohio (9-4)

3. FRESNO STATE (12-2, MWC West) hosts 14. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (8-6, CUSA East)
6. Syracuse (10-3) vs. 11. Georgia Southern (10-3)

SOUTH REGION (finals at the Sugar Bowl)

1. ALABAMA (14-1, SEC West) hosts 16. LOUISIANA (7-7, Sun Belt West)
8. Army West Point (11-2) vs. 9. Wisconsin (8-5)

4. Washington State (11-2) hosts 13. WEBER STATE (10-3, Big Sky)
5. Utah State (11-2) vs. 12. BUFFALO (10-4, MAC East)

2. Michigan (10-3) hosts 15. MAINE (10-4, Colonial)
7. Oregon (9-4) vs. 10. Iowa State (8-5)

3. Texas A&M (9-4) hosts 14. JACKSONVILLE STATE (8-3, Ohio Valley)
6. Cincinnati (11-2) vs. 11. Virginia (8-5)

MIDWEST REGION (finals at the Cotton Bowl)

1. OHIO STATE (13-1, B1G East) hosts 16. ALCORN STATE (9-3, SWAC)
8. Mississippi State (8-5) vs. 9. Eastern Washington (12-2)

4. WASHINGTON (10-4, Pac-12 North) hosts 13. COLGATE (10-2, Patriot)
5. TEXAS (10-4, Big XII second) vs. 12. Boston College (7-5)

2. Notre Dame (12-1) hosts 15. NICHOLLS (9-4, Southland)
7. N.C. State (9-4) vs. 10. UAB (11-3, CUSA West)

3. Florida (10-3) hosts 14. MEMPHIS (8-6, AAC West)
6. BOISE STATE (10-3, MWC Mountain) vs. 11. Troy (10-3)

LAST FOUR IN: Georgia Southern, Boston College, Temple, James Madison
FIRST FOUR OUT: Missouri (pigeonholed), Marshall, Oklahoma State, North Texas

AT-LARGE BID DISTRIBUTION:

SEC -- 6 (maximum)
ACC -- 5
B1G -- 4
Pac-12 -- 3
BXII -- 2
AAC -- 2
Sun Belt -- 2
Independents -- 2
MAC -- 1
MWC -- 1
Big Sky -- 1
Missouri Valley -- 1
Colonial -- 1

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