1
16
Auburn
Miami (OH)
47
10
8
9
Arkansas
Michigan State
40
35
4
13
Stanford
UCONN
35
21
5
12
Wisconsin
Virginia Tech
27
26
3
14
TCU
UCF
35
18
6
11
OSU
Boise State
37
34
7
10
Oklahoma
LSU
27
31
2
15
Oregon
Troy
48
13
1
8
Auburn
Arkansas
4
5
Stanford
Wisconsin
3
6
TCU
Ohio State
10
2
LSU
Oregon

For the 7th consecutive season Whatifsports.com is proud to present the ultimate college football playoff in a tournament we refer to as December Madness 2010.

Over the next three weeks, the top 16 college football teams (11 conference champions and five at-large programs based on BCS rating) will compete for the December Madness title.

Utilizing our award-winning college football simulation engine, we "play" each match-up 1,001 times. During the 2010 regular season our college football predictions were accurate over 75-percent of the time straight up.

Play Gridiron Dynasty -- the best college football game on the web.
Team Logo
Team Logo
1
16
Auburn
Miami (OH)
47
10
It's not often an undefeated record in the SEC gets overlooked. But thanks to the superb play of Cam Newton and subsequent eligibility issues concerning the Tiger quarterback, Auburn's 13-0 mark has somewhat been shoved to the backburner.

What's not gotten lost in the proverbial noise is the firepower of the Auburn offense. Averaging 43.2 points per game, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's no-huddle attack has befuddled and bamboozled opponents who are left with the arduous task of stopping one of the nation's strongest run games while minding the accuracy and strength of Newton's arm.

On the other side of the offensive spectrum lies the Miami RedHawks, who averaged a mere 20.5 points per contest (ranked 103rd in Division I-A). The defense has been slightly more impressive, holding adversaries to 23.4 points on the scoreboard. Miami squirmed it's way into December Madness with five straight wins, including a 26-21 upset over heavily-favored Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.

While everyone loves an underdog, Miami's foot didn't fit Cinderella's slipper as the RedHawks fell 47-10. Auburn went to the ground game early and often, racking up 300 yards and four touchdowns through the rushing attack. Running back Onterio McCalebb started the onslaught with a six-yard dash into the end zone in the first quarter, and the Tigers never looked back.

To the RedHawks' credit, they did hang tough into the 2nd quarter, as a TD pass from Zac Dysert to Nick Harwell brought Miami within seven of the Tigers. Unfortunately for those in Oxford, Ohio, Auburn threw a little 30-0 run at the 'Hawks, highlighted by three touchdowns from Newton and a 61-yard scamper by Michael Dyer.

Player of the game: Cam Newton (243 pass yds, 1 TD - 72 rush yards, 2 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Auburn 95.0% - Miami (OH) 5.0%
Team Logo
Team Logo
8
9
Arkansas
Michigan St.
40
35
Contradicting philosophies collide in this matchup as the high-octane, aerial assault of Arkansas battles the balanced, grind-it-out mantra of Michigan State.

The air raid of the Razorbacks is directed by All-American candidate Ryan Mallett, who tossed for nearly 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns despite dealing with a concussion during the middle of the season. The transfer from Michigan spread the wealth amongst the WR corps, as five wideouts accumulated over 580 yards receiving. And while not obtaining the same acclaim or action as their receiving brethren, the Arkansas backfield has been just as productive with Knile Davis posting 13 touchdowns and 1,183 yards on just 178 carries.

However, Mallett and company might not attain offensive achievement with such ease when facing three-time Big Ten selection Greg Jones and the Spartan defense. Michigan State's success derives from their ability to hold opposing offenses at bay, as LB Jones and the rest of the unit are surrendering just 20.1 points on the season.

Not to say they have trouble putting points on the board in East Lansing. The Spartans tend to favor the run, gaining 2,026 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground. In the passing game, quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Edwin Baker have developed an affinity that's propelled the duo into the upper echelon of QB-to-WR combos in the country.

In one of the most thrilling finishes in December Madness history, Mallett hit rarely-utilized TE Chris Gragg with a 30-yard strike in the closing seconds to give Arkansas the 40-35 W. The fact that the game came down to the wire is credit to the Spartans, who found themselves down by 11 heading into the 4th quarter. But thanks to 15-3 run featuring a 52-yard score from running back Le'Veon Bell (his second of the day), Michigan State took a 35-34 lead with 1:34 to go. Unfortunately, that was too much time for the Razorback offense, as Mallett directed a 69-yard drive that culminated with Gragg finding the promised land.

For Arkansas, Mallett threw for 381 yards and four touchdowns, with DJ Williams totaling 101 yards receiving and Jarius Wright hauling in three scores. Bell and Baker combined for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort for the Spartans.

Player of the game: Ryan Mallett (381 passing yards, 4 TDs)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Arkansas 66.5% - Michigan State 33.5%
Team Logo
Team Logo
4
13
Stanford
UCONN
35
21
Perhaps it got lost on the West Coast, but Stanford's 11-1 season seemingly went under America's radar. Save for a 2nd quarter collapse in Eugene, the Cardinal were as unstoppable as anyone in the country. Powered by Heisman-hopeful Andrew Luck, Stanford averaged 40.3 points and 467.3 yards per contest. But one would be erroneous to assume this is a one-trick pony. Jim Harbaugh's squad is 11th in the country in opposition scoring, conceding just 17.8 points a game.

Luck has been projected as April's #1 overall pick, and with good reason. The Cardinal QB has thrown for 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns on the year while adding another 438 yards on the ground. Sophomore Stepfan Taylor has helped lighten Luck's load by rushing for over 1,000 yards and finding the end zone 15 times.

Connecticut, on the other hand, is simply happy to be here. At one juncture in the season, the Huskies had a mark of 3-4 with losses to such football "powerhouses" as Temple, Rutgers, and Louisville. But a 16-13 overtime upset of West Virginia vaulted UConn on a five-game winning streak that earned the Huskies the Big East Crown.

Randy Edsall's offensive game plan is pounding it on the ground, as Connecticut averages around 180 yards on the ground. The passing attack is relatively anemic, which correlates to the Huskies' pedestrian mark of 26.9 points per ballgame. Luckily for those in Storrs, the UConn defense is preeminent, yielding just 19.8 points to opponents.

Alas, no one forwarded that memo to the Cardinal as Stanford defeated Connecticut 35-21. Yet while some may have prognosticated a blowout, UConn stood tough, down just six heading in the 4th quarter. But a TD throw from Luck to wideout Doug Baldwin and a 15-yard dash by Tyler Gaffney put the game out of reach.

Player of the game: Stepfan Taylor (111 rushing yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Stanford 86.0% - UCONN 14.0%
Team Logo
Team Logo
5
12
Wisconsin
Virginia Tech
27
26
The adage of, "What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?" is at play when Bret Bielema's high-flying offense meets the "Beamer Ball" philosophy of Virginia Tech.

When one usually conjures an image of a stereotypical Big Ten-team, an offensive juggernaut is typically not the visual conceived. But the Badgers are not your emblematic Midwestern team, as Wisconsin is averaging 43.4 points per ballgame, good for fourth in the nation. Wisconsin's method for this scoreboard madness lies in their run game, which puts up a robust 247.3 yards a contest with the three-headed monster of John Clay, James White and Montee Ball. In the passing game, quarterback Scott Tolzien is one of the more efficient arms in the nation with a 74.3% completion rate in 2010.

Blacksburg, Virginia isn't foreign to the ground attack, as the Hokies produced 30 touchdowns and over 2,700 yards in the running game. Senior signal caller Tyrod Taylor was not just a threat with his legs (637 yards and five scores), but was extremely protective of the ball, throwing just four picks compared to 23 touchdowns on the year. But Virginia Tech's calling card lies in its special teams and defense. The Hokies are oppressing opponents to 19.1 points per game, and the special teams unit is infamous for its effectiveness and disruption.

Wisconsin jumped out to an early 13-0 advantage thanks to a Clay touchdown and two field goals from Philip Welch. But Virginia Tech came storming back with a 22-yard passing strike to Randall Dunn followed by Darren Evans powering his way into the end zone on a one-yard line. The teams continued to trade barbs until Wisconsin's Ball crossed the goal line with 2:42 left to give the Badgers a 27-20 lead. Virginia Tech answered with vigor, and suddenly the Hokies found themselves on the Badger 31-yard line with seconds left.

But ah, the irony. After years of building a reputation on their special teams' prowess, Frank Beamer and his Hokies lose a heart-breaker 27-26 due to a missed extra point with six seconds remaining. After David Wilson hauled in a 31-yard pass from Taylor, kicker Chris Hazley misses to the right, sending Wisconsin into the second round.

The running game powered the Badgers, as the team combined for 227 yards. In the losing cause, Taylor threw for 244 and three scores for Virginia Tech.

Player of the game: John Clay (169 rush yds, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Wisconsin 51.8% - Virginia Tech 48.2%
Team Logo
Team Logo
3
14
TCU
UCF
35
18
The Horned Frogs may have run the table by boasting one of the top scoring offenses and defense in the country. It's those dinner guests surrounding TCU at the proverbial table that critics took issue. With the exception of Oregon State (Utah too I guess) boasting a strong resume, the BCS wouldn't hand out invites to the remaining teams on their schedule without controversy.

However, the Frogs played and defeated everyone on their schedule and for that a well-deserved three seed in the December Madness college football playoff is theirs. Andy Dalton possessed a QB rating of 167.02 in 2010 and the rushing duo of Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker combined for over 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns.

For the third time since joining UCF, head coach head coach George O'Leary has earned Conference USA Coach of the Year honors. The Knights ripped off a three-game win streak to end the season and finished 25th in the BCS standings. The team can score some points, ranked 24th in the country in points per game (33.8), but their bread and butter is their defense. UCF is ranked in the top 20 in yards allowed per game and 15th in rush yards allowed per game.

In the opening round match-up between TCU and UCF, the Horned Frogs drew a line in the sand and dared the Knights to cross it. Gary Patterson's defense held the Knights to just three field goals the first 36 minutes, while his offense found their groove, building a 21-9 lead at the end of three quarters.

The Horned Frogs' leading rusher, Ed Wesley, broke a 24-yard run early in the fourth quarter to all but seal a first-round victory for his team.

It wasn't until 1:46 remained on the clock that UCF found the end zone. Latavius Murray caught a three-yard pass out of the backfield to leave coach O'Leary's crew with a little pride as they exited December Madness.

Player of the game: Ed Wesley (99 rushing yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: TCU 93.1% - UCF 6.9%
Team Logo
Team Logo
6
11
Ohio State
Boise State
37
34
Little Sisters of the Poor just missed making the field of 16 this season, but Boise State fans need not fret. We have found a suitable first-round opponent based out of the Columbus, Ohio area. Yes, Ohio State president Gordon Gee and his bowtie were thrilled when they heard the news. BCS worthy or not, in the "what-if" world Bucks and Broncos have an equal shot at the December Madness playoff title.

Like TCU, Boise's body of work looked more like a Biggest Loser contestant than Maxim cover girl. To some the BCS gods reigned down on the "Smurf Turf" titans and blew both of Kyle Brotzman's kicks outside the uprights to hand the Broncos their first, and only, loss. In turn, the dream of a BCS national championship floated wide right of Boise.

Regardless, outside of Gee's regurgitation of something he heard on the radio about the Broncos, Chris Petersen's boys know how to play some ball. In nine out of their 12 games, the Broncos have scored 40-or-more points and allowed 20 or less points. They are nationally ranked second in points scored and fourth in points allowed.

The defense ranked just ahead of them is the Ohio State Buckeyes. A team, like Boise, who were ready to get a whiff of the BCS national championship before running into a Badger buzz saw up in Wisconsin. Though their offense regressed this season, Jim Tressel's defense was the catalyst behind the Bucks' one-loss regular season.

Knowing OSU's trend of slow starts this season, few were surprised when the Broncos' Doug Martin scored a touchdown to cap off his team's first possession. Brotzman would later add a field goal to place the Bucks in a 10-0 hole early.

OSU would answer back by scoring 24-unanswered points. The buzz of a 14-point cushion would die right before halftime as Kellen Moore hooked up with Tommy Gallarda for a score.

Boise would pull even, 24-all, in the third and then re-take the lead following a Kyle Efaw 52-yard scamper to the zone.

Trailing 34-30 with five seconds remaining in the game, Terrelle Pryor found his fifth option, Corey Brown, for the Bucks' game-winning touchdown.

At least big brother learned even little sisters fight back.

Player of the game: Corey Brown (Game-winning touchdown reception)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Ohio State 68.3% - Boise State 31.7%
Team Logo
Team Logo
7
10
Oklahoma
LSU
27
31
As the clock struck midnight following a full slate of games on November 6th, two startling scenarios presented themselves: A) LSU and all their good fortune (err luck) could still sneak their way into the BCS title game and B) Oklahoma could be shut out of the Big 12 title game. On that day, the Tigers upset Alabama and the Sooners dropped their second conference contest to Texas A&M.

Fast-forward a month and change and LSU is a December Madness at-large invitee and the Sooners Big 12 champions once again.

Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones was far from perfect at times this season, but did finish the season with 35 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of over 135. As for LSU, to say Stevan Ridley was the team's workhorse would be a gross understatement. Les Miles' rush-first offense forced Ridley, believe it or not, to carry the ball 225 times this season for 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns.

We pick up the tightly-contested first round match-up late in the third. Following a Jimmy Stevens field goal, Oklahoma possessed a ten point lead with a little over three minutes remaining in the quarter. It was then, coach Miles pulled out and polished up the shoehorn responsible for the late-in-the-game theatrics LSU thrived on for a good portion of the season.

The Tigers' Ridley punched right back following the Sooners' field goal with a 71-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

Oklahoma clung to their 27-24 lead the entire fourth quarter and despite Jones throwing an interception (his 4th of the game) managed to contain the LSU offense. That was until the final minute. With the ball sitting on the Oklahoma 49-yard line following a Ridley 15-yard rush, LSU called a timeout. Playing for the field goal and tie, Miles handed the ball off to Michael Ford for the ninth and final time. The true freshman took the ball off left tackle and was gone, 49 yards to the house to lead LSU to the only first-round upset.

The Mad Hatter lives to fight another game.

Player of the game: Ryan Broyles (140 receiving yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: LSU 51.9% - Oklahoma 48.1%
Team Logo
Team Logo
2
15
Oregon
Troy
48
13
You could say the Troy Trojans are the Oregon Ducks of the Sun Belt Conference with a few minor modifications. Just replace the Ducks' high-octane running attack with an aerial assault obsession and the 14th-best defense in the country with the 28th-worst and ... boom ... Troy Ducks. Even Miss Lippy thinks that's quacktastic.

Prior to their December Madness invitation, the Trojans had their moment in the regular season to prove they could hang with the big boys from the BCS. Troy failed. They allowed South Carolina to light them up for 69 points. However, with the Sun Belt Conference on the line, Troy responded last week by crushing Florida Atlantic 44-7. It was their best defensive effort of the season.

There isn't much to say about Oregon that hasn't previously been dissected to its core. Chip Kelly only knows two speeds: fast and warp speed. The Ducks rank 101st in average time of possession (28:09) and yet are first in points per game (49.3/gm). If this whole coaching things doesn't work out, Kelly could teach courses in time management.

To the Trojans credit they did keep this game interesting past halftime. They scored a touchdown on their first possession of the third quarter via a Chris Anderson 21-yard run to creep within four points.

Oregon then proceeded to rip off a 38-0 run to finish the game with LaMichael James leading the way with 222 yards on 32 carries and a 43-yard touchdown run for the Quack Attack.

The Sun Belt has set on Troy's December Madness run.

Player of the game: LaMichael James (222 rushing yards, 1 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Oregon 95.0% - Troy 5.0%
What's Next?
Related Football Features

New Terms of Use Customer Support Privacy Statement Advertising Choices

Popular on WhatIfSports site: Baseball Simulation | College Basketball Game | College Football Game | Online Baseball Game | Hockey Simulation | NFL Picks | College Football Picks | Sports Games

© 1999-2014 WhatIfSports.com, Inc. All rights reserved. WhatIfSports is a trademark of WhatIfSports.com, Inc. SimLeague, SimMatchup and iSimNow are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts, Inc. Used under license. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.