2012 College Football Playoff: December Madness

Results from the 2012 College Football Playoff Simulation

1
16
Notre Dame
Arkansas State
31
14
8
9
Ohio State
Florida
23
20
4
13
Stanford
Boise State
34
33
5
12
Florida State
N. Illinois
29
20
3
14
Kansas State
Utah State
34
23
6
11
Louisville
Georgia
19
28
7
10
Wisconsin
Oregon
33
40
2
15
Alabama
Tulsa
26
6
1
8
Notre Dame
Ohio State
24
17
4
5
Stanford
Florida State
16
23
3
11
Kansas State
Georgia
25
28
10
2
Oregon
Alabama
10
16
1
5
Notre Dame
Florida State
17
16
11
2
Georgia
Alabama
32
34
1
2
Notre Dame
Alabama

WhatIfSports.com proudly presents the ninth edition of our 16-team college football playoff: December Madness 2012. During the next two weeks, the top 16 college football teams (11 conference champions, Notre Dame and four at-large programs based on BCS ranking) will compete for the December Madness title.

Utilizing our award-winning college football simulation engine that accurately predicted 78.8 percent of all 2012 FBS games, we're "playing" each match-up 1,001 times.

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Team Logo
Team Logo
1
5
Notre Dame
Florida State
17
16
Everybody has a story.

For Notre Dame wide receiver T.J. Jones, his story is a bit more personal, but one that has been shared in newspapers, on television and websites across the country in the days leading up to the 2012 BCS National Championship game.

Jones' father, Andre, won a National Championship as a member of the Irish in 1988. A year and a half ago, at the age of 42, Andre Jones died of a brain aneurysm. As expected, this season and T.J's own crack at a national championship means more to him than a game won or lost. It would be another bond this father and son would share.

Jones came into the 2012 season with at least one reception in 12 straight games. He caught at least two balls in every single game this season with four touchdowns.

In his December Madness semifinal against Florida State, Jones caught four balls for 110 yards including a 66-yard touchdown reception, a catch that wound up being a game-winning score for Notre Dame.

Florida State's James Wilder rushed 15 times for 128 yards with a touchdown in the loss.

The Irish advance to the December Madness finale with a 17-16 win.

Player of the game: T.J. Jones (110 receiving yards, TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Notre Dame 60.1% - Florida State 39.9%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: Notre Dame 24.5 - Florida State 20.7
Team Logo
Team Logo
11
2
Georgia
Alabama
32
34
"A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green." - Francis Beacon

The Bulldogs are a multitude out on a mission, one filled with vindication and vengeance. The former has been achieved, as Georgia silenced their stigma of folding against top-ranked opponents with their second-round win over Kansas State. The latter, however, manifests itself in the form of the Crimson Tide. The SEC Championship, and a shot at the national title, was lost at the hands of Alabama, altering the Dawgs’ postseason itinerary from South Beach to Disney World. A December Madness crown would be of great comfort to Mark Richt, Aaron Murray and company, but nothing would be as rewarding as sending Nick Saban to an offseason sabbatical in the process.

Speaking of Saban, the head coach has the Tuscaloosa faithful fantasizing about their third BCS Championship in four seasons. Amazingly, the accumulation of national title rings has not translated to success in the December Madness arena, as the Crimson Tide were ousted in the second round of last year’s tournament. If Alabama wants to secure their spot in college football lore, placing this year’s Madness belt on their trophy mantle has to be a prerogative.

Perhaps the emotion got the best of both offenses, or the defensive units were running high on adrenaline, but the first quarter was a forgettable one, as each team traded field goals to close the opening period at 3-3.

Alabama ended this insipidness with a Kenyan Drake 15-yard dash to pay dirt early in the second quarter to put the Crimson Tide ahead. Yet the excitement was short-lived for 'Bama, as Georgia’s lethal backfield combination of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall turned the tables for the Bulldogs. Gurley struck first with a 30-yard touchdown scamper, followed by a Marshall 50-yard breakout dash to give the advantage to Georgia. Alabama answered with a 63-yard throw from A.J. McCarron to Kevin Norwood, with Ben Howell capping the drive with a 1-yard dive into the end zone. Unfortunately, while the Tide defense would hold Georgia on the following drive, a beautiful punt tucked 'Bama inside the five-yard line. This ominous Alabama field position was exploited by the 'Dawgs, who sacked McCarron in the end zone, giving Georgia two points and a 19-17 lead at half.

Whatever speech Saban delivered to rattle the cages of his team, the words of wisdom worked, as the Crimson Tide came out firing in the second half thanks to the terrain aptitude of T.J. Yeldon. The phenom freshman posted two second-half scores, the first a 56-yard burst in the third quarter, the second a 26-yard rumble in the beginning of the fourth, and, along with Jeremy Shelley’s second field goal of the afternoon, put the Tide on top 34-19 with just 10 minutes to go in the game.

However, Georgia would not go quietly into the night, with signal caller Aaron Murray finding Marshall twice through the air to cut the deficit to 34-32. Alas, a two-point conversion after the second touchdown pass failed, keeping Alabama’s lead alive.

The 'Dawgs elected to rely on their defense rather than attempt the onside kick. This decision proved erroneous, as seven-yard runs by Yeldon and Eddie Lacy gave the Tide the necessary first down to line up in the victory formation. Though they put up a fight, Georgia once again falls in dramatic fashion to its SEC counterpart.

Alabama’s Yeldon gets the game ball for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts, with McCarron adding 218 yards through the air. In the losing effort, Marshall contributed three touchdowns, while his backfield mate Gurley racked up 153 yards on the ground.

Player of the game: T.J. Yeldon (110 rushing yards, 2 TD)

Winning Percentage of 1,001 Simulations: Alabama 59.2% - Georgia 40.8%

Average Score of 1,001 Simulations: Alabama 24.3 - Georgia 21.6
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