NCAA Football Tournament of Champions: 1996-2010 from From image

NCAA Tournament of Champions Explanation

Explaining the Tournament of Champions simulation

By Ryan Fowler -
May 17, 2011's college football simulation database dates back to 1996. If you do the math, 1996-2010 adds up to only 15 national champions. Our Tournament of Champions bracket has room for 16 and therefore we elected to share the wealth like Michigan and Nebraska shared the national title in 1997. The co-champions were both allowed to participate in this simulation tournament.

We also encountered a few more hanging chads, if you will, that needed to be addressed before proceeding with the seeding of the 16-team field.

The first issue dealt with LSU who beat Oklahoma in the 2003 Sugar Bowl BCS National Championship Game. The Tigers finished first in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but second in the Associated Press Poll. The USC Trojans earned the AP votes needed to split the nation's opinion of the best team in the country. So, in order to determine which team should earn the right to compete in the Tournament of Champions, we conducted a sidebar simulation between the 2003 Tigers and Trojans 2,001 times.

2003 LSU vs. USC Runoff Simulation
MatchupWin%Avg Score
LSU Tigers15.419
USC Trojans84.633

Our second issue also dealt with the Trojans who have, for the time being, vacated their 2004 BCS National Championship after the NCAA ruled Reggie Bush received improper benefits. Now some believe the undefeated Auburn Tigers, and not the Oklahoma Sooners, deserved recognition for their 2004 campaign. The Sooners were beat 55-19 by the Trojans in the BCS title game. When the NCAA ruling against USC came down last summer, we simulated Oklahoma versus Auburn to learn if the Tigers were worthy of championship consideration. As you will learn by reading the article, our simulation engine concluded that the Tigers were not. With USC out, Oklahoma slid in as the 2004 national champion representative.

***Go to Tournament of Champions Bracket***

With the field of 16 selected, we created a round-robin simulation where each team played the other 51 times. Our college football simulation engine generated each team's overall winning percentage and average points scored per game. This college football power ranking was used to seed the 16-team field. The 2001 Miami Hurricanes finished the simulation with the top winning percentage ahead of talented programs like the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide and 2008 Florida Gators. The Hurricanes are the Tournament of Champions number one seed.

Tournament of Champions Seeding Simulation
SeedTeamWin%Avg Score
12001 Miami (FL) Hurricanes77.835.1
22009 Alabama Crimson Tide74.632.1
32008 Florida Gators68.832.4
42003 USC Trojans61.130.9
52005 Texas Longhorns63.730.5
62004 Oklahoma Sooners59.029.9
71999 Florida State Seminoles54.728.2
81996 Florida Gators51.429.9
92000 Oklahoma Sooners48.525.7
102006 Florida Gators41.724.5
111998 Tennessee Volunteers41.725.3
122002 Ohio State Buckeyes37.423.7
131997 Michigan Wolverines32.521.1
142007 LSU Tigers31.223.9
152010 Auburn Tigers25.725.7
161997 Nebraska Cornhuskers25.224.4

***Go to Tournament of Champions Bracket***

Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for He can be reached at

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