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College football dream tournament, Day 2: Bama teams are falling, but Cam Newton pulls an upset

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Auburn v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let’s review the ground rules of this silly time killer one more time. I’m simulating a 128-team tournament of national champions. The ground rules:

1. We’re going to pit national champions from the last 128 years against each other. In the many instances in which more than one team claims a title from a given year, I’ll use Estimated S&P+ to determine the participant — the highest-rated team gets in.

2. We’ll break them up into four ‘regions’ based on the year. Teams from 1889-1920 go in one region, from 1921-52 in another, from 1953-84 in another, and 1985-2016 in another.

3. Within each ‘region,’ we’ll seed the teams based on Estimated S&P+.

4. To simulate each game, we’ll determine win probability based on each team’s Estimated S&P+ rating, then use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Day 1 of the tournament featured mostly chalk, but things got a little funky with 1980s and 1990s teams — 1984 BYU upset 1977 Notre Dame, and 1990 Colorado took down 1995 Nebraska.

On to Day 2.


1899-1920 Region

  • (6) 1890 Harvard (win prob: 67.5%) def. (27) 1894 Yale
  • (22) 1904 Michigan (win prob: 44.2%) def. (11) 1918 Pitt
  • (3) 1903 Michigan (win prob: 74.1%) def. (30) 1897 Penn
  • (14) 1916 Army (win prob: 53.8%) def. (19) 1909 Yale

The oldest remaining team in the bracket advances, and Michigan has quite the presence in the second round.

  • (7) 1914 Texas (win prob: 63.1%) def. (26) 1898 Harvard
  • (10) 1912 Harvard (win prob: 57.2%) def. (23) 1899 Harvard
  • (2) 1908 LSU (win prob: 86.7%) def. (31) 1911 Penn State
  • (15) 1893 Yale (win prob: 51.1%) def. (18) 1919 Centre

One of the Kickstarter backers for my book requested I reference 1908 LSU in the autograph on the front. Edgar Wingard’s Tigers began that season with a win over New Orleans Gym Club. They begin this tournament with a big win over 1911 Penn State.

1921-52 Region

  • (1) 1945 Army (win prob: 89.1%) def. (32) 1950 Oklahoma
  • (16) 1937 Pitt (win prob: 51.7%) def. (17) 1928 USC
  • (8) 1934 Alabama (win prob: 62.3%) def. (25) 1923 Yale
  • (9) 1948 Michigan (win prob: 59.7%) def. (24) 1926 Alabama

Chalk.

  • (5) 1946 Notre Dame (win prob: 70.4%) def. (28) 1936 Minnesota
  • (12) 1949 Notre Dame (win prob: 54.9%) def. (21) 1935 Princeton
  • (4) 1930 Alabama (win prob: 70.8%) def. (29) 1938 TCU
  • (13) 1939 Texas A&M (win prob: 54.3%) def. (20) 1952 Michigan State

Chalk! This region is caked with 1940s Notre Dame. And a team that refused to play Notre Dame (1948 Michigan).

1953-84 Region

  • (27) 1963 Texas (win prob: 24.3%) def. (6) 1978 USC
  • (11) 1973 Alabama (win prob: 58.2%) def. (22) 1955 Oklahoma
  • (3) 1966 Notre Dame (win prob: 82.9%) def. (30) 1968 Ohio State
  • (19) 1964 Alabama (win prob: 46.5%) def. (14) 1961 Alabama

That’s right, a second-round matchup between 1966 Notre Dame and an Alabama team is on the way. Finally, the Tide get a revenge opportunity.

  • (7) 1965 Michigan State (win prob: 73.8%) def. (26) 1969 Texas
  • (23) 1967 USC (win prob: 40.0%) def. (10) 1975 Oklahoma
  • (2) 1959 Syracuse (win prob: 85.2%) def. (31) 1960 Minnesota
  • (18) 1976 Pitt (win prob: 47.1%) def. (15) 1970 Texas

Darrell Royal’s first Texas wishbone teams bow out quickly.

1985-2016 Region

  • (1) 2008 Florida (win prob: 77.8%) def. (32) 2002 Ohio State
  • (16) 1999 Florida State (win prob: 51.9%) def. (17) 2009 Alabama
  • (25) 1992 Alabama (win prob: 39.2%) def. (8) 1996 Florida
  • (9) 2014 Ohio State (win prob: 60.3%) def. (24) 1994 Nebraska

Gene Stallings’ awesome 1992 Bama defense withstands Danny Wuerffel and 1996 Florida! Meanwhile, the only one of three Tom Osborne-led champs to reach the second round is ... the 1997 team. Didn’t see that one coming.

  • (28) 2010 Auburn (win prob: 35.3%) def. (5) 1991 Washington
  • (12) 1987 Miami (win prob: 57.4%) def. (21) 2000 Oklahoma
  • (4) 1993 Florida State (win prob: 65.2%) def. (29) 1989 Miami
  • (13) 2004 USC (win prob: 55.7%) def. (20) 2013 Florida State

And Cam Newton leads the biggest upset of the day. Recent Alabama teams are falling left and right, but 2010 Auburn knocks off an incredible 1990 Washington team.