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BCS as a Playoff: Does Notre Dame or Oregon play Alabama for the 2012 title?

Nick Bromberg
Dr. Saturday

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Welcome to Dr. Saturday's BCS as the College Football Playoff feature. This week we'll go through each of the 16 years of the BCS and hypothesize if the national championship would have changed hands under the new College Football Playoff.

Since we don't have the benefit of a selection committee, we're taking the top four teams from the BCS standings entering bowl season. Is the top seed dethroned in the semifinals in 2012?

No. 1 Notre Dame (12-1)

Coach: Brian Kelly

Notable players: QB Everett Golson, RB Theo Riddick, WR T.J. Jones, TE Tyler Eifert, DT Louis Nix III, DE Stephon Tuitt, LB Manti Te'o

Notre Dame's season: The Fighting Irish's undefeated regular season wasn't without drama. Two wins went to overtime and one of those games was a three-overtime thriller. On Oct. 17, Notre Dame beat Stanford 20-13 in OT, stopping the Cardinal on a goal line stand after officials ruled Stepfan Taylor's forward progress had been stopped before he broke the plane of the end zone. Then on Nov. 3, also at home, the Irish beat Pitt 29-26 in three extra periods. Golson threw for 2,405 yards as he assumed the full-time quarterback job and Riddick ran for over 900 yards.

No. 2 Alabama (13-1)

Coach: Nick Saban

Notable players: QB AJ McCarron, RB Eddie Lacy, RB T.J. Yeldon, WR Amari Cooper, DL Jesse Williams, LB C.J. Mosley, DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, DB Dee Milliner

Alabama's season: A home loss didn't doom Alabama's title chances for the second straight season. We're not sure we have to remind you what team beat Alabama, but we'll do so anyway as it was Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M who won 29-24 on Nov. 10. Unlike the LSU loss in 2011, the A&M loss didn't prevent Alabama from making the SEC Championship Game and the Tide beat Georgia after the Bulldogs' last-ditch drive ended as time expired. McCarron threw for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns with three interceptions. Lacy ran for 1,322 yards and Yeldon ran for 1,108.

No. 3 Florida (11-2)

Coach: Will Muschamp

Notable players: QB Jeff Driskel, RB Mike Gillislee, TE Jordan Reed, DL Shariff Floyd, DE Dominique Easley, LB Antonio Morrison, DB Matt Elam

Florida's season: The Gators' defense carried the load in 2012. Florida held opponents under 20 points eight times, though one of those times was a loss to Georgia in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The loss on Oct. 27 derailed Florida's undefeated season and also knocked the Gators out of a SEC Championship Game berth and possible BCS Championship Game appearance. Driskel threw for 1,646 yards and Gillislee ran for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns.

No. 4 Oregon (12-1)

Coach: Chip Kelly

Notable players: QB Marcus Mariota, RB Kenjon Barner, RB De'Anthony Thomas, WR Josh Huff, LB Dion Jordan, LB Kiko Alonso, DB Ifo Expre-Olomu

Oregon's season: The tables turned on Oregon against Stanford in 2012. After beating Andrew Luck the previous two seasons, Oregon lost at Stanford 17-14 in overtime on Nov. 17. The late-season loss prevented Oregon from reaching the Pac-12 Championship Game and knocked the Ducks out of the BCS Championship Game. In every other game in 2012, Oregon scored at least 35 points. Mariota threw for 2,677 yards while Barner ran 1,767 and 21 touchdowns.

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The 2013 BCS Championship Game: Which defense would take over the game? Notre Dame entered with the No. 1 ranked defense in the country and allowed 10.3 points per game while Alabama was second at 10.7. The Fighting Irish defense faltered. Alabama jumped out to a 35-0 lead in the third quarter before Notre Dame finally scored. The Crimson Tide had 529 yards of total offense as McCarron threw for four touchdowns. Oh, and the world was introduced to Katherine Webb. We can't forget that moment.

The Playoff matchups: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Oregon, No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida.

Just missing out: No. 5 Kansas State, No. 6 Stanford

The semifinals: Both of these games wouldn't be close, though one would be an upset based on the seeds. Notre Dame was a very good football team, but in a matchup against Oregon, the Irish would be exposed. With an undefeated season and wins over four ranked teams in the regular season, Notre Dame had every right to be the top team in the BCS. However, we think Oregon's speed would overwhelm the Notre Dame defense and the Fighting Irish offense would be too impotent to keep up.

In the second game, its an Alabama romp. Well, as much as a 14-3 game could be a romp. It's a semifinal that would be controlled by both exceptional defenses but the differences between the offenses is too stark for Florida to overcome.

The finals: It's the game that everyone who isn't a Notre Dame fan was clamoring for, right? We never got to see Chip Kelly's offense vs. Saban's defense in the BCS, so let's savor this hypothetical. Who has the upper hand? We're going to stick with Alabama, but this game would be extremely similar to Oregon's game against Auburn in the 2011 BCS Championship Game. It's decided by a late Alabama score, and no one can make a convincing argument for Alabama and SEC superiority over Oregon and the Pac-12.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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