The Great 21st Century Division 1 Football Tournament
For three regions, our tournament has mostly followed the script. The teams that have emerged from the West Coast, Coal, and Western Great Lakes regions would've probably been your first or second guess upon looking at the field. That is emphatically not what happened in the Florida-Georgia region.
(If you're not familiar with the tournament's premise, the link to the West Coast region has the full explanation, but the nutshell version is all 256 Division 1 football teams are sorted geographically into a giant bracket, with tournament results determined by randomly-selected real-life 21st-century results between teams when available, simulated results when not.)
There are 17 teams in Florida and Georgia, so Kennesaw State (competing in the Tenn-olina region) was the casualty to cut us down to 16. Here's how the bracket came out:
I knew there would be at least one region where the random assignment of teams would end up looking un-random, but I assure you that the titular Florida-Georgia showdown and UCF-USF were selected as first-round matchups by chance.
All results are real games, unless denoted with (SIM)
*First Round results*
[2003 Florida International] 35
[2003 Georgia Southern] 37
In just its second season of football, FIU got into a thrilling showdown with Georgia Southern, but came up just short. The Panthers took a lead in the final 5 minutes on a 60-yard bomb from Josh Padrick to Harold Leath, but the Eagles responded with (surprise) a rare pass from Trey Hunter, this one for 33 yards and a winning TD.
[2013 Mercer] 7
[2013 Florida Atlantic] 51
(SIM) In its first season of reviving its football program after a 71-year hiatus, Mercer gets beaten so badly by virtual FAU that maybe they should reconsider the whole operation.
[2014 Stetson] 0
[2014 Georgia Tech] 45
(SIM) Like Mercer, Stetson reinstated football after a long absence in 2013. And facing Georgia Tech in year 2 goes about as well for Stetson as facing FAU went for Mercer in year 1.
[2010 Florida] 34
[2010 Georgia] 31
The 2010 Gators were a disappointment, entering the season ranked #4 and finishing 8-5, unranked. But they did get some satisfaction from snapping a 3-game losing streak by intercepting Aaron Murray 3 times for a rivalry win.
[2000 Florida State] 52
[2000 Florida A&M] 3
(SIM) Despite this game being virtually contested during heady times for the Rattlers, they were still no match for the Seminoles.
[2016 Central Florida] 31
[2016 South Florida] 48
The Bulls were unstoppable running the ball, with the duo of Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers each running for 150+ yards and 2 TDs to beat their rivals.
[2015 Georgia State] 35
[2015 Bethune-Cookman] 14
(SIM) One of the 21st century’s youngest football programs advances with a 3-score win over both Bethune and Cookman.
[2007 Jacksonville] 0
[2007 Miami] 38
(SIM) The Jacksonville Dolphins actually dropped football following the 2019 season, and the lack of competitive teams this century make that seem like a reasonable decision. Insert a Miami Dolphins joke here.
*Second Round results*
[2015 Georgia Southern] 20
[2015 Florida Atlantic] 17
(SIM) To the surprise of probably nobody, Georgia Southern in the last year of the Willie Fritz era proves to be too much for Florida Atlantic in the middle of the Charlie Partridge era.
[2001 Georgia Tech] 22
[2001 Florida] 42
(SIM) To the surprise of probably nobody, Florida in the last year of the Steve Spurrier era proves to be too much for Georgia Tech in the final year of the George O’Leary era.
[2009 Florida State] 7
[2009 South Florida] 17
To the surprise of many, the Bulls storm into Tallahassee, force 4 turnovers, keep Christian Ponder in check, and pull out the win behind the one-man offense of B.J. Daniels.
[2012 Georgia State] 3
[2012 Miami] 59
(SIM) Even one of the middlingest of Al Golden’s series of middling Miami teams has no problem with a Georgia State program in just its third year of existence.
[2013 Georgia Southern] 26
[2013 Florida] 20
You probably don’t need me to tell you what happened in this one. The slumping Gators thought they finally had an opponent they could handle in then-still-FCS Georgia Southern, but the option-happy Eagles ran for 429 yards as a team, and won without completing a forward pass.
[2010 South Florida] 23
[2010 Miami] 20
Incredibly, the luck of the random-year-selector shines on the Bulls once again, first getting them past UCF in essentially a coin flip (USF leads the series 6-5), then past Florida State (on their only win in 4 tries), and now past Miami (on their only win in 6 tries). Bobby Eveld comes off the bench to play QB for USF after B.J. Daniels struggles early, and ends up running in the game-tying TD in the 4th quarter. Demetris Murray’s second rushing TD of the game gives the Bulls the win in overtime. Randy Shannon is fired hours later.
[2008 Georgia Southern] 38
[2008 South Florida] 45
(SIM) This one should’ve been a cakewalk, as Massey had USF favored by 28 points, and the real 2008 Bulls were an FBS bowl team, while 2008 Georgia Southern was a 6-5 FCS team, but nonetheless the Eagles made this a one-score game. For the Bulls, their magical run continues to our Championship bracket as winners of the Florida-Georgia region.
We'll be back on Monday with the Cajun region.