College Football as Futbol: Group A World Cup Results (Florida State, Clemson, USC and Kansas State)

Streeter Lecka

FSU, Clemson, USC and K-State: which two teams advance to the knockout stage?

Last week I unveiled what the 2013 college football season would look like if played out in World Cup tournament format. Let's get to it.

First, the ground rules, which will mirror the World Cup format:

Each group's four teams play against each other in the first round of the tournament, so every team is guaranteed three games. If a team wins, it gets 3 points. If a team ties, it gets 1 point. No points are awarded for a loss.

At the completion of the group stage, the top two teams in each group, by points, then move on to the round of 16. The two teams with the worst records go home. Ties in the final group standings will be broken the same way they are in the World Cup:

a) greatest number of points obtained in all group games
b) point difference in all group games (so, running up the score is encouraged)
c) greatest number of points scored in all group games

There are more tiebreakers beyond this, but let's cross that bridge if we get there.

As a reminder, results are generated with whatifsports.com's College Football SimMatchup tool using the first simulation. All games are played on a neutral field.

Group A

Florida State 48, Kansas State 27

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Florida State Seminoles 21 14 10 3 48
2013 Kansas State Wildcats 7 3 7 10 27

Florida State, one of the favorites to win it all, looked dominant in a 48-27 opening game victory over Kansas State. The Seminoles take a 35-10 lead to half and don't look back. Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston throws for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17-of-28 passing. K-State's John Hubert rushes for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns on 21 carries in a losing effort.

Clemson 33, USC 28

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Clemson Tigers 7 6 17 3 33
2013 USC Trojans 7 7 7 7 28

After falling behind 14-13 at half, Clemson scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to put away the scrappy USC Trojans. USC's Javorius Allen hit paydirt to cut the lead to just two early in the fourth quarter, but a Chandler Catanzaro field goal iced the game for Clemson with 6:07 to play. Clemson's Roderick McDowell finishes with 242 all-purpose yards (141 rushing, 101 on the ground) and a score. Senior QB Tajh Boyd throws for 332 yards and two touchdowns. Not to be outdone, USC QB Cody Kessler throws for 333 yards on 22-of-40 passing, though he throws a pair of interceptions that would prove costly.

Florida State 62, Clemson 27

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Clemson Tigers 3 3 14 7 27
2013 Florida State Seminoles 7 21 10 24 62

Florida State follows up its dominant win over K-State with an even more dominant victory over its ACC Atlantic Division rivals. The Seminoles rolled to a 28-6 halftime lead, never taking the foot off the gas after hanging 34 more points on the Tigers in the second half. Jameis Winston throws for 308 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on 17-of-31 passing. All three TD catches were snared by WR Devonta Freeman.

USC 40, Kansas State 17

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Kansas State Wildcats 3 0 7 7 17
2013 USC Trojans 3 13 17 7 40

USC connected on three first-half FG attempts to take a 16-3 lead to the locker room. In the second half, K-State drew within six on a Tramaine Thompson TD, but USC would score the next 17 points to close out the third quarter, 33-10. Cody Kessler eclipses the 250 yard mark while Tre Madden rushes for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 17 attempts.

Florida State 27, USC 20

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Florida State Seminoles 7 7 3 10 27
2013 USC Trojans 10 3 7 0 20

USC, playing for its tournament lives, gives Florida State all it can handle; even briefly going up 20-17 midway through the third quarter. But the Seminoles scored 10 unanswered in the fourth quarter to notch a come-from-behind victory over the Trojans. Cody Kessler outduels Winston after throwing for 342 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-32 passing, but it's ultimately not enough to advance USC out of the group stage. A Christian Green 4-yard pass from Winston breaks a 20-20 tie with just 4:02 left in the game to give FSU the clean sweep of Group A.

Florida State advances while USC has to scoreboard watch CU-Kansas State.

Clemson 30, Kansas State 30

Final - Group A 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
2013 Clemson Tigers 7 13 0 10 30
2013 Kansas State Wildcats 7 10 10 3 30

In the final game in Group A, we have our first tie of the tournament. And it's a well-earned tie for the Tigers, which needed the extra point to advance out of Group A (Clemson would have lost to USC on point difference). With just 34 seconds remaining, Tajh Boyd finds Adam Humphreys for a 10-yard TD pass to knot the game at 30. That's enough to get Clemson through and crush USC's hopes of advancing in the tournament. K-State is eliminated, though would have needed a monumental effort in this one to overtake USC on point differential.

Final Group Standings

Team G W T L Pts PD PF PA
Florida State Seminoles 3 3 0 0 9 63 137 74
Clemson Tigers 3 1 1 1 4 -30 90 120
USC Trojans 3 1 0 2 3 18 88 70
Kansas State Wildcats 3 0 1 2 1 -44 74 118

Group A Winner: Florida State, with 9 points and a dominant +63 point differential.

Group A Runner-Up: Clemson's comeback tie against Kansas State gives the Tigers the second advancement spot in the group. Things looked pretty bleak after getting pummeled by FSU, but Clemson finds a way to advance out of the group stage (read: did not pull a Clemson ... yet).

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