What if we had this magical College Football Playoff all along?

Sure, we're now placing the postseason in the hands of 13 individuals crafting a bracket, rather than a complex set of computerized rankings or the assortment of sportswriters voting on the best teams in the country.

Just play along. What if we could dream about the top four teams in the country, in every year since the birth of the Associated Press poll in 1936, clashing in a scrumptious playoff showdown?

With the help of Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret, and data verified by CollegePollArchive.com, we've compiled the list of how history might look under this hypothetical.

One note to know: from 1936-64, the final AP poll was released before bowl invitations, but in 1965, the Associated Press decided to wait until the end of the season. It became permanent in 1968 that the AP poll crowned its national champion following all bowl games.

Therefore, for this study, we used the final AP poll in 1936-64, plus 1966-67, to determine the hypothetical four-team playoff; in 1965, and 1968-97, we used the pre-bowl rankings. From 1998-2013, we utilized the final BCS standings.

(* - denotes actual national champion each year, crowned by AP 1936-97 and BCS 1998-2013)

Year No. 1 Seed No. 2 Seed No. 3 Seed No. 4 Seed
1936 *Minnesota (7-1) LSU (9-0-1) Pittsburgh (7-1-1) Alabama (8-0-1)
1937 *Pittsburgh (9-0-1) California (9-0-1) Fordham (7-0-1) Alabama (9-0)
1938 *TCU (10-0) Tennessee (10-0) Duke (9-0) Oklahoma (10-0)
1939 *Texas A&M (10-0) Tennessee (10-0) Southern Cal (7-0-2) Cornell (8-0)
1940 *Minnesota (8-0) Stanford (9-0) Michigan (7-1) Tennessee (10-0)
1941 *Minnesota (8-0) Duke (9-0) Notre Dame (8-0-1) Texas (7-1-1)
1942 *Ohio State (9-1) Georgia (10-1) Wisconsin (8-1-1) Tulsa (10-0)
1943 *Notre Dame (9-1) Iowa Pre-Flight (9-1) Michigan (8-1) Navy (8-1)
1944 *Army (9-0) Ohio State (9-0) Randolph Field (10-0) Navy (6-3)
1945 *Army (9-0) Alabama (9-0) Navy (7-1-1) Indiana (9-0-1)
1946 *Notre Dame (8-0-1) Army (9-0-1) Georgia (10-0) UCLA (10-0)
1947 *Notre Dame (9-0) Michigan (9-0) SMU (9-0-1) Penn State (9-0)
1948 *Michigan (9-0) Notre Dame (9-0) North Carolina (9-0-1) California (10-0)
1949 *Notre Dame (9-0) Oklahoma (10-0) California (10-0) Army (9-0)
1950 *Oklahoma (9-0) Army (8-0) Texas (8-1) Tennessee (9-1)
1951 *Tennessee (10-0) Michigan St. (9-0) Maryland (9-0) Illinois (8-0-1)
1952 *Michigan State (9-0) Georgia Tech (11-0) Notre Dame (7-2-1) Oklahoma (8-1-1)
1953 *Maryland (10-0) Notre Dame (8-0-1) Michigan St. (8-1) Oklahoma (8-1-1)
1954 *Ohio State (9-0) UCLA (9-0) Oklahoma (10-0) Notre Dame (8-1)
1955 *Oklahoma (10-0) Michigan St. (8-1) Maryland (10-0) UCLA (9-1)
1956 *Oklahoma (10-0) Tennessee (10-0) Iowa (8-1) Georgia Tech (9-1)
1957 *Auburn (10-0) Ohio State (8-1) Michigan St. (8-1) Oklahoma (9-1)
1958 *LSU (10-0) Iowa (7-1-1) Army (8-0-1) Auburn (9-0-1)
1959 *Syracuse (10-0) Mississippi (9-1) LSU (9-1) Texas (9-1)
1960 *Minnesota (8-1) Mississippi (9-0-1) Iowa (8-1) Navy (8-1)
1961 *Alabama (10-0) Ohio State (8-0-1) Texas (9-1) LSU (9-1)
1962 *Southern Cal (10-0) Wisconsin (8-1) Mississippi (9-0) Texas (9-0-1)
1963 *Texas (10-0) Navy (9-1) Illinois (7-1-1) Pittsburgh (9-1)
1964 *Alabama (10-0) Arkansas (10-0) Notre Dame (9-1) Michigan (8-1)
1965 Michigan St. (10-0) Arkansas (10-0) Nebraska (10-0) *Alabama (8-1-1)
1966 *Notre Dame (9-0-1) Michigan St. (9-0-1) Alabama (10-0) Georgia (9-1)
1967 Southern Cal (9-1) Tennessee (8-1) *Oklahoma (8-1) Indiana (9-1)
1968 *Ohio State (9-0) Southern Cal (9-0-1) Penn State (9-0) Georgia (8-0-2)
1969 *Texas (10-0) Penn State (10-0) Arkansas (9-1) Ohio State (8-1)
1970 Texas (10-0) Ohio State (9-0) *Nebraska (10-0-1) Tennessee (10-1)
1971 *Nebraska (12-0) Alabama (11-0) Oklahoma (10-1) Michigan (11-0)
1972 *Southern Cal (11-0) Oklahoma (10-1) Ohio State (9-1) Alabama (10-1)
1973 Alabama (11-0) Oklahoma (10-0-1) *Notre Dame (10-0) Ohio State (9-0-1)
1974 *Oklahoma (11-0) Alabama (11-0) Ohio State (10-1) Michigan (10-1)
1975 Ohio State (11-0) Texas A&M (10-0) *Oklahoma (10-1) Alabama (10-1)
1976 *Pittsburgh (11-0) Michigan (10-1) Southern Cal (10-1) Maryland (11-0)
1977 Texas (11-0) Oklahoma (10-1) Alabama (10-1) Michigan (10-1)
1978 Penn State (11-0) *Alabama (10-1) Southern Cal (11-1) Oklahoma (10-1)
1979 Ohio State (11-0) *Alabama (11-0) Southern Cal (10-0-1) Florida State (11-0)
1980 *Georgia (11-0) Florida State (10-1) Pittsburgh (10-1) Oklahoma (9-2)
1981 *Clemson (11-0) Georgia (9-1) Alabama (9-1-1) Nebraska (9-2)
1982 Georgia (11-0) *Penn State (10-1) Nebraska (11-1) SMU (10-0-1)
1983 Nebraska (12-0) Texas (11-0) Auburn (10-1) Illinois (10-1)
1984 *BYU (12-0) Oklahoma (9-1-1) Florida (9-1-1) Washington (10-1)
1985 Penn State (11-0) Miami (10-1) *Oklahoma (10-1) Iowa (10-1)
1986 Miami (11-0) *Penn State (11-0) Oklahoma (10-1) Michigan (10-1)
1987 Oklahoma (11-0) *Miami (11-0) Florida State (10-1) Syracuse (11-0)
1988 *Notre Dame (11-0) Miami (10-1) West Virginia (11-0) Florida State (10-1)
1989 Colorado (11-0) *Miami (10-1) Michigan (10-1) Notre Dame (11-1)
1990 *Colorado (10-1-1) Georgia Tech (10-0-1) Texas (10-1) Miami (9-2)
1991 *Miami (11-0) Washington (11-0) Florida (10-1) Michigan (10-1)
1992 Miami (11-0) *Alabama (12-0) Florida State (10-1) Texas A&M (12-0)
1993 *Florida State (11-1) Nebraska (11-0) West Virginia (11-0) Notre Dame (10-1)
1994 *Nebraska (12-0) Penn State (11-0) Miami (10-1) Colorado (10-1)
1995 *Nebraska (11-0) Florida (12-0) Northwestern (10-1) Ohio State (11-1)
1996 Florida State (11-0) Arizona State (11-0) *Florida (11-1) Ohio State (10-1)
1997 *Michigan (11-0) Nebraska (12-0) Tennessee (11-1) Florida State (10-1)
1998 *Tennessee (12-0) Florida State (11-1) Kansas State (11-1) Ohio State (10-1)
1999 *Florida State (11-0) Virginia Tech (11-0) Nebraska (11-1) Alabama (10-2)
2000 *Oklahoma (12-0) Florida State (11-1) Miami (10-1) Washington (10-1)
2001 *Miami (11-0) Nebraska (11-1) Colorado (10-2) Oregon (10-1)
2002 Miami (12-0) *Ohio State (13-0) Georgia (12-1) Southern Cal (10-2)
2003 Oklahoma (12-1) *LSU (12-1) Southern Cal (11-1) Michigan (10-2)
2004 *Southern Cal (12-0) Oklahoma (12-0) Auburn (12-0) Texas (10-1)
2005 Southern Cal (12-0) *Texas (12-0) Penn State (10-1) Ohio State (9-2)
2006 Ohio State (12-0) *Florida (12-1) Michigan (11-1) LSU (10-2)
2007 Ohio State (11-1) *LSU (11-2) Virginia Tech (11-2) Oklahoma (11-2)
2008 Oklahoma (12-1) *Florida (12-1) Texas (11-1) Alabama (12-1)
2009 *Alabama (13-0) Texas (13-0) Cincinnati (12-0) TCU (12-0)
2010 *Auburn (13-0) Oregon (12-0) TCU (12-0) Stanford (11-1)
2011 LSU (13-0) *Alabama (11-1) Oklahoma St. (11-1) Stanford (11-1)
2012 Notre Dame (12-0) *Alabama (12-1) Florida (11-1) Oregon (11-1)
2013 *Florida State (13-0) Auburn (12-1) Alabama (11-1) Michigan State (12-1)

Note: 1977 - Notre Dame won title; 1983 - Miami won title