The UCF Knights have won 24 consecutive games dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season. A season in which they convincingly beat the team (Auburn), who convincingly beat the eventually College Football Playoff National Champions, Alabama, and the runner-up Georgia.
The self-proclaimed defending National Champions are once again undefeated and on the verge of winning another American Athletic Conference Championship and earning an invite to a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Still, they’re being ignored and on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoffs sitting at number 8, with two one-loss teams (Oklahoma & Ohio State) ahead of them and one two-loss team (Michigan) that was destroyed last time they took the field.
Barring a series of apocalyptic upsets in the conference championship games, they’ll be left out for the second straight season. Knight fans are left wondering what else they have to do to get the respect of the college football world and get an invite to the party. Here’s what they need to do.
1. Schedule home and homes series with middle of the pack teams from the Power 5 Conferences.
If the Knights could beat Kentucky or Vanderbilt from the SEC, Minnesota or Purdue from the B1G, Wake Forest or Pitt from the ACC, or Kansas or Iowa State from the Big 12, then the committee will have a common opponent to fairly judge UCF’s resume side by side against a one-loss Georgia, Oklahoma or Ohio State for an example.
While I don’t subscribe to transitive property in sports–I.E. UCF beats Purdue by 14 and Purdue beat Ohio State by 29, so that means UCF could beat the Buckeyes–but it would be a feather in the Knight’s cap to say “hey, we dominated one of their conference opponents who they lost to. That should prove we’re a more deserving team because we were better against them than they were.” We know the College Football Committee takes results against common opponents into account. They’ve said as much themselves.
In their defense, the Knights have had Georgia Tech (2017) and North Carolina (2018) on their schedules and those games had to be cancelled due to Hurricanes. If they would have played and won those games, I’m sure they would’ve had their ticket punched to the CFP already.
2. The entire American Athletic Conference needs to be more vocal in making a case for the Knights.
Michael L. Aresco is the commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, and he should bang the drum every chance he gets about how good this team is, but he shouldn’t be alone, each Athletic Director and Head Coach of each team the Knights beat should tout how good UCF is. It behooves them to. From a respect standpoint and financially. The payout for each conference in the CFP was $6 million in 2017-18, win or lose.
While it’s the Knights that keep getting overlooked right now, it’s also the entire conference that’s being disrespected. One day it could be Cincinnati, Houston or Memphis in UCF’s shoes. They certainly would hope they’d get a realistic shot at the CFP if they were undefeated. So they need to not wait until it’s them and speak up now before it gets to that point. An undefeated team in the Power 5 would NEVER be ignored. Hell, Notre Dame is a lock to get into the playoff with no conference title. Just past reputation.
Do I think the Knights can go undefeated if they played in the SEC, B1G, ACC, Big 12 or Pac-12? No!
Do I think UCF can beat Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma or Ohio State on any given Saturday with a month to prepare? Yes, it’s very likely. And they should get the chance.
If anything, last bowl seasons win over Auburn proved they can compete with the best and pull the upset. That’s what sports is about, it’s the ultimate meritocracy. Let the players on the field decide. Not the stuffy corporate suits that worry about television rating and ticket sales. I hope UCF gets a shot real soon. Just not over my Buckeyes. Lol.