Tag Archives: College Football Playoff

What Else Does UCF Football Have to do?

The UCF Knights, 2017 self-proclaimed National Champions want to prove you wrong. Courtesy: @UCF_Football

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.

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UCF Football was Failed By Many, Including their Own Conference 

UCF’s 2017 National Championship ring. Photo Credit: Twitter.com/@UCF_Football

 
The UCF Knights hosted their first spring under new head coach Josh Heupel. A few minutes before the game, the team showed highlights from the 2017 season on the jumbotron at Spectrum Stadium in east Orlando. They also hung a banner celebrating their 13-0 undefeated season. The players and coaches also received gaudy, diamond covered championship rings to not only commemorate the perfect season, but American Athletic Conference title, Peach Bowl Championship and self proclaimed National title.
While Knights’ fans and alums love it. The pettiness of the Knight’s athletic department is rubbing people outside of central Florida the wrong way. 

The Knight’s argument is that they beat the Auburn Tigers, the only team to beat the College Football Playoff National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Maybe they could have gotten away with claiming the Championship in the 1990’s when two different team’s finished number one in the Associated Press poll and Coaches polls following the bowl season. Just go look up the 1997 season that ended with the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines claiming the national crown. That season is what eventually led to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). However, the College Football Playoff is the new system in place to decide who is the number one team in the land, and UCF wasn’t invited.

I agree UCF was screwed out of a shot to play for the title and prove how good they were on the field. The finger should be solely pointed at the thirteen people on the College football playoff committee for them not getting that chance. They are the ones who are supposed to know the game of football, watch all of the games throughout the season and judge what teams are playing the best, and deserving of one of those coveted final four spots. 

Former UCF Head Coach, now at Nebraska, said during the 2017 season he wouldn’t campaign for a high ranking in the weekly College Football Playoff rankings because he wanted to focus on each game in front of the Knights. He was right, and it wouldn’t have looked good for Knight’s Athletic Director Danny White to beat the school’s chest either.

But the finger should be pointed at the head coaches of the thirteen teams the Knights defeated, as well as the Athletic Directors at the schools of the American Athletic Conference and Michael Aresco, the Commissioner of the AAC. 

Each Tuesday night the CFP committee disrespected the Knights in those rankings, the aforementioned people should have been pounding the table about how good UCF really is, and why the committee should have shown coach Frost and his team more respect. It would’ve been in their benefit to stomp for UCF, because of the money the conference would’ve received with a Knight’s CFP invitation. But also, the legitimacy it would have brought to the entire conference out of the obscurity of being a mid-major or “Group of Five.” Even though those schools lost to UCF in 2017, it would have been a victory for the AAC.

2017 should be a lesson for future seasons when a mid-major program has a run like the Knights to give them a realistic shot they earned on the field at a National title. But, this also may be a call to action on the need to expand the playoffs to six games­­, which many are in favor of. Five slots for the Power Five conferences (ACC, B1G, PAC-12, SEC, BIG 12) and one at-large spot for a team from a “Group of Five” like UCF. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with this, and the committee would still get the weekly controversy over the selections they obviously want. Most importantly, you wouldn’t have the embarrassment of leaving out the only undefeated team in the sport and them crowning themselves as champions. 

Photo Credit: Twitter.com/@UCF_Football

  

Photo Credit: Twitter.com/@UCF_Football

 

Has Buckeye Nation Lost Perspective?

Buckeye Football is fine. Photo Credit: Nike.com

 When the Iowa Hawkeyes drubbed the Buckeyes 55-24, pretty much ending their College Football Playoff hopes, many Ohio State fans threw in their collective towels and called the 2017 season a loss season. But, if the Buckeyes win out, they’ll be B1G Champions for only the second time in Urban Meyer’s tenure. A conference title will land them in either the Fiesta or Orange Bowl. There’s still the very small possibility of a College Football Playoffs birth if chaos occurs. So there is a LOT left to play for.
However, this defeated mindset leaves me ashamed to be an Ohio State fan sometimes. This fan base needs some perspective and I’m here to offer it to you.

As a 37-year old who was born after the Woody Hayes era unceremoniously ended, I missed the golden age he led in Columbus that propelled the Buckeyes to national prominence with 5 National Championships, 13 Big Ten titles and 16 wins over “That Team Up North” in 28 seasons.

My father raised by me on Buckeye football. I listened to him tell stories about the greatness of this program before my birth, yet as I watched as a youngster teams lead by Earle Bruce, I didn’t see it. There were no national titles, but he did win 4 Big Ten titles, 5 bowl games and was 5-4 against the Wolverines. Coach Bruce only had one top 5 finishes (1979) and had eight consecutive seasons of 3 or more losses. This program was no longer on the level of the Notre Dame’s, Nebraska’s, Oklahoma’s, Miami’s and Penn State (pre-B1G affiliation) who dominated NCAA football during that period.

Then there was the Cooper era, the period that hurts and haunts me still. Only 2 wins and a tie in 13 tries against TTUN. 7 bowl losses. 3 Big Ten Titles and No National Championships despite reaching the top 10 in Associated Press Poll 7 times and starting the season in the Top 10 four times.

It wasn’t until I was a 22-year old senior at The Ohio State University that I saw my favorite team play for a national title and win it, led by Jim Tressel, Craig Krenzel and super freshman Maurice Clarett. 22 years it took for me to experience my team win it all. Compare that to a current 22-year old Ohio State fan that has seen the Buckeyes win 2 National titles (2002, 2014), play for another 3, 9 outright/shared B1G titles and 15 wins in “The Game”, which include a current 5-game win streak. I’ll gladly trade my first 22 years of Buckeye football fandom for that of a current 22-year old.

 

These last 15 years especially have spoiled Buckeye Nation and distorted our perspective of how hard it is to truly be great in college football.

The schools that dominated the college football landscape of my youth (Notre Dame, Nebraska, Miami, Georgia, Michigan) and even the turn of this century (Miami again, Texas, USC, Florida and Florida State) have all gone through multiple losing seasons, coaching changes and program derailing scandals. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes have been at the top or in the thick of the Championship race. And when there has been a down season, scandal or coaching change (2011), the Scarlet and Gray quickly bounced back (2012; 12-0).

In the last 25 years or so, we’ve never had to hear the phrase “The Buckeyes are back!” like the Miami Hurricanes are hearing this week ahead of their matchup with the Fighting Irish.

So as you watch this 2017 version fight for a B1G Championship in clearly the most challenging Power 5 conference this season, remember the main goals are still obtainable. But more importantly, there are a lot of fans bases that would love to have our “problems.”