UCF Further Demonstrates Issues with Playoff Format
The Central Florida Knights bested the Auburn Tigers 34-27 on the first day of 2018. The Knights are happy to get as far away as possible from 2015. That season, they finished 0-12. Enter Head Coach Scott Frost. His exciting offense turned them into the best mid-major team in the nation. 2017 was much kinder to the Knights, as they earned a 13-0 record.
They also earned a ranking of... #12?
Most fan bases would be thrilled with an undefeated season and a bowl victory over an SEC opponent just two seasons after finishing winless. But for Frost, his players, and the UCF faithful, there is plenty to be upset about.
Teams ranked ahead of UCF include:
#11 Washington (10-2, lost to Arizona State)
#10 Miami (10-2, lost to Pittsburgh)
#7 Auburn (10-3)
Somehow, a three loss Auburn team was a heavy favorite over UCF, owners of the second best offense in the nation. The number one offense? Oklahoma, a playoff team. UCF stifled the SEC offensive player of the year Kerryon Johnson, holding him to 71 yards on 22 carries. It was quite obvious that UCF could hang with the big boys.
UCF has named themselves the National Champions, and they should. Auburn beat both of the teams in the National Championship game. UCF beat Auburn (and everyone else they played, for that matter.) UCF shouldn't have to claim a National Championship because the committee should have given them the chance to win it themselves.
College Football fans everywhere welcomed the idea of the Playoff being introduced as the postseason alternative to the Bowl Championship Seriec (BCS.) The BCS was based off of committee voting, much like the College Football Playoff (CFP.) They sent two teams to the BCS National Championship, but their selections weren't always fan favorites. Fans were tired of seeing undefeated teams like the 2006 Boise State Broncos or the 2004 and 2008 Utah Utes or the 2010 TCU Horned Frogs miss their chance to play for a National Title. Oops. Guess they still have some kinks to work out.
How do we fix this conundrum? Adding two more teams to the mix has done nothing for the opportunism of the postseason. In my opinion, the best way to make everyone happy is to keep growing.
The College Football Playoff should feature the top eight teams in the Nation. To account for the extra game of the playoffs, the season would be shortened one game. It's a shame that fans would be deprived of watching mid-season powerhouse clashes like Alabama vs. Mercer or Clemson vs. the Citadel, but I think College Football would manage.
Even if the Playoff was formatted in this fashion this year, UCF still would have missed the playoff by four spots. As a solution to this, I recommend that committee members focus on the television instead of penning love letters to the SEC. Had they watched UCF's match-up with RANKED Memphis or RANKED USF, perhaps they would have noticed their powerful offense, which was second in the nation in scoring. Or, maybe not. Georgia was good this year, so the committee members drew a few extra hearts on their card.
While change is likely far from happening, it will be teams like UCF that lead the argument to let the little guys play. March Madness will also be a leading argument, as the little guy regularly beats the big guy at least once a year and drives viewership through the ceiling, but I digress.
Congratulations to the Knights of Central Florida, the National Champions!