Central Florida has now gone two straight years undefeated and what do they get for all of those wins? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! They will get the honor of playing a 3-loss team in LSU and that’s it. The Knights are somehow ranked eighth behind a two-loss Michigan team that just two weeks ago was blitzed 62-39 by Ohio State. Why would the people that run the College Football Playoffs want to keep UCF out? As always it is all about the money! The Power 5 schools want to keep out anybody that is not a Power 5 team because they do not want to share in the profits and that is the very simple answer to all of this.
When UCF star quarterback McKenzie Milton went down against South Florida the selection committee looked like they had a very simple explanation as to why UCF did not belong. Common sense would tell you that UCF without Milton would now just be another team. The problem with all of that is that UCF will not go away no matter what happens to them. Last year they lost multiple NFL draft picks and the Head Coach Scott Frost skipped town for his alma mater Nebraska and yet the Knights reloaded and went undefeated again.
Darriel Mack has replaced Milton and the Knights are still unbeaten. Mack in the conference championship game threw for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also added on 4 rushing touchdowns. Let’s face it, the Knights are a team that just refuses to go away, and they should be rewarded for their persistence. Wait! Don’t forget the ground game. The Knights have a stud running back in Greg McCrae who rushed for over 200 yards in the conference championship game.
The NCAA Tournament did not become the spectacle it has become until they started expanding the tournament in the 1970s, and it is not a coincidence that teams like George Mason, Butler etc. have been a major contributing factor to the success of the tournament. The NCAA Football Playoffs are only including the haves, while relegating the have-nots to small bowls in front of small crowds.
Sure ESPN and ABC paid lip service to the Knights when they gave them a prime-time game against the University of Cincinnati, who was ranked in the top 25 at the time, but the overriding feeling I got from the program was that this game was given to the Knights to appease them more than showcase them. The announcers tried to act like UCF were playoff contenders but we all know that with just four teams that could qualify there was no way the Knights or any other non-Power 5 team was going to make it into the playoffs.
An expansion is a must in College Football, but this year I don’t think that UCF would have made it in with eight teams and let me explain why. An expansion to eight would have lead to all Power 5 conferences getting an automatic bid. The automatic conference champions would be Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Washington, plus Notre Dame. Then Georgia goes in and that would leave one spot open. The rankings the committee had Michigan ranked ahead of UCF. In this scenario UCF could have still been left out.
Unfortunately, this is something we don’t know and something we NEVER will know because in the end, crowning a champion is not the real goal of the College Football Playoffs. The real goal is for the Power 5 conferences to make as much money as they possibly can. I will not claim that UCF could beat any of these teams, but I will say this: they have earned the opportunity to have that chance and you should get what you earn. But then again, if that was true maybe the NCAA would compensate the players who make them rich.
What’s most important here is that we know the Power 5 conferences are not looking to do the right thing and that’s a shame for all involved, especially the UCF Knights.
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