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Sonny’s Side Note: How UFC was cheated out of a playoff spot

By Sonny Mulpuri, Web Managing Editor

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There was only one undefeated college football team this season. That team was the University of Central Florida, who finished their season 13-0 after a 34-27 win over number seven ranked Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Now, in its fourth year, the College Football Playoff got to witness familiar faces compete in both the Clemson and Alabama and Georgia and Oklahoma matchups. All four of these teams are in a Power Five Conference, while teams like UCF are playing in the American Athletic Conference – a division which lacks the competitive edge this Central Florida collegiate team needs.

One would think that after an impressive 13-0 season that their success would be recognized. However, instead, UCF didn’t even crack the top 10 in the CFP Selection Committee rankings.

A team that has the ability to make a name for themselves and dominate in their current conference deserves to reap some benefit.

Everything doesn’t add up.

How can committee rankings discount the effort an unbeaten team like UCF when it comes to the season’s biggest games?

According to the Selection Committee, UCF’s perfect record was discounted because of the underwhelming schedule. When comparing UCF’s schedule to other collegiate powerhouse teams, they didn’t play a single power-five team (would’ve played Georgia Tech, but due to Hurricane Irma, it was cancelled) and only played one top-25 ranked team, which was number 20 Memphis. However, when they beat Auburn, (who beat both Alabama and Georgia) UCF proved they could play with the top teams in the nation when given the opportunity.

Yes, the opponents a team has beaten should be taken into consideration by the Selection Committee, but in UCF’s case, they should’ve at least been in the conversation to make the CFP.

The top-five teams are the ones that bring in the revenue and produce the big-time players, so it only makes sense that the selection committee would take care of those schools before helping an outsider like UCF. No doubt that the CFP process needs some revision, but what exactly would those revisions be?

One potential solution should be to better represent all conferences in college football. The selection committee is comprised of 13 members, with one athletic director from each Power Five Conference and the rest of the members being former coaches, athletic directors, and a retired reporter. With 10 conferences in Division 1 football, the representation should be more equal next season. The Conference USA and MAC are already covered for next season, so the American Athletic, Sun Belt, and Mountain West conferences should all get a representative too. This will shift the bias away from power-five teams and lead to more of a balance in rankings throughout the season.

Another answer, which I disagree with, could be to extend the CFP to six or eight teams to give teams like UCF an easier chance to get in while lessing the controversy that the selection committee would receive for leaving a team like UCF out of it. Many fans and critics believe that the only reason the Alabama made the CFP this year is due to their reputation and teams like Ohio State or Wisconsin should’ve made it instead. In extending to a six team, they would’ve made it, and the CFP would work out similar to how the National Football League has their playoff schedule. Making it an eight-team college playoff would’ve seen both Auburn and USC clinch a spot. This format would be more like how the National Basketball Association has their playoff format. None of this is necessary. I believe that keeping it a four team CFP gives teams more motivation to play harder each week and schedule tougher opponents.

UCF believes that they were robbed of a higher ranking along with consideration for a CFP playoff  spot, but if they want to make it in the future, they should take matters into their own hands and attempt to schedule tougher opponents and play more Power Five Conference teams. It’ll be interesting to see how the CFP Selection Committee handles the next UCF-like situation.

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