On Monday, in what would come down to a fourth-quarter nail-biter, the University of Central Florida football team finished out their undefeated 13-0 season by besting the University of Auburn with a 34-27 win in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Going into the game, No. 12 ranked UCF was widely regarded as the underdog to No. 7 Auburn. Throughout the 2017 season, UCF never received a ranking higher than the very bottom of the top 10 by the playoff committee – a group of 13 current and former coaches, athletic directors and administrators that convene weekly to rank the top teams.
“The selection committee respected UCF,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock told ESPN
. “After all, they’re the group that put the Knights in the Peach Bowl. To qualify for the playoff, teams need to play tough schedules against good teams – that is the way for all teams to stand out and be ranked high by the committee. UCF is an excellent team, but you still have to take into account who each team played and defeated during the regular season.”
He continues by saying: “The committee starts all over every year and takes a fresh approach every season. It wouldn’t be right for what’s happened in the past to affect what happens this year. The committee respected UCF. They were ranked higher than any other team from that group. UCF was unfortunate not able to play Georgia Tech [which was cancelled earlier in the season due to Hurricane Irma]. You can what-if all day, but that certainly would’ve changed UCF’s resume for sure. Every game changes every resume. That certainly wasn’t their fault. They had a great season.”
UCF head coach Scott Frost, who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Nebraska shortly after the end of the regular season, says it looked like “a conscious effort” on the selection committee’s part by not including UCF higher in the rankings.
However, the opinion of recently anointed patron saint Frost and moral victories
aside, Hancock has a point. UCF only played one ranked team all season when they beat No. 20 University of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game — and they barely beat
them at that.
Compared to the four teams that actually made the College Football Playoff – Clemson University, University of Alabama, University of Georgia and the University of Oklahoma – one win against a low-ranked team is abysmal at best, and far from the quality the national championship stage calls for.
For those still seething over the playoff rankings, though, UCF athletic director Danny White told The Dan Le Batard Show
on ESPN Radio that there will be a parade thrown in honor of UCF’s undefeated season.
UCF is also reportedly
planning on hanging a national champions banner from their stadium, even though the Knights didn't win a national championship and the actual national championship game in itself isn't set to be played until Monday, Jan. 8.