2. College Football Playoff Scenario: The Little Guy FINALLY Gets A Shot
Any Three Power Five champions, and one Group of Five champion
So far in the College Football Playoff, we’ve had an independent team and we’ve had two teams that didn’t win their own respective divisions, much less their conference championships.
But the College Football Playoff is 0-for-20 on getting in a Group of Five program.
In 2016, Tom Herman’s Houston program was coming off a dominant 13-1 season complete with a Peach Bowl whacking of Florida State. Into Houston came Baker Mayfield and the eventual Big 12 champion Oklahoma team, and out they went with a 33-23 loss that wasn’t even that close.
That win, combined with a 36-10 destruction of Heisman-winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville would’ve been the resumé builders – especially considering what the Sooners did the rest of the way – to make a CFP case for the Cougars if they finished unbeaten.
Of course, the three losses along the way ruined that, but big wins over big-name teams is what it will take – and what UCF has been missing in the regular season – for a Group of Five program to break the glass ceiling to get into the College Football Playoff.
This year, Dana Holgorsen’s Houston team starts the season off at Oklahoma, and later hosts Washington State in NRG Stadium. With a dynamic Cougar offense, this is a dangerous team capable of pulling off those two upsets. Beat UCF – probably twice, considering a possible matchup in the American Athletic title game – and a 13-0 Houston would have a brilliant case to get in.
The same goes for UCF. The Knights have certainly built up their foundation of wins over the last two seasons, and this year they host Stanford early on and go to Pitt. Those two games aren’t killers, but they’re restaurant quality matchups that might just be enough to make the CFP care about a 13-0 Knight team.
Boise State starts the season off against Florida State in Jacksonville and has to go to BYU in mid-October. Other than that, the schedule is a bowl full of pudding.
It’s going to take a perfect storm for this to happen – there can’t be four rock-solid Power Five champions – but the CFP is overdue to give the little guy a break.