20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 20: Best Programs To Not Make The College Football Playoff

20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 20: Best Programs To Not Make The College Football Playoff

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20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 20: Best Programs To Not Make The College Football Playoff


5. The Group of Five superstars

This is why the College Football Playoff has to expand.

No, it’s not fair for a team to play a relatively light schedule compared to the Power Five powerhouses and get into the CFP, but it’s also not fair for a team with an FCS designation to win and win and win and win without having a realistic chance of getting into the fun.

What would it take for a Group of Five program – teams from the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt – to finally get into the top four?

It would 1) have to go unbeaten with 2) at least two strong wins over brand-name Power Five programs and 3) the rest of the college football world would have to implode.

These Group of Five programs have been terrific over the last six seasons.

Cincinnati (46 wins) – Luke Fickell has cranked things up with 22 wins in the last two seasons, but he had to build the program back up.

Arkansas State (47 wins) – Slow and steady is good for being consistently interesting, but it doesn’t do anything for the CFP race. ASU hasn’t won more than nine games in the CFP era.

Ohio (47 wins) – Speaking of decent consistency, Frank Solich has created a very good thing in Athens, but getting past the nine-win mark has been tough.

Houston (49 wins) – There’s a reason why so many people think this going be the program that could get it done – Tom Herman almost pulled it off in 2015 with his 13-1 team. It’s been a rough run lately, though, with Dana Holgorsen going 4-8 last season.

Navy (50 wins) – The job that Ken Niumatalolo has done continues to be underappreciated. With two 11-win seasons and 50 wins over the last six seasons, he has created something special.

UCF (50 wins) – Remember, UCF went 0-12 in 2015. It wasn’t as close to getting into the CFP in 2017 and 2018 as some wanted to believe, but it built up the street cred to at least have a case to make going forward.

Marshall (51 wins) – 23 of those wins came in 2014 and 2015, with a 13-1 run in ’14 the big run. However, MU didn’t beat anyone worthy of being in the CFP race.

Toledo (52 wins) – The program has been disappointing over the last two seasons – winning 13 games – but it’s been enough of a MAC powerhouse to amass a great victory total over the last six seasons.

San Diego State (56 wins) – Rocky Long was incredible for the Aztecs. The formula worked four double-digit win campaigns in the CFP era with two Mountain West titles, but the program was never close to the playoff.

Memphis (57 wins) – It hasn’t received the national love that UCF has enjoyed, but it’s been better overall in the CFP era, making the first appearance in the New Year’s Six last season.

Appalachian State (61 wins) – The move up to the FCS has worked out just fine. ASU made the jump the same season the CFP kicked off, and it’s second among all the Group of Five programs in wins over that time. Had ASU beaten Georgia Southern last year and gone 13-0 before the bowl, with wins over North Carolina and South Carolina, it would’ve at least gone to the Cotton Bowl, and it would’ve made a little noise in the playoff chase.

But the program of all Group of Five programs that finally deserves a shot is …

Boise State (64 wins) – And it’s not just the last six seasons. Since 1999, Boise State has won ten games or more 17 times in the 21 years. It was sort of hosed back in the BCS era, and at some point it’s going to go unbeaten and the history and respect will be there for the College Football Playoff.

NEXT: Being very good has been fine, but …


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