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UCF Knights

Despite UCF’s being kept out, don’t look for College Football Playoff Expansion

Olivia Stacey



Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

UCF’s impressive 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl left the Knights claiming their own “national title” and many people questioning, where UCF stands among the nation’s top college football programs.

After all, the only team to have beaten this year’s two national title participants is Auburn—which lost to UCF.

Despite finishing the regular season 12-0, the Knights were not invited to the College Football Playoff. UCF’s undefeated record in the American Conference was not judged to be as strong as the four teams from power conferences who all made it in with one loss. However, the Knights were never ranked higher than 10th. UCF was the nation’s only unbeaten team, yet was ranked 12th in the final CFP ranking before the bowls and playoffs — behind five two-loss teams and one three-loss team.

It’s left many to wonder, is there any way for UCF or another non-Power 5 school to crack the playoffs?

There’s growing debate over a push to expand the current four-team format in the CFP. Put simply, an expansion to eight or even 16 teams would make room for more teams to have a shot at the national title — especially teams like UCF, who are in non-Power 5 conferences.

However, while UCF’s 2017 season has brought an outcry in many corners for a playoff expansion, don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

As reported by ESPN’s Heather Dinich reported Sunday, the College Football Playoff management committee, which is comprised of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, are in unanimous agreement that the CFP should not expand beyond four teams right now.

Although American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has been fully supportive of the Knights 2017 season, and very outspoken about the slighting of UCF’s season. Alas, he’s not on board for an expansion either — at least not yet.

“I am open to the notion, but I’m not campaigning for it,” Aresco told ESPN. “The last thing I want to do is give anyone the impression I’m campaigning to expand it, because I’m not. I’m happy with the four.”

The reality is, an unbeaten non-power conference team will have to have two or maybe three out of conference significant wins to make up the difference in strength schedule.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

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