Texas A&M Football

Around CFB: Central Florida's magical season raises playoff questions

November 13, 2017
5,473

Orlando, Fla. is supposedly the place where fantasy is reality and magic occurs. Maybe – just maybe – that’s true.

Could Orlando be the place where the fantasy of an eight-team college football playoff magically comes true?

Orlando is home to Disney World, the NBA’s Magic and, of course, the undefeated Central Florida Golden Knights. And if the Knights remain undefeated, expect more calls for an expanded College Football Playoff field.

Central Florida is 9-0 and leading the East Division of the American Athletic Conference standings. They’re already alongside Alabama, Miami and Wisconsin as one of the four remaining unbeaten FBS teams.

And like those teams, they don’t necessarily feel good about some of their wins. Indeed, coach Scott Frost, who is perhaps the hottest young coaching prospect in the country, admitted the Knights didn’t play well in last week’s 49-24 victory over Connecticut.

“It’s … an interesting feeling when you come off and not everybody’s elated because they know we didn’t play quite our best as a football team,” Frost said to the Orlando Sentinel after the game. “It’s awesome when you can get a win when you don’t quite play your best, but I think our guys understand we’re gonna have to be at our best in the upcoming weeks.”

The Knights still face Temple (5-5), rival South Florida (8-1) and then perhaps the conference championship game presumably against Memphis (8-1), which they’ve already spanked, 40-13.

The Knights still face Temple (5-5), rival South Florida (8-1) and then perhaps the conference championship game presumably against Memphis (8-1), which they’ve already spanked, 40-13. Close with three more wins and they could be the country’s only unbeaten team.

But they have no legitimate chance to get into the College Football Playoff, which is right, but wrong. Nobody believes an unbeaten UCF should be in the playoff.

The win over Memphis or perhaps a 30-18 blasting of Big Ten member Maryland are its most impressive victories.

But shouldn’t a team that goes unbeaten at least get a shot? The Knights are currently ranked 14th in the AP poll. They could very well be in the top 10 if they finish strong. Should a top-10, undefeated team automatically be dismissed? That’s a question that will have to be answered.

Interestingly, that question seemingly isn’t being asked much in Orlando yet. UCF is facing another, bigger question.

Can it somehow convince Frost to resist overtures from Nebraska and/or Florida and remain in Orlando?

UCF has just started a fundraising effort called “Rise and Conquer” to raise money for a massive facilities upgrade that it hopes will lure recruits and keep Frost.

“Everybody is doing everything they can to fast-forward this program and catapult us to what we know this place can become,” Frost said after the win over UConn.“Staying ahead of the curve on facilities certainly isn’t easy. The commitment to do that has been incredible, and I’m just thrilled with the things that are happening around here.”

Thrilled enough to stay? Some UCF supporters think so.

“Scott can do no wrong here,” said Ken Dixon, a major UCF donor. “I believe we’re going to keep him. However, when you lay out a financial package like Florida could, it’s hard to say no to financial freedom. … But give us less than five years and we’ll be able to match their offers. We’re scared … but cautiously optimistic he’ll stay.”

UCF can hope. But the fantasy of retaining Frost would seemingly require even more magic than Orlando can produce.

Mayfield has thrown for 3,559 yards and 31 touchdowns. Unless he has an unforeseen major collapse, he’ll become the third OU quarterback to win the Heisman.

Heisman leaders

Here are the weekly Heisman ratings based on how I’d vote if the ballot was due this week:

1. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma, QB: Threes were wild for Mayfield in a 38-20 win over TCU. He threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns as the Sooners improved to 9-1. Thus, they moved up to No. 3 in the AP poll. Mayfield has thrown for 3,559 yards and 31 touchdowns. Unless he has an unforeseen major collapse, he’ll become the third OU quarterback to win the Heisman.

2. Bryce Love, Stanford, RB: The nation’s most explosive running back churned out 166 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 30-22 upset of Washington. However, for the first time this season he failed to record a run of at least 50 yards. He had to settle for a 35-yard burst. Love leads the nation with 1,622 rushing yards and has scored 15 touchdowns.

3. Khalil Tate, Arizona, QB: Tate rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-28 victory over Oregon State. He’s rushed for more than 130 yards in every game since moving in as the starter six games ago. Tate has rushed for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns and has passed for another 998 yards and eight touchdowns.

4. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin, RB: The freshman rambled for 157 yards in a 38-14 win over Iowa. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards in seven games and has exceeded 200 rushing yards three times. He has rushed for 1,525 yards — the nation’s third-highest total — and 12 touchdowns.

5. Jalen Hurts, Alabama, QB: He keeps getting criticized and keeps making big plays as Alabama keeps winning. Hurts hit two big passes on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter to lift Alabama over Mississippi State, 31-24. He passed for 242 yards and rushed for 40 in that win. Overall, Hurts has passed for 1,648 yards and 11 touchdowns and has rushed for 656 yards and eight TDs.

Predicted College Football Playoff participants

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide is not unbeatable, but it is unbeaten.

2. Miami: The Hurricanes are second in the nation in turnover margin.

3. Clemson: The Tigers will have to beat Miami in the ACC championship game, but are certainly capable.

4. Oklahoma: Give the Sooners an edge over unbeaten Wisconsin because of OU’s win over Ohio State. But what if Wisconsin remains unbeaten and meets and beats the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship game?

Personally, I’m hoping unbeaten Miami goes on to win the national championship. I’m not necessarily a fan of the Hurricanes; I’d just love to see the reaction from Georgia fans.

Week Eleven notes

• Personally, I’m hoping unbeaten Miami goes on to win the national championship. I’m not necessarily a fan of the Hurricanes; I’d just love to see the reaction from Georgia fans.

• TCU figures to get another crack at Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. The Horned Frogs are in a three-way tie for second place with Oklahoma State and West Virginia. They just need to beat Texas Tech and Baylor. The bet here is the Sooners are rooting for them. OU would rather rematch with TCU than have to face Oklahoma State again.

• Just last week there was speculation that the SEC could get two teams into the playoff. Now, it appears if any conference deserves two it would be the ACC. If Clemson beats Miami in the ACC title game, they’d likely both finish with one loss. A one-loss Miami probably deserves more consideration than a one-loss SEC team that didn’t win a championship.

• Stanford’s upset of Washington guarantees the Pac-12 champion will have two losses. Frankly, it’s not out the question the champ could have three. Stanford (7-3) would have to beat Cal (likely). Washington (8-2) would have to beat Washington State. Then, Stanford and Washington could both finish 7-2 in the North, but presumably Stanford would advance by virtue of its win over the Huskies. Stanford would then have to avenge a September loss to USC (9-2) in the conference championship game. None of those scenarios are outrageous.

• Wisconsin’s resume should get a significant boost if the Badgers defeat Michigan. The Wolverines have been largely forgotten this season, but they’re 8-2. That’s pretty impressive considering Michigan lost 11 players that were taken in the NFL draft and then lost starting quarterback Wilton Speight to injury four games into the season. The Wolverines have a chance to post 10 victories. Now, that’s a rebuilding year. You don’t have to like coach Jim Harbaugh, but he’s unquestionably among the top five coaches in college football.

Discussion from...

Around CFB: Central Florida's magical season raises playoff questions

david1968
How long do you want to ignore this user?
P
Quote, "Just last week there was speculation that the SEC could get two teams into the playoff. Now, it appears if any conference deserves two it would be the ACC. If Clemson beats Miami in the ACC title game, they'd likely both finish with one loss. A one-loss Miami probably deserves more consideration than a one-loss SEC team that didn't win a championship."

Here is one observer predicting that there will be so many twists and turns left in the season, that this latest speculation will be obsolete in one week, if not two. This season is more proof that the only Playoff Poll that matters is the last one.
biobioprof
How long do you want to ignore this user?
L
Quote:

Personally, I'm hoping unbeaten Miami goes on to win the national championship. I'm not necessarily a fan of the Hurricanes; I'd just love to see the reaction from Georgia fans.
Side benefit: t-sips reaction to a Manny Diaz Defense winning it all.
Page 1 of 1
 
×
Verify your student status
See Membership Benefits >