Tuck’s Top 25 College Football Poll Week 15
Is this the beginning of something great for the UCF Knights? UCF is BCS-bound after winning the AAC outright with a perfect 8-0 record. This will go down as the greatest season in school history I believe no matter what happens in the Fiesta Bowl against Baylor.
This is the final year it will be an automatic bid, but that will not stop the Knights from continuing to be the team everyone in the country keeps an eye on.
Beginning next year we are all aware the BCS goes away and we get a 4-team playoff. UCF, and everyone else has a chance at it, but playing in a non-automatic qualifying league it would be a long-shot. That dream may have to be put on hold for a few years. But for next year, the Knights won’t have to be the best in America, they just have to be the best of their conference.
You see, the American and the Mountain West are clearly the most competitive of the non-power conferences. The winners of those leagues will have an inside track every year to play in a BIG bowl game. The MAC, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt will also have their say. Reality is that UCF simply will need to win the AAC to be in the conversation. There is no reason right now to believe they won’t be favored to control the conference moving forward.
If UCF can make winning the conference an annual event for a couple more years, at that point if you feel like the program can compete for a playoff spot, that is when you upgrade the out-of-conference schedule. You’d need to play 3, if not 4, power programs. Next year’s schedule is a perfect example honestly. At Mizzou, Penn State (in Ireland), BYU, and FIU. You have to follow the model Boise State and TCU laid out. You have to keep scoring big wins like that to earn people’s respect. The Knights will also need at least a couple schools in the AAC to improve to a level recognized success to help out the perception of the conference.
Playing a major bowl game every year actually could be easy, relatively speaking. Win your conference, going no worse than 10-2. Playing for a title would mean a perfect season, and a few impressive wins. Little room for error. Face facts, if we had a 4-team playoff at least one of a 1-loss Big XII champ, a 1-loss Big Ten champ, a 2-loss Pac-12 champ, and other 1-loss and 2-loss teams would miss out. UCF has to earn the nations respect over a handful of years, much like Boise State, TCU, and Utah did, and be undefeated to enter that conversation.
The exciting news for UCF football is that this shouldn’t be viewed as the peak of the mountain. This should be looked at finally reaching the mountain and beginning the climb. You are on the big stage UCF. Now how long will you stay there?
UNBEATEN COUNT: 1. Florida State. Remember when everyone was freaked because we had 8 perfect teams in November?
WINLESS COUNT: 2. Miami (OH) and Georgia State.
1. FSU (13-0)
2. Auburn (12-1)
3. Alabama (11-1)
4. Stanford (11-2)
5. Baylor (11-1)
6. Michigan State (12-1)
7. Missouri (11-2)
8. Ohio State (12-1)
9. Oregon (10-2)
10. South Carolina (10-2)
11. Arizona State (10-3)
12. LSU (9-3)
13. UCLA (9-3)
14. Oklahoma (10-2)
15. Clemson (10-2)
16. Oklahoma State (10-2)
17. UCF (11-1)
18. Louisville (11-1)
19. Wisconsin (9-3)
20. Texas A&M (8-4)
21. Duke (10-3)
22. Washington (8-4)
23. Miami (9-3)
24. Notre Dame (8-4)
25. USC (9-4)
– My 4-team playoff would feature my top 4 teams. If you could avoid rematches by swapping 3 and 4, I would, but in this case, it would make the set-up unfair. Some years it might be easier to do, and if it’s really close, it should be done. Why Stanford? Well, other than the Tide, no team in America beat more top 30 teams. The Cardinal and Tide have each knocked off 6. The Pac-12 is the second toughest league in the country behind the SEC, and their is no close 3rd. It doesn’t excuse last second losses at Utah and USC. I take those into account. But for the same reason Alabama has an edge on Baylor and Michigan State, is the reason Stanford does as well. I value who you beat more than who you lost to.
– I will not miss the BCS. I do appreciate college football for trying though. It’s introduction was a step in the right direction. Biggest issue was not evolving from it sooner.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE
I will write later this week on who wins (duh) and who else should go to NYC (does it matter to anyone but the kids who get a free trip?).Tuck's Top 25 College Football Poll Week 15 by Mike Tuck