Every year we go through this same debate…does a mid-major team deserve to be in the playoffs. With UCF defeating Auburn last year, this debate was intensified. With UCF facing off against LSU in another New Year’s Six Game this year, we can expect this discussion to become even more intense over the next month. Here’s my issue with this argument…Auburn last year and LSU this year were not and are not playoffs teams either.
My second argument is that UCF can go toe to toe with fellow AAC members like Memphis and Tulsa, but would finish in the bottom half of a Power Five Conference. Jan. 1 bowl games should not be confused with playoff games. I’m a firm believer that a college football team will play up to their competition and that in bowl games, the teams with the most to gain, play the hardest.
For evidence of this fact we should remember the 2013 Sugar Bowl game when Alabama laid an egg against OU. Alabama had just been beaten by Auburn and in doing so lost out on a playoff berth. The Crimson Tide barely showed up for the game while OU who had grown tired of SEC smack talk was on a mission from God.
This same thing happened in last year’s Sugar Bowl and will likely occur in this year’s Fiesta Bowl. In both cases, UCF will be the beneficiary. After a 29-0 smack down last month to Alabama that ended their playoffs hopes, LSU has not been the same. UCF on the other hand will come into the game totally focused and on a mission to represent the little guys.
This time of the year, all we have left are bowl games, but we have to be realistic about their importance to players and teams. These games basically exist for fan and donor enjoyment. For the most part players could care less except in the case of a mid-major team like UCF.
Now for my guilt ridden admission; I will be rooting for LSU against UCF. While I hate LSU as much as the next guy, I have really grown tired of hearing about the UCF winning streak. Give me a break…these guys won twelve straight this year to add to their 25 game win streak by playing a mid-major schedule. If you want to run with the big dogs get off the porch. That’s right schedule Power Five Conference teams.
In the end, the real issue here is about the credibility of winning streaks. OU has winning streaks of 47, 31, and 28 games, all of which span more wins that the current UCF streak of 25. I take these OU win streaks personally and don’t want some Johnny come lately to threaten any of them.
Enough already about the UCF win streak…