UCF athletic director Danny White is unhappy again with the College Football Playoff.
- UCF athletic director Danny White blasted the College Football Playoff for excluding the 12-0 UCF Knights
- UCF is on a nation-long 25-game win streak after defeating Memphis for the AAC Championship
- Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma will compete in the College Football Playoff
A year ago, he spearheaded UCF’s “national title” push after the Knights finished an unbeaten season and were left out of the four-team playoff.
It’s deja vu all over again for White and the Knights.
Despite a 12-0 record and a 56-41 win over Memphis in Saturday’s American Athletic Conference title game, UCF was on the outside looking in as Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma advanced to the playoff.
White tweeted that the CFP is “not a playoff. It’s an invitational.”
The Knights will play the LSU Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.
Faced with a tricky choice, the College Football Playoff selection committee fell back on some simple criteria: One loss is better than two. Winning a conference championship is better than not. Go with the team that didn’t get blown out.
Oklahoma is in the playoff, moving into the fourth and final spot Sunday after avenging its only loss by winning the Big 12 championship against Texas.
The Sooners (12-1) will face No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29 in a matchup of Heisman Trophy front-runner quarterbacks — Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and the Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa. No. 2 Clemson (13-0) plays No. 3 Notre Dame (12-0) in the Cotton Bowl on the same day.
The winners meet in the championship game on Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, California. The rest of the New Year’s Six bowl pairings were to be announced later Sunday.
Georgia (11-2) dropped a spot to fifth and Ohio State (12-1) remained sixth in the selection committee’s final top 25 released Sunday. The Bulldogs lost a dramatic Southeastern Conference championship game to Alabama on Saturday while the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship against Northwestern.
“In the end one-loss conference champion with their only loss being on a neutral field to a ranked team, which they avenged in their conference championship,” selection committee chairman Rob Mullens said on ESPN. “Every combination was vetted, looking at their full body of work, their resumes side-by-side. In the end, what we decided was amongst the group of three, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, the committee voted that no one was unequivocally better than the other so then we leaned on the protocol. So we went with the one-loss conference champion.”
Selection committee protocol states conference championships work as a virtual tiebreaker when teams are close.
The Sooners beat Texas for the Big 12 title on Saturday, paying back a three-point loss in October in the Red River Rivalry.
Oklahoma is making its third appearance in the five-year-old playoff. Alabama has played in them all. Clemson is making its fourth straight appearance. Notre Dame is in the playoff for the first time, making it 10 teams in five seasons to participate in the playoff. Unbeaten UCF, eighth in the CFP rankings coming into Sunday, was nowhere to be found in the committee’s playoff discussion. The Knights will take their 25-game winning streak to a marquee bowl game, probably the Fiesta Bowl.
The debate leading up to championship Saturday was whether Oklahoma or Ohio State might take the fourth spot if Alabama beat Georgia.
The wild card was Georgia beating the mighty Tide, which could have meant two SEC teams for the second straight season. Instead, the Bulldogs lost but played well enough to allow coach Kirby Smart to make that case that Georgia should remain in the top four. Smart told reporters after the SEC title game to ask Alabama coach Nick Saban which f the teams he would like to avoid in the playoff? Saban, of course, endorsed his former defensive coordinator and conference-mate.
The committee didn’t buy it and stayed with one consistent data point throughout the five years of playoff selections: No team with more than one loss has ever made the playoff. Of the 20 teams that have been selected, only two have not won a conference title.
Notre Dame’s inclusion means for the second straight season two of the Power Five conferences were left out — and for the second straight season it was the Big Ten and Pac-12. Ohio State was the first team out last season and again appears to have gotten squeezed because of a lopsided loss to an unranked team. The Buckeyes were blown out by Purdue in October, similar to the way they lost at Iowa in 2017.
The Pac-12 was never really in the discussion, with its champion Washington finishing 10-3.
Georgia had both two losses and a blowout loss (at LSU, by 20 in October). The Bulldogs have been rolling since and had Alabama on the ropes before the Tide erased a 14-point deficit. The Bulldogs proved they could hang against the best, but it was not enough.
Oklahoma has had defensive issues all season, but its offense has been virtually unstoppable. The committee moved past the defensive issues and went with what has worked before.