HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - McKenzie Milton’s injury hurts the UCF Knights’ chances at going undefeated this season, but it shouldn’t hurt their chances at making the College Football Playoff.
Unfortunately, the College Football Playoff committee -- a group that has consistently overlooked the Knights despite going on the nation’s longest win streak over the past two seasons -- will make sure Milton’s absence affects their ability to play in the CFP.
Despite being one of just four undefeated teams in the country alongside No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame, UCF is currently ranked No. 8 in the country, behind the likes of a two-loss Michigan team and three teams (Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State) that have one loss.
With a win over Memphis in the ACC championship game this Saturday, UCF will go 12-0 and knock on the door of a berth to the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row.
However, a win won’t get the Knights into the CFP unless utter chaos ensues above them.
Not only does UCF need to blowout Memphis, the Knights also need the likes of Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State to each lose this weekend just to have a shot.
There might even be a chance where UCF needs all of the above to happen and a Clemson loss to Pittsburgh in the ACC title game.
The argument against UCF being in the playoff is because of their lack of strong competition, which is also an argument that doesn’t have much merit.
In the same week UCF played against No. 24 Cincinnati two weeks ago, No. 1 Alabama played against The Citadel, an FCS school. No. 3 Notre Dame received a lot of praise for defeating Pittsburgh, a formidable opponent, back in October by a score of 19-13.
UCF, on the other hand, also defeated Pittsburgh two weeks earlier 45-14 - a 31-point margin of victory.
The Knights have beaten each opponent by over double-digits this season with the exception of Memphis on the road, 31-30. However, UCF will have an opportunity to put that close win to bed this weekend against the Tigers in a must-win game.
If the College Football Playoff Committee refuses to award UCF for winning each game this season in convincing fashion, then that same committee shouldn’t reward Power 5 programs for its losses.
Michigan currently ranks No. 7 in the country, one spot ahead of UCF. A two-loss team, the Wolverines have lost to the likes of No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 6 Ohio State this season. Michigan only has two Top 25 wins this season, one of which is a victory over No. 21 Northwestern 20-17 earlier this season. Northwestern has a record of 8-4 on the season.
Michigan’s second win came in a quality victory over No. 12 Penn State 42-7 earlier this season, but the Nittany Lions have lost three games this season.
After getting blownout by the Buckeyes 62-39 last weekend, why is it that the Wolverines remain ranked ahead of UCF?
Moving onto No. 5 Oklahoma, it’s hard to argue the Sooners of being any more deserving of a CFP berth than the Knights.
While Oklahoma has an opportunity to avenge its only loss of the season to No. 14 Texas this Saturday, the fact remains that the Sooners still lost to the Longhorns this season and have been involved in three games decided by a combined nine points in their last four games with just one of those games coming against a ranked team (No. 16 West Virginia.)
For as explosive as Oklahoma’s offense is, its defense has had difficulties against essentially every offense this season, allowing at least 27 points to its opposition eight times this season, including four games surrendering at least 40 points to opposing offenses.
With a loss to No. 14 Texas this weekend, Oklahoma should be eliminated from the CFP picture. Notre Dame doesn’t have to play in a conference championship game as an Independent, so the Fighting Irish have all but secured their place in the Final Four,
No. 4 Georgia needs a win over No. 1 Alabama to secure its spot in the playoff while the Crimson Tide, as long as it’s close, could possibly lose against the Bulldogs and still make it into the College Football Playoff.
As for UCF? A convincing win over Memphis with an ACC title to got along with it and a 25-game win streak dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season will likely not be enough for the No. 4 spot in the rankings.
UCF being punished for not having Milton healthy is ludicrous, especially after the Knights continued to dominate South Florida last weekend without the former Mililani Trojan at the team’s disposal.
For the CFP committee to only now have an excuse to punish UCF in the rankings, outside of not being a Power 5 conference team, shows the hypocrisy of the selection process as a whole.