The Knights continue to win, making it now 17 straight victories and over 650 days undefeated. If UCF was any other “elite power five” school they would no doubt be within the top 6 in rankings. Despite the bias, Orlando’s hometown team continues to thrive and march to the beat of their own drums up the rankings and now sit at the number 12 spot in the latest AP Poll.
Should the Knights be higher in the polls? Without a doubt. A big reason the perfect storm is brewing for UCF to make the College Football Playoff is the field ahead of them.
Take a closer look at Clemson. They are 5-0 at the moment and have only shown dominance against “cupcake teams.” They needed a 94-yard game winning drive to take down 4-0 Syracuse and nearly lost to Texas A&M as well. Are these good teams? Sure they are…but are these results worthy of a number four ranking and one first place vote? Absolutely not. Whoever voted for Clemson at number one needs to be fired or have their vote stripped away.
Why am I harping on Clemson so hard? They are the perfect example of why UCF hasn’t climbed the polls as high as some think they should be. The only word to explain it is tradition. UCF’s success started so recently while Clemson has been around the top tier for a while now. But if tradition is what is deciding the CFB playoff, then why do we even have a season?
The Knights are the youngest team to win a New Year’s Six bowl, and they have won two in the last five years. That’s a pretty good tradition to build on and makes a case for UCF to continue to climb the rankings if they keep winning.
At the moment, all signs point to the recent tradition continuing in Orlando, as UCF re-opens conference play against SMU, a team that sits at 2-3 but has faced two tough opponents in TCU and Michigan. Their record may not indicate their strength, but a UCF win Saturday night could help the Knights and their strength of schedule tremendously. A win would make it 18 straight wins for UCF and would tie the Knight’s longest home winning streak at 11 games.
UCF had some issues during their first few games, but they just embarrassed Pitt, an “elite power five” program in part to the Knight’s defense, which was the biggest question of the season up until last week. Milton is performing at an amazing level, gathering over 300 yards and 6 touchdowns in each of the last two weeks.
The 2018 Knights may not be as great as the 2017 version, but they are climbing the ranks faster than last year’s team. UCF didn’t break into the top 12 in the AP poll until November 26 last season and finally made it to that same spot on January 7 in 2013, the season the Knights won the Fiesta Bowl. This is a promising indication that people, and more importantly voters, are starting to give UCF the respect they deserve this season. The great Lou Holtz even seems to be on the side of the black and gold with a few of his tweets lately.
If the Knights can pull off back to back undefeated seasons, there should be no reason for the College Football Playoff Committee to leave them out again. If there was a loss thrown in there, the Knights could be in jeopardy of losing all credibility and hope unless they get some major help. The stakes are high in the most important season of college football ever, and the Knights have the power to change the fate of the sport forever.