Let's cut to the chase quickly. UCF (University of Central Florida for casual college football fans) deserves serious consideration for a seat at the dinner table, which is set every year for the invitees to the College Football Playoff semifinals.
This, of course, is predicated on the Knights continuing their (nation's longest) winning streak (17) through the end of the American Athletic Conference championship game. That would extend UCF's winning streak to 25 games.
I've been on the UCF bandwagon for more than 25 years (Google it up if you don't believe me), dating back to the days when I was covering college football for the Boston Globe.
One of my backers in that crusade was former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, who had started a football branch of the Big East and was looking for ways to make his league thrive in football the way it had in basketball. It never did, but that's a rant for another time.
""I started talking about expansion with both UCF and South Florida,'' said Tranghese on Monday. "I just thought it was a good way for us to develop a presence in Florida (the Big East had one anchor in Miami). They (the Big East presidents) said we only should take one. But we wound up not taking either of them.'' [membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The Big East eventually self imploded from a basketball-football school battle. The football league, which morphed into the AAC five years ago, never took UCF.
But the AAC is now part of a second tier "Group of 5" leagues--Conference USA, Mountain West, Mid-American Conference, Sun Belt Conference. The highest rated school from one of those leagues receives one bid to a New Year's Six Bowl game.
Central Florida is today's Group of 5 super star.
The Knights who started the season ranked No 21 in the Associated Press poll and have steadily climbed, but they are still out of the Top 10, trailing teams such as Auburn, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
After watching a month of games, I maintain, UCF can play with any of those teams--and indeed has a win over Auburn on its recent resume.
The Knights, of course, can not afford to lose a game. And the last two games on their schedule, versus unbeaten Cincinnati and a road game at South Florida, should prove challenging. They can not stumble in the conference championship game.
But if they are still unbeaten on Dec. 1 (championship week), the CFB playoff selection committee should give UCF serious consideration for a Final Four bid.
I understand that if the contending teams are an unbeaten SEC team, an unbeaten Clemson in the ACC, an unbeaten Big Ten team and an unbeaten Notre Dame, they will be locked out. A once beaten Big Ten runner up or SEC runner up could also block their way.
But after that, UCF has earned a right for consideration for bids to the Orange or Cotton Bowls (the semifinals this season).
Politically correct Insanity continues
The University of Massachusetts lost another football game on Saturday night, dropping a 58-42 decision at Ohio U. No big news there. The Minutemen (2-4) have been struggling ever since they returned to the FBS ranks six years ago.
But in the post game press conference after the loss, UMass coach Mark Whipple vented his frustration at what he felt was a bad call by an official. 'We closed to within 16 and they rape us,'' uttered Whipple.
Adding to the combustion, was that the first female official in MAC history was working the game.
I have known Mark Whipple for more than 20 years. He his one of the best guys in the business. He is a quote machine, on and off the record.
He said a stupid thing. He knew it.
In a different era, what Whipple would have said (and did say privately), "I made a mistake. It was a dumb thing to say. I should have known better. I apologize.''
Instead, what we got was this:
. ""I am deeply sorry for the word I used to describe a play in the game. It is unacceptable to make use of the word rape in the way I did,'' said Whipple in a statement after it was announced that he would be suspended for a week without pay and miss UMass's game next week at South Florida. ""And I am very sorry for doing so.''
Give me a break.
That's fake news, like hearing something a prisoner of war in a North Korean prison camp would read out loud.
A simple,"I'm sorry I F....up," should have been enough.
At one time, it was.
But not now. We live in a world where some people are going for the kill shot with every misstep.
UMass football, now competing as an independent, is on life support. There is a faction at UMass that wants to get rid of football. Now there is blood in the water and you can count on the chatter in Amherst to grow into an anti-football roar.
UMass officials had to follow politically correct protocol.
And the insanity continues.[/membership]