SMQ: What would it take for UCF to reach the College Football Playoff?

SMQ: What would it take for UCF to reach the College Football Playoff?

UCF is the last undefeated Group of Five team this season. What would it take for the Knights to make the College Football Playoff in 2017?

In Week 9, three more undefeated teams suffered their first losses of the 2017 college football season. Ahead of the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings, it was the worst possible time to drop a game.

Among the biggest losers on Saturday was South Florida. The Bulls entered the season as the favorite to win the Group of Five berth into a New Year’s Six bowl game. Now only one mid-major team remains unbeaten heading into November.

UCF has taken charge of the Group of Five race as the clear frontrunner to land in a major bowl game. The Knights enter the final month of the regular season needing only to keep winning to land an invitation to a major postseason showdown. As long as they win the American Athletic Conference, they will land in either the Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.

It wouldn’t be the first time that UCF played in a major bowl game. Remember, they took advantage of their first season after realigning from Conference USA to the Big East to win the league title. Though they weren’t officially a BCS Buster, they were the closest thing in the final year of the BCS as they earned the Big East’s last automatic berth before it rebranded as the American. They capped the Cinderella season with an upset of Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl

But could the Knights aim even higher this season?

Along with UCF, only four other FBS teams still sport perfect records. Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Miami will all surely enjoy the benefit of the doubt in the popularity contest that is the College Football Playoff selection process. Even one-loss teams like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Washington would probably get a longer look from the committee than a perfect Knights squad.

So what exactly would it take for Scott Frost‘s team to land in one of the four coveted College Football Playoff semifinal slots? We have seen surprising results from mid-majors in the past. Had the four-team playoff system existed in 2009, for instance, TCU — then in the Mountain West — would have faced Alabama in one of the two semifinal contests.

We’ve also seen surprise mid-majors pip powerhouse programs for a major bowl berth. In 2012, Northern Illinois took advantage of late-season chaos to become a BCS Buster and earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.

So in this week’s edition of Sunday Morning Quarterback, let’s dive in and look at just what it would take for UCF to achieve the ultimate goal. Keep reading to see what must transpire for the Knights to land a spot in the Sugar Bowl or the Rose Bowl this year.

Next:1. Stay undefeated

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