State Colleges

College Football Playoff director on UCF’s national title: ‘Let them have their fun’

The UCF Knights celebrate defeating the Auburn Tigers 34-27 to win the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta.
The UCF Knights celebrate defeating the Auburn Tigers 34-27 to win the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta. Getty Images

Is there a path for the UCFs of the world to make the College Football Playoff?

Executive director Bill Hancock says yes.

“Play a good schedule, win your games and you’re going to be in the hunt for the College Football Playoff,“ Hancock said Thursday at Hard Rock Stadium, the site of one of this year’s CFP semifinal games.

But going 12-0 in the regular season wasn’t good enough last year for the Knights to crack the top four. Instead, the CFP committee ranked them No. 12 — the highest-ranked Group of 5 team but still behind five two-loss teams (Ohio State, USC, Penn State, Miami and Washington) and one three-loss team (Auburn).

“UCF got full consideration from the committee last year,” Hancock said. “I believe the committee at the end of the season had ranked UCF higher than the sportswriters and the coaches had. So they got every consideration and they had a wonderful season. There’s no doubt about it, and their exuberance in the postseason was fun to watch for all of us.”

UCF went to the Peach Bowl and defeated Auburn 34-27 on New Year’s Day to go a perfect 13-0. On that day, the Knights claimed themselves to be national champions.

“I call it joyful exuberance. And I say let them have their joyful exuberance,” Hancock said. “Their conference and their school entered into an agreement to play in the CFP to decide a national championship. Let them have their fun. I mean, they had a great team.”

The Knights, No. 13 in the AP poll this week, are 3-0 heading into a Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. game against Pittsburgh. Their 16-game win streak — with 10 of those wins being by at least 25 points — is the longest active streak in the nation.

“It looks like they have it going again,” Hancock said.

So much so that the outside debate still lingers about the playoff potentially expanding to eight teams. Hancock said no plans to do so are in the works yet since the playoff still has eight years remaining on its current contract.

Even if there were the opportunity to change, Hancock cited an 80 percent approval rating among schools as a reason to wait.

“We landed on four because we knew that would not detract from the regular season,” Hancock said. “As a matter of fact, we would further enhance the regular season. … I believe there’s something to be said for scarcity. It’s not an all-conference event. Someone gets left out.

“There will always be a Team 5.”

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