UCF really did get sandbagged by the CFP Committee, looking back at the results of the six polls that were taken between October 31st and December 3rd, when the four CFP semifinal teams were chosen.
We're not arguing UCF should have been a shoo-in for the #4 slot and a spot in the CFP semifinals. That's a debate for another time. We're also not arguing where UCF started in the rankings. But we are saying that Scott Frost was right:
Scott Frost takes on CFP, SEC, even Michigan. “Insulted” by final ranking. https://t.co/iH2rYlQiqV— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 7, 2018
Here's a week-by-week look at the CFP rankings:
Let's establish some facts:
It's reasonable to believe that if a team wins, it should move up, especially if a team above it loses. it is also reasonable to believe that if a team loses, it should move down, or perhaps stay put if it loses to a team ranked above it.
In the first poll, UCF was already behind the 8-ball at 18. But that doesn't mean they didn't have a shot to move up week by week as teams above them fell and they continued to win. But that's not what happened. Some things stand out:
In Week 2:
- In the second week, UCF stayed put at #18 after a road win over SMU, which didn't lose another home game the rest of the year.
- They got leapfrogged by Michigan State, which moved up 12 spots.
- Every other team in the CFP Top 25 that lost that week moved down, but every team below #6 (where Ohio State was, which lost 55-24 to Iowa that week) that won moved up, except for Mississippi State, who beat UMass.
In Week 3:
- UCF moves up two spots after beating UConn at home.
- UCF gets leapfrogged by Washington State, who moved up five spots after they won at 5-4 Utah.
In Week 4:
- UCF stays put after throttling Temple on the road.
- UCF gets leapfrogged by Mississippi State, who moved up two slots after they beat 4-7 Arkansas.
In Week 5:
- UCF moves up one spot after beating USF, which was unranked in the CFP poll despite being ranked 19th in the Coaches' Poll, 22nd in the AP Poll, and 9-1 coming into that week.
- Stanford (9-3) moves up nine spots, leapfrogging UCF, after beating #8 Notre Dame at home.
- UCF also gets jumped by Washington (10-2) who moved up four spots after they won the Apple Cup over #13 Washington State.
In the final poll:
- UCF moves up two spots after beating #20 Memphis.
- Washington also moved up despite not playing a game.
UCF moved up a total of six spots in five weeks. Auburn moved up 12 spots in five weeks before losing to Georgia. They still moved down to #7 in the final poll, but that's still seven spots from their start, with a loss.
And again, UCF beat Auburn.
The combination of getting leapfrogged by two- and three-loss teams, and then not getting credit for the victory over USF (which should have been ranked) means that UCF definitely has a case that it got sandbagged by the CFP Committee.
Again, I'm not saying UCF should have been in the top four at the end of the year. But it stands to reason that UCF could have been in the Top 10 by the end of the season, and probably could land in the top five after the bowl games.
Georgia and Alabama will face one another for the CFP Championship on Monday night, and that's fine. Whoever wins, they have every claim to the national title they deserve. But let's not stand here and say UCF got the benefit of the doubt from the committee because they didn't. In fact, quite the opposite.