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UCF Ranked 23rd in Preseason Coaches' Poll, Which Does Actually Matter

Progress or Disrespect?

Tre'Quan Smith carries out the Charge On Shield before the USF game (Photo: Derek Warden)
Tre'Quan Smith carries out the Charge On Shield before the USF game (Photo: Derek Warden)

UCF Football will start the 2018 season ranked 23rd in the USA Today/Amway Coaches' Poll.

This is the first time in program history that UCF has ever been ranked to start a season.

It's one thing to celebrate a bit of a head start by being ranked in the preseason. There's nothing bad about that.

Still, on the heels of an undefeated season and a claim for a national championship, with a returning Heisman candidate at quarterback, consternation echoed in the poll's wake - the most vocal of it coming straight from the @UCF_Football Twitter account:

These are...damn good points, actually.

Look, I get it: UCF has an entirely new coaching staff, and plenty of contributors to last year's team are gone, including their best defensive player, and that leaves some question marks.

All that said, it's perfectly reasonable to play the disrespect card, because if UCF gets off to a hot start again, we can pretty much guess what's going to happen.

Still, you'd think some of the other schools in UCF's position would lend their support. But...

Clearly, the folks at Boise State (ranked just ahead of UCF at #22) and elsewhere in The American don't get it: The way you break the broken system is by calling it out for being broken. And should any of those teams do the same thing UCF did last year, you'd think everyone else in the so-called Group of Five would have their backs in the fight for college football justice. UCF would, for one.

Who would have thought Boise State, who has finished undefeated twice and won the Fiesta Bowl three times since 2006, and won 10+ games 15 times since 1999, would be on Alabama's side in this whole thing?

Funny how things work out. Come on, man. Get on board. It will only help your cause.

Back to UCF:

OK, stop.

UCF had to climb uphill in the rankings all of last year despite winning every game in front of it, including 11 of them in an 11-week span.

Last season, UCF didn't crack the Coaches' Poll until Week 5 (October 1), when they were 3-0. They didn't crack the Top 15 until Week 9 at 7-0, and there were still behind 2-loss Iowa State. They finally reached the Top 10 in time for the bowl season, and they were still behind three 2-loss teams and one 3-loss team (Auburn).

There's no doubt this contributed to their getting sandbagged by the CFP Committee, which doesn't release its rankings until the middle of the season.

Had UCF landed in the polls before the CFP rankings came out, things might have been different, but we'll never know.

So don't say it doesn't matter when UCF is the test case for how much it does matter.

We'll leave the last word to Luke Sarris: