American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco is once again frustrated with the lack of respect Central Florida has received in consideration for the College Football Playoff.
For the second consecutive season, the Knights (12-0) have gone undefeated — giving them a 25-game winning streak following last season's 13-0 campaign that was billed as a national title by the school (UCF even had a parade and paid coaches title bonuses last year).
This year, it's a similar narrative. The Knights only received a No. 8 ranking in the final playoff standings and ultimately landed a matchup with LSU in the Fiesta Bowl. Three playoff teams — Alabama (13-0), Clemson (13-0) and Notre Dame (12-0) — also haven't lost in 2018, while Oklahoma (12-1) fell to Ohio State.
"Unfortunately, there’s this perception of our conference, which is just flat-out wrong, like somehow we play JV football, which is ridiculous," Aresco said at the SportsBusines Journal's Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Tuesday.
UCF's strength of schedule (104th nationally) has been cited by the committee over the past two seasons as a reason for not being heavily considered. Last season, the Knights beat Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and had a non-conference victory over Maryland. This year it owns wins over Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Memphis on its résumé.
Further explaining his aggravation with the league's perception, Aresco said: “The point is, what I think is a big concern is (UCF wasn't) really seriously considered for this. It doesn’t appear that they were, and that’s the problem.
“You look at the other games that they’ve played and won and the adversity they’ve faced and you say to yourself, ‘Well, what do they have to do?’ And the question then becomes, is half of college football precluded from playing in this playoff?"
“I’m not singling out anyone, but (the AAC has) got seven so-called (power five) wins this year, 33 in the last four years, we’ve had big wins against top programs.”
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