The Group of Five can make the College Football Playoff.
Don't let people tell you a Group of Five team has no shot at ever making the playoff. That's short-sighted and lazy. Houston would've made the field last year if they had run the table after a season-opening win over Oklahoma. Yes, the Cougars were smashed by SMU and lost two other games but that's not the point. Houston had the schedule to earn a spot in the four-team field.
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Nonetheless, the Group of Five is frustrated, especially this season after UCF — the 12-0 AAC champs with wins over Memphis (twice) and USF — was not only left out of the playoff, they were not even a serious contender given their No. 12 spot in the final CFP Rankings. That frustration has led to those one-size-fits-all, short-sighted proclamations that the playoff is a Power Five Playoff, not a College Football Playoff.
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It's undoubtedly difficult for a Group of Five team to make the playoff, because they need a perfect combination of talent, schedule and committee love to earn serious consideration as one of the four best teams in America. It is not impossible. However, that group of 65 teams (Group of Five conferences plus independents Army, BYU and UMass, have had preliminary discussions about a potential Group of Five playoff.
Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson told ESPN's Greg McElroy this week that Group of Five commissioners have talked about creating their own playoff, as reported by Brett McMurphy.
Sun Belt’s Karl Benson tells @GregMcElroy Group of 5 commissioners have had “some casual conversations (about a Group of 5 playoff), nothing serious because we’re under contract w/@CFBPlayoff … but right now everyone is happy where we are”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 14, 2017
Benson did not elaborate on "casual conversations" but this is still a notable development for college football and one that will launch a variety of projections and propositions.
Would the CFP remain in place and the Group of Five would simply pull out of bowl games (including the New Year's Six) to have their four best teams play in three newly created games to determine a Group of Five champion? Would the Group of Five try to break off from the FBS? Are the aforementioned independents eligible for inclusion?
This is something to watch very closely in the next couple years.
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