But could the Knights have been a playoff contender if their Sept. 16 home game vs. Georgia Tech was not cancelled due to Hurricance Irma?
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Obviously, without a win — arguably, a convincing win — in that game vs. the Yellow Jackets, this is a moot point. And even with a two- or three-score win, it still could be a moot point.
While Georgia Tech was UCF's best opponent in 2017, they're still not a top-10 team and may not be a top-25 team at the end of the season. If so, the Knights' only potential top-25 win could be the regular-season finale vs. USF — assuming the Bulls stay undefeated.
Georgia Tech sits the highest in nearly every ranking or poll system, including Sagarin Rating, ESPN Power Index and BennettRank. The Yellow Jackets rank in the top 25 in each ranking system but South Florida's No. 24 BennettRank is the only other top-25 ranking in any system for any of UCF's 2017 opponents.
Even if UCF plays in the AAC Championship, the winner of the AAC West will likely not be a top-25 team. Memphis (No. 50, 42 and 32, respectively), whom UCF already defeated, sits atop the West standings, and while a second win over the Tigers would be impressive, it's hardly a big-time win that many Power Five teams would get if they won their respective conference championships.
|Team||Sagarin Rating*||ESPN Power Index||BennettRank|
*Sagarin Ratings include FCS teams
It's impossible to definitively say UCF would not have a chance had they defeated Georgia Tech in Week 3, because we don't know how the 12-member playoff committee (who doesn't use any of the above ranking systems) would have perceived such a win. However, given their strength of schedule and no remaining opportunities for a win akin to knocking off a Ohio State, Clemson or even Washington in the regular season or conference championship, it's highly unlikely that game negatively affected their playoff hopes.