They are Right but UCF Needs to Stop Whining About Being Excluded
Here me out University of Central Florida friends and fans. I agree with your argument that you are getting a totally raw deal from the "Big Boys" of College Football who are petrified of the idea you might actually beat them.
And I totally and completely agree the current "Power Five"/College Football Playoff system is set up to reward only a small handful of teams while excluding anyone not in the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 or SEC.
Kudos to your Athletic Director Danny White for being vocal and public in support of what the football team has done. 25 straight wins is to be applauded at any level of football, never mind Football Bowl Subdivision level.
But you also need to understand this: White can hem and haw all year long that nobody will play you, nobody will give you a chance to compete with the big boys. But eventually, at some point. He's going to have to agree to someone's offer.
UCF, for all of its recent success is not a "Legacy" school. By that I mean they aren't an Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, USC or anyone else who's been considered College Football's "Elite" for the past 100-years.
Agree with it or not (I don't), that's the way the system is set up. It is why the preseason "Rankings" will always favor the "Notre Dame's and Ohio State's" of the world and not UCF. Even for the sake of argument---saying your team is actually better than theirs, because of the national reputations and well, TV ratings draw, you'll lose the argument---every time.
Yes, I know---playing those teams will allow you to say you've competed at the highest levels. It's a total and complete "Catch 22". You need to beat those teams to prove you belong---but you need them to give you the opportunity to do it.
Which is why White making public his conversations with University of Florida AD Scott Stricklin is a risky but necessary move.
The short version of the e-mails exchanged between the two essentially lay out this: Florida is more than willing to play UCF, but wants two home games to one for the Knights...a pretty much standard arrangement in the past for Power 5's vs. Mid Major Schools.
Stricklin replied by stating he's "Not in the market for a home and home or neutral site game against a 'Non Autonomy Five' school".
Unfortunately for White, he turned the deal down saying the Knights should get the same deal as the Gators equals. Which by the way---he's right, they should be treated as equals. But in the College Football world, they aren't.
However Stricklin shrugged his shoulders and said "Ok". White has continued to parade on his horse---tilting at the Power 5 Windmills but he can't win. Which is why he needs to stop. Like I said, in order to get what he wants, White is going to have to agree to this kind of deal in order to step up his schedule.
Like it or not, it's the only way UCF gets a game with a big time, legacy Power 5 team. Win a few of those games and he'll have some negotiating power. Right now, he has none.
Until someone is willing to make radical changes in the Sport, College Football will have this argument along with a playoff argument forever. In a subjective gathering of opinion makers who decide who's in and who is out, there will be "Biases" put into play (cannot believe I'm saying this).
It may not be intentional, it may not be direct---but the choices are subjective. Which means nobody actually gets to prove who's best on the field. It's a partial popularity contest. (Prove me wrong)
I know full well Athletic Directors and other are contemplating "Expanding" the playoff, but it won't solve the problem. Even if it means a UCF or some other mid-major gets a shot at the title because there will always be someone shut out. If 8 teams go to the playoff, team 9 and 10 will complain. If more than one team goes to the playoff from a conference there will always be an argument if they're worthy (looking at you ACC with Clemson and bunch of shitty teams)
Until money is distributed evenly, the UCF"s of the world can tilt at windmills until they are blue in the face. It won't change anything. Until they have the revenue and facilities of most SEC teams or Big 10 tams, they won't be able to compete over the long haul.
Could the Knights be competitive in the SEC, sure they could. This year they arguably could beat Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and possibly Missouri which is great on them.
But the Knights could not beat Alabama. They'd compete with but wouldn't have near the depth to run with Georgia all season long. In a "One Time Only" matchup with an elite team, the Knights would have a legit chance to win I believe. But marching through an SEC schedule with multiple teams with wave after wave of 4 and 5 star athletes would take a toll. It would wear them down.
We'll find out just how well UCF will hang with the big boys of College Football very, very soon. They square off with a very physical, very strong LSU squad in the Fiesta Bowl on New Years Day. Win that game---the argument will only pick up steam.