What Would a Potential ‘Group of Five’ Playoff Look Like?
Let’s be honest with ourselves, folks. There is absolutely no way that a ‘Group of Five’ team can make the College Football Playoff. End of story. The CFP committee has proven time and time again that the “little guy” has no shot at a National Championship. Instead, you have 60 teams competing for a spot in the Peach Bowl to play a team from another conference that has no interest in winning the Peach Bowl because their CFP chances ended in October.
So, why do the schools from the American, Mountain West, MAC, C-USA, and Sun Belt even hang around in the FBS? I mean, I know why – it’s money. Money means a lot more than actual winning in the grand landscape of college football. But, you know – I think there might be some money to make in a ‘Group of Five’ National Championship.
I’m not a fan of the four-team College Football Playoff model to begin with, so I came up with my own system a couple of years ago. I write a weekly column, projecting the playoff teams based on said system, and no one ever reads it. I actually have no idea why I continue writing that column, but that’s neither here nor there. Nonetheless, I decided to look at the Group of Five and apply my system to those teams, and I came up with what I feel a Group of Five playoff would look like.
‘Group of Five’ Playoff Standings
1. UCF Golden Knights (American Champion) – Realistically speaking, if I’m being honest with you guys, I think UCF is probably the third or fourth best team on this list. But, they’re the only team in the Group of Five that’s undefeated, and they’re ranked #8 in the actual CFP rankings, so they get the #1 seed.
2. Fresno State Bulldogs (Mountain West Champion) – I thought the Bulldogs were capable of a great season, and they went out and won the Mountain West, defeating Boise State in the process. In fact, a strange loss to Minnesota is the only thing that kept Fresno State from being able to claim they beat everyone on their schedule.
3. Appalachian State Mountaineers (Sun Belt Champion) – App State is nothing if not reliable, right? Since joining the FBS, they’ve been a model of consistency, and this year, they nearly upset Penn State. Aside from a slip-up against Georgia Southern, and the Penn State loss, the Mountaineers pretty well dominated their way to 10 wins.
4. UAB Blazers (C-USA Champion) – Are the Blazers really the fourth best team in the field? No. But, they’re the fourth best conference champion and so they get one of the home games. The Blazers won eight consecutive games at one point in the season, and after being dominated by MTSU in Week 12, stole one from the Blue Raiders in the C-USA Championship in Murfreesboro.
5. Northern Illinois (MAC Champion) – The Huskies stole the MAC away from 10-3 Buffalo, and in doing so, pushed them out of the Go5 Playoffs. That said, they’re still the worst conference champion of the bunch, and wouldn’t have even made the playoffs had they not won their conference.
6. Boise State Broncos (Wild Card #1) – The Broncos could very well beat anybody on this list, but when it mattered most, they came up short. No conference title for Boise, as they lost in the snow to Fresno State in the Mountain West Championship.
7. Cincinnati Bearcats (Wild Card #2) – What is Cincinnati’s best game of the year? Beating UCLA? Beating South Florida? They’re a bit of a mirage at 10-2, as they folded against UCF. But, you can’t argue with 10 wins, so that’s why they’re here.
8. Utah State Aggies (Wild Card #2) – The Aggies nearly upset Michigan State, and when they faced Boise State with the division on the line, they lost. I still think Jordan Love and that Aggies offense make for one of the best teams in the Go5.
So that gives us…
(8) Utah State at (1) UCF
(5) Northern Illinois at (4) UAB
(7) Cincinnati at (2) Fresno State
(6) Boise State at (3) Appalachian State
What do you think? Would you guys be up for watching this? Or, am I the only nerd who routinely watches mid-major conference football?
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD and #BeBetter. “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Alabama Crimson Tide football, the WWE, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley