The first College Football Playoff rankings show is set for Tuesday, Oct. 30.
It’s the first glimpse into who the CFP committee is looking at seriously for the four-team playoff to determine this year’s national champion.
Just don’t expect to find unbeaten UCF, owners of the nation’s longest active winning streak at 20 games, among the top four.
And that’s regardless of what happens this week in college football.
UCF is on a bye week, something that helped Oklahoma and Florida jump the Knights in the Associated Press poll two consecutive weeks. UCF’s strength of schedule is a detriment, and not by its own doing.
UCF scheduled two Power 5 programs this season — both from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
When the schedules were made, North Carolina was coming off an ACC title game appearance, so it wasn’t easy to see how far the Tar Heels were going to drop. UCF’s game was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.
Pittsburgh, the other ACC team on UCF’s schedule, nearly took down unbeaten Notre Dame on the road after the Knights crushed the Panthers 45-14 in Orlando.
But the biggest key to UCF’s chances plummeting when Tuesday’s first of several CFP rankings shows air comes from its own conference.
The Knights needed either Cincinnati or rival USF — two teams to stay undefeated until playing UCF.
The Bearcats’ overtime loss to Temple, a team UCF faces next Thursday, didn’t do the Knights any favors.
Sure Temple beat a Maryland team that defeated Texas, which is currently ranked ahead of UCF, but the Owls also lost to FCS team Villanova and suffered a bad loss to Buffalo.
Cincinnati and USF had to run the table until meeting each other, with the winner picking up its lone loss to UCF and the loser getting only its second loss when playing the Knights.
Heck, ESPN already expressed how undefeated UCF and USF are already eliminated from playoff contention, while maintaining two-loss Texas A&M has a chance in its latest Eliminator predictor.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in late September there is a path for UCF to make it to the playoff.
But with four teams getting an invite, teams jumping the Knights in the polls in weeks they’re on byes and the amount of dominoes that need to fall to set up the improbable path for UCF to get into the dance, it’s seemingly more and more likely the Knights won’t make it and instead might have to claim a national championship for a second straight season.
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