College Football Rankings: BCS Monopolizes Polls, Keeps UCF Out!
Photo Courtesy of Joshua C.Cruey/Orlando Sentinel
The UCF Knights put a 30-3 whoopin' on ACC legacy power Boston College on Saturday at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla. While the Knights outgained the Eagles 422 to 141 in total yards, the most impressive stats were put up by UCF's defense. It held the Eagles to just seven first downs, one third-down conversion and one fourth-down conversion. The Knights also held onto the ball longer, with a 37:25 time of possession compared to BC's 22:35. The Knights didn't cough up the ball once, while BC's Chase Rettig threw two interceptions.
Rettig, who threw for 375 yards and one interception in BC's season opener against Northwestern, was stifled by the Knights' defense, completing only 10 passes for 70 yards. Tailback Andre Williams racked up 59 yards on 12 carries and receiver Bobby Swigert amassed an amazing 39 yards on three receptions.
The Knights kept BC out of the end zone and its only score came on a 47-yard booming field goal by Nate Freese. It's too bad Freese isn't the Eagles' punter—could've helped their field position.
So, what's my point? Why does it matter that UCF (2-0) beat BC (0-2)?
BCS Builds a Monopoly While Bill Hancock Defends It
UCF finished last season 11-3, ranked in the top 25, won its bowl game against Georgia and is the reigning C-USA champion. It wasn't ranked in the preseason, and though the Knights won their first two games by very large margins (62-0, 30-3), they remain on the cusp of the top 25 in both the AP and coaches' poll. Why hasn't UCF garnered enough respect from these pollsters yet?
Teams like the Texas Longhorns finished the 2010 season 5-7 (2-6 in conference) and didn't qualify for a bowl game. Texas was unofficially No. 26 in the preseason AP poll and 24 in the coaches poll prior to the 2011 season. They are now ranked 24 in the AP poll and 21 in the coaches poll after an unglamorous victory over Rice and a squeaker against newly independent BYU.
How can that be? What did Texas do to garner the respect of the pollsters?
Well, it is in the Big 12, a BCS automatic-qualifying conference, and has a legacy of being a winning program. These two facts alone give teams like Texas a head start in the preseason and a bigger head start once the season starts.
I'm not picking on Texas, it's just an example.
Non-AQ coaches repeatedly tell their teams that polls don't matter until the end of the season. Tell that to TCU, which didn't play for the national championship last year despite being in the same position as Auburn and Oregon. Tell it to Boise State, Nevada, Utah and BYU, who experienced the same story as a result of their conferences' exclusion from BCS auto-berth.
BCS teams claim that strength of schedule is the determining factor and that you have to play somebody to be somebody. Then they refuse to schedule non-AQ teams to prove they can be dominant. In Florida alone, UF, FSU, Miami and USF all refuse to add UCF to their schedules. How can UCF prove itself if it doesn't have the opportunity to play BCS conference teams now?
There is always a caveat to the games UCF does play. For instance, the first game of UCF's season was against an FCS division opponent, so the win is insignificant. The second game was against a Boston College team that lost its opener and garners no respect in the ACC currently. BC's 12-year streak of bowl eligibility isn't mentioned, nor is the fact that UCF beat that FCS team by a wider margin than No. 5 Florida State Seminoles.
UCF Builds a Legacy
Photo Courtesy of Reinhold Matay/Associated Press
"We feel disrespected, but all we can do is play," UCF cornerback Josh Robinson said. "We can't control it and we don't try to control it. All we can do is play our game and continue to try to work hard and be the best that we can be."
Positive words from the Knights' motivational coach George O'Leary: Work hard and it will pay off in the end. O'Leary, who isn't a fan of the BCS and prefers a playoff system, has voiced his disgust with the poll accuracy and thinks a top 10 midway through the season would make more sense.
Would it matter? Only if UCF beat Oklahoma while it was ranked No. 1 and undefeated. Quarterback Jeff Godfrey said UCF just uses this as motivation. "We look at all these other schools and see how they're ranked and we're not," he said. "We won the conference championship, we won the bowl game last year and that's pretty disrespectful. We use that to motivate us every day, every time we go out there on that field."
Godfrey ran over All-American Linebacker Luke Kuechly to get into the end zone Saturday, and Kuechly made him pay for it by picking him up by the pads and pounding him into the ground several times. Certainly the kind of behavior you expect from your All-Americans. His shenanigans didn't draw a flag.
The BCS exclusion has kept schools around the country from sharing in the rewards of the few. Most of those few were charter members in the big six conferences and did not earn their spot. This exclusion proves Hancock wrong: The BCS is a monopoly. If the big boys' club continues to exclude non-AQ teams because of their conference affiliation, maybe the so-called mid-majors should form their own club and exclude the BCS conferences.
If the second largest school in the country is left out, how can anyone expect fair play?