Skip to main content

College Football Playoff Poll Watch: Will the Group of 5 Ever Get a Fair Shake?


The weekly practice of releasing the College Football Playoff Selection Committee's rankings took place again on Tuesday night. As usual, we were left with several questions.

Image placeholder title

Here are three things I'd like to know:

Is it possible for a Group of 5 team to play for a national championship?

Right now, the answer appears to be "No." UCF has won every game on its schedule. The Knights are one of only four FBS teams with an unblemished record. Be that as it may, they were slotted by the selection committee at No. 15 for the second consecutive week.

I've repeatedly asked on social media what a Group of 5 team — in this case UCF — would need to do in order to insert itself into the College Football Playoff conversation. Some have said it's not possible. Others fall back on the same old lazy answer: They need to schedule stronger teams out of conference.

I don't buy that. In fact, I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean.

Think about it. What if UCF athletic director Danny White was able to schedule Clemson, Boise State and Washington as non-conference opponents for the 2021 season. Today, we'd all applaud that effort. We'd gush over that non-conference slate and talk about the degree of difficulty it comes with.

What happens then, when 2021 arrives? What if the wheels have fallen off — even for a season — and Clemson is the sixth-best team in its division in 2021? What if Boise State is in the bottom half of the Mountain West? What if Washington has become a bottom feeder in the Pac-12?

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

How's the strength of schedule looking now?

And therein lies the problem with the idea that all a Group of 5 school has to do is schedule tougher opponents. As far as I know, no FBS schools own functioning time machines. Therefore, there is no concrete way for any school to project how good another program is going to be in two, three or four years.

What does this mean? Basically, Group of 5 schools need to take care of their own business on their respective schedules while also hoping that their non-conference opponents are able to handle their respective business.

That's unrealistic, and it further demonstrate how asinine this entire process is. 

The system is stacked against the Group of 5, and that's exactly what the Power 5 conferences and ESPN — the entity that runs this entire playoff fiasco — want.

How was Miami's win over Virginia better than Wisconsin's win over Michigan?

Miami had to come from 14 points down to beat an ok Virginia team. Wisconsin trailed Michigan for a few minutes before pulling away for a sound win. What was so good about Miami's performance that the Hurricanes were able to jump Clemson while Wisconsin's win was good enough for the Badgers to simply stay put at No. 5? We can ask until we're blue in the face — we won't get an answer.

How did Washington State move up by not playing? 

The Cougars were No. 14. They had the week off. Now they're No. 13. Talk about a great week! Maybe UCF should have taken the week off instead of beating Temple 45-19 in Philadelphia.

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also covers the Big Ten for Black Heart Gold Pants, Iowa's SB Nation blog. His work has appeared on,, Yahoo! and Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

(Top photo courtesy of @UCF_Football)