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Sport College Football Playoff: Why Boise State won’t be this year’s UCF

22:40  18 october  2019
22:40  18 october  2019 Source:   ftw.usatoday.com

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Boise State is one of 12 remaining undefeated college football teams midway through the 2019 season, and it's one of just three Group of Five teams with a perfect record and the lone Mountain West team.

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In the first seven weeks of the season, the Broncos have climbed in the rankings, and going into Week 8 when they play BYU, they're up to No. 14 in the AP Poll and No. 13 in the Coaches Poll after not being ranked in the preseason. Their success as the highest-ranked Group of Five team conjures up memories of UCF's past two seasons.

Across two seasons, the Knights rode a 25-game win streak, and it made a lot of noise about being ignored by the College Football Playoff committee twice.

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After finishing the 2017 season with a perfect 13-0 record, the Knights declared themselves the real national champs and had a parade and everything. And last year when they were, again, undefeated conference champions, the playoff committee still snubbed them. Fans were angry, the team responded with jokes and memes and athletic director Danny White passionately argued: "It's not a playoff. It's an invitational."

That's probably not going to be Boise State, should the Broncos remain undefeated this season.

As athletic director Curt Apsey explained to ESPN, he has a more reasonable take on the College Football Playoff and doesn't think "we factor into the playoff" picture. Via ESPN's Kyle Bonagura:

"We don't really focus that much on that sort of pie in the sky, be a part of the College Football Playoff and all that kind of thing," Apsey said. "Because we know what we have to do in order to just be considered for that.

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"If you have a 12-0 Boise State and, say, you have a 10-2 Alabama. … We beat everyone in our conference and we beat Marshall and we beat Portland State. I'll be honest with you, I kinda get [selecting Alabama]. I really do."

So far, the Broncos have wins against Florida State, Marshall, Portland State, Air Force, UNLV and, most recently, Hawaii - although freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier was injured and his status for Saturday is unknown.

And looking ahead, it perfectly reasonable to think Boise State could finish the season undefeated. After beating Hawaii, its chance to win out is now 23.4 percent, which is a 11-point bump from the previous week.

But it's also important that Apsey and Boise State keep their expectations tapered because strength of schedule and wins over Power Five teams matter to the playoff committee - and were notable weaknesses for UCF.

In the preseason, Boise State's strength of schedule was 94th overall with just one Power Five team lined up (and it was Florida State), and it had a 1.9 percent chance to win out. And although its becoming increasingly likely that the Broncos will finish with a perfect record, they still have a less than one percent chance to make the playoff.

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"Now can we go on the road any given Saturday and beat anybody? Absolutely we can do that," Apsey said. "Can we do it eight out of 10 times? I don't know."

Boise State plays BYU at 10:15 p.m. ET on Saturday on ESPN2.

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Even if Alabama loses to LSU on November 9, its rep might be enough for the Tide to make the College Football Playoff, Michael Weinreb writes.In retrospect, that game felt like the culmination of the pre-playoff era: Two months later, the same teams met in the BCS National Championship game. Alabama won, 21-0. In this way, we learned that a sport that emphasizes the importance of the regular season -- that literally sells itself on the mantra of “Every Game Counts” -- had sold us a bill of goods.

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