Playoff Hopes Hover over Houston

Posted on July 7th 2016

During the BCS Era I never failed to hear the same ole roar……the deck is stacked against the little guys, they don’t stand a chance against the powers of college football. I’m hearing the same roar, second verse now that we have moved on to the college football playoff. The only difference is, to some degree, now the naysayers have more of a point. For as much moaning and gnashing of teeth that I heard about the BCS computers there is one thing everyone could not deny…..the computers didn’t know if team “A” was Alabama or South Alabama and frankly my dear….didn’t give a damn. It was all about wins, losses and strength of schedule for those unappreciated machines. Now, a human committee must be convinced that a team is worthy of one of those coveted top four spots, and well, honestly, South Alabama really doesn’t stand much of a chance.

If I said it once I must have said it a thousand times…..if you want to be a big boy, you must play, and beat the big boys. It’s all about timing, and scheduling, and getting the lucky breaks along the way. Being undefeated is not enough, you simply must prove your worthiness on the field of play by beating top notch quality opponents. Most of the teams comprising the conferences in the “Group of Five” don’t have the opportunity to compete for a playoff spot because A). They don’t schedule a major power team to give themselves an opportunity to prove themselves; B).  They over schedule too many power teams and therefore enhance their risk of a loss; C). They are just flat out not good enough. Harsh words, but truer words were never spoken.

This year, there is an opportunity, certainly an opportunity, for a team to make that leap into college football history. The University of Houston has the talent, and at the same time they have the schedule, so timing is on their side….. all they need now are the lucky breaks along the way. Lucky like beating Oklahoma and the Sooners going on to win the Big 12. Lucky like Louisville having an outstanding season in the ACC. Lucky like the American Athletic, overall, having it’s best year EVER. If all those things fall into place, even a human committee, hell bent on favoring traditional powers, might….just might be convinced. But all of those breaks mean nothing if Houston doesn’t come through and play the game of their lives EVERY WEEK. No letdowns, no squeakers over teams they should beat by 30 points. Let’s be real folks, to that committee….style points count.

Speaking of the American Conference, it’s not going to be a cakewalk for the Cougars. Getting through their own conference undefeated, much less beating Oklahoma early (September 3) and Louisville late (November 17) is not going to be easy. Memphis, Navy, Temple, Cincinnati and South Florida all have visions of their own. And the American Conference is certainly not the only conference in the Group of Five putting forth a solid team. In Conference USA, Southern Miss plays at LSU, an undefeated season with a win in Baton Rouge against the SEC champ? That may carry some weight don’t you think? Or perhaps a Western Kentucky win at Alabama? Oh, the opportunities are there for sure for Conference USA to make some national noise. Marshall and Louisiana Tech will join Southern Miss and Western Kentucky in a battle for the conference crown.

Over in the Mid America Conference, the race is so tight I could barely separate the teams by a fraction of a point in the pre-season rankings. Ohio, Akron, and Bowling Green in the East, and Western Michigan and Toledo in the West all have the fire power to win a conference title.

Out in the Mountain West Conference Boise State and San Diego State appear to be a notch above everyone else, but Air Force, Colorado State, Utah State (all in the Mountain Division) and San Jose State and Nevada (in the West Division) are all within one of those “lucky breaks” away from upsetting those division leaders.