Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Case for the Houston Cougars in the Playoff

            I know what you're thinking. How can a team from a non-Power Five conference get into the playoff? Well, it certainly is a possibility with #15 Houston upsetting #3 Oklahoma in Houston. A non-Power Five team partaking in the college football playoff would be a first and an exciting one at that. How often do you get to see some from the American Athletic Conference take on Alabama in playoff semifinal? Now, this is only IF they run the table and go undefeated. A loss would greatly damage their chances of getting in. Anyways, here's a few reasons why Houston could get in if they do run the table.

  1. A Favorable Schedule: Houston's toughest game aside from Oklahoma is a home contest against Louisville on November 17. Houston only has five away games (excluding neutral site games). While Navy, Cincinnati, and Memphis could provide tough tests for the Cougars down the road, those are winnable games. Their other road games consist of contests against Texas State and SMU. Houston benefits from a favorable schedule in that it's a fairly easy schedule, yet it's also a schedule that can greatly benefit them, especially if they're undefeated headed into the conference championship.
  2. The Big 12 and Pac-12 Aren't Exactly Great Conferences: Oklahoma is the best team that the Big 12 has to offer. Baylor and TCU aren't as good as they were a few years ago after losing quality players to the NFL Draft. Plus, Oklahoma State is good, but not outstanding. As for the Pac-12, the best they have to offer is Stanford. While Christian McCaffrey is a Heisman Trophy candidate, there's not much else to the team. Washington will be better once the offense comes in full bloom, but they're not there yet. The point? Houston could get in based on the fact that these two conferences don't produce a champion fit for the playoff. Then and only then will Houston be able to take their place(s). 
  3. The Benefit of Having a Conference Championship: One major advantage that the American Athletic Conference has over the Big 12 is having a conference championship game. If Houston does run the table and the Big 12 doesn't have anybody ahead of Houston, this could spell trouble for the Big 12 this year. Having that extra game to decide the conference champion does help to bolster a resume.

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