Are There Any Remaining Cinderellas Left in Race to College Football Playoff?

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It was a steer that competence never be seen again.

When Navy repelled No. 6 Houston 46-40, custom and tradition were soon discharged in a best of ways Saturday afternoon. The Midshipmen, of all people, stormed a margin and extravagantly distinguished a football program’s initial win over a Top 10 group given 1984.

One didn’t have to be there to conclude that it’s a kind of thing that creates college football special, and a academy’s superintendent subsequently announced there would be no classes Tuesday in respect of a accomplishment.

But while Annapolis, Maryland, was full of jubilation, many other fans were means to whisper and relax a small more, generally those of Power Five conferences. With another intensity barrier all though private from a inhabitant championship landscape, a Cinderella watch was over for another year.

Since a Bowl Championship Series was total and put into outcome in 1998, a doorway has been open for teams from a other 5 conferences to have a bigger interest in a title, nonetheless one has nonetheless to entirely do so.

A handful have managed to land a mark in a vital bowl, including Hawaii in a 2008 Sugar Bowl, followed by Utah and Cincinnati, TCU (then in a Mountain West) in a 2011 Rose Bowl and Northern Illinois in a 2013 Orange Bowl.

The one to make a biggest dash came 10 years ago, when No. 9 Boise State repelled No. 7 Oklahoma in a Fiesta Bowl, 43-42 in overtime, withdrawal a Broncos and Ohio State as a usually teams with ideal annals during that point. Of course, a Buckeyes went on to get dejected by Florida in a pretension game, while Boise State finished fifth in a final Associated Press poll.

With a appearance of a College Football Playoff, that facilities 4 teams, Houston had hoped to be a one to mangle by and plea for this season’s championship. It came flattering tighten in 2015 with a 13-1 record and feat over Florida State in a Peach Bowl, though a Cougars were still deliberate prolonged shots unless they could run a table.

That meant defeating Oklahoma in a deteriorate opener, upsetting Louisville and capturing a American Athletic title.

It didn’t even get to Step 2, interjection to Navy, with no one caring that a home group was flattering good and a diversion was played in lousy continue due to Hurricane Matthew. Coming in, a Cougars were heading a republic in rushing defense, carrying yielded usually 42 yards per game, usually to give adult 306 to a triple-option. They also authorised some-more points than in their prior 4 games combined.

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

That’s what will be remembered—not that Cougars quarterback Greg Ward Jr. went 32-of-50 flitting for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns and also ran for 94 yards and another score, though that his team’s detriment competence have finished his Heisman Trophy chances.

Similarly, when it comes to a pretension chase, all counts, including attrition, lousy conditions and avoiding letdowns. Houston had warranted a chance, and it failed.

What also doesn’t assistance a smaller leagues has been a tip tier of teams station out, led by Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan and Washington. They and a other undefeated teams in a biggest conferences radically control their possess destinies. Win out and constraint a joining title, and they know they’re in.

The playoff is a quite tough invitation for a Cinderella to get, regardless of strength of schedule. You usually don’t see a homogeneous of Coastal Carolina’s College World Series pretension or Virginia Commonwealth’s tour from a First Four to a Final Four in a 2011 NCAA tournament.

In football, we still hear about how Appalachian State knocked off Michigan in 2007. To see something like that over a march of a deteriorate is now roughly impossible. The closest thing college football has seen was substantially Brigham Young in 1984, and that was some-more than 30 years ago.

Consequently, a list of intensity Cinderella possibilities is always brief to start with—and to clarify, Louisville no longer qualifies given it plays in a Atlantic Coast Conference, while programs like Baylor, Miami and Washington can’t be called anything some-more than a surprise—because all has to go right.

This year, that list was done adult of Houston, Boise State, San Diego State, South Florida, Air Force, Western Michigan and maybe Western Kentucky. Per usual, they’re being discharged one by one:

  • Western Kentucky mislaid during No. 1 Alabama though afterwards also to Vanderbilt and Louisiana Tech.
  • South Florida mislaid during home to Florida State.
  • San Diego State was ranked for dual weeks in a AP Top 25, though afterwards it mislaid during South Alabama.
  • Air Force mislaid during Wyoming this past weekend.

That leaves Boise State and Western Michigan as a remaining “Other Five” unbeatens, nonetheless their chances are slim.

The Broncos are led by sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien, who is 96-of-156 (61.5 percent) for 1,415 yards, 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. His passer rating of 157.2 ranks 19th in a nation, that means a same notice exists for both he and his team: good though not great.

Boise State has wins opposite Washington State and Oregon State, though those aren’t accurately matter victories, generally when a Pac-12 is about as immobile as all a choice uniforms being worn.

Boise State faces BYU during home Oct. 20 in a nationally televised diversion that could be a best possibility to make an sense opposite a name opponent. It also has dual squads on a report with winning records—Wyoming and Air Force—but will substantially not play a ranked team.

Western Michigan, a category of a Mid-American Conference so far, has a identical problem: Its best wins are opposite below-.500 Big Ten teams Northwestern and Illinois. The Broncos’ toughest remaining games seem to be opposite Akron, Eastern Michigan and Toledo. Those teams have already mislaid to Appalachian State, Toledo and BYU, respectively.

Which brings us behind to a Houston Cougars, who notwithstanding a detriment to Navy will expected sojourn a highest-ranked non-Power Five team. But to still have a shot during a playoff, a Cougars can’t event again and would need some vital help, like Alabama losing twice, Baylor unsatisfactory and Washington fading.

In other words, it needs a football homogeneous of a angel tale.


Quotes were performed firsthand unless differently noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

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