As Joe Pesci once said, “they screw you in the College Football Playoffs line.” It happens to the Group of Five every damn year, whether you’re Northern Illinois, Memphis of UCF. You get screwed in the CFP line. No Whoppers. No Big Macs. Not even a stray fry at the bottom of the bag. For a full measure of my whining, check out my column in College Football News.
In January of 2019, The Arkansas State vice chancellor of intercollegiate athletics, the bubbly Terry Mohajir, was selected to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, a first among Sun Belt citizens. The expectation was as unanimous as it was profoundly unfair: the Sun Belt was finally gonna get the representation it long deserves.
You know what? We got that rep. 2020 was an exceedingly dumb season marked by devastating roster depletions and cancelations courtesy of COVID-19, so there really wasn’t an excuse to see something unfamiliar in college football. Still, whether Mr. Mohajir was the guiding hand or not, two Sun Belt teams wound up in the final CFB Playoff poll – Coastal Carolina (12) and Louisiana (19).
Who knows what epic battles Mohajir had to wage to make this possible? Yes, he had the facts on his side (Iowa positioned over the Cajuns is a travesty), but facts rarely compute with the Committee’s eye test, which seem to sparkled brightest for blue-blood logos. Even in that airless chamber of Privileged Five sycophants, Mohajir managed to not only get the Sun Belt repped, but double repped – a honor unceremoniously denied to the MAC, Mountain West and CUSA. The label on our pants reads “Big Boy.”
Lo, the Sun Belt may never see the inside of a CFB Playoff Top 10. Our AAC brother Cincinnati was a pretty good team, and it still lost out to a blue-blood program that played only half a season. Not even Terry Mohajir’s hyper-energy was enough to nudge that immoveable object.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arkansas State University