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Coastal Still Getting Overlooked

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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How can the Chanticleers truly compete when they aren't even being truly considered?

Remarkably, Coastal Carolina leads the nation in wins with eleven. The latest College Football Playoff poll doesn't even give the Chanticleers that basic numerical deference, slotting them 12th on Tuesday night. Literally and figuratively, this is a team that has won more games than the committee is giving them credit for. Beyond consideration for Coastal Carolina, even perfection hasn't been enough for contextualization; the Chanticleers men's basketball team was a 15-seed in their tournament debut and they had seven losses.

The latest rankings simply aren't an accurate reflection of Coastal Carolina's resume. It's almost as if the Chanticleers don't get a weekly evaluation in the polls, rather a weekly reminder of their place.

Heading into championship weekend, Coastal Carolina has two wins over ranked opponents, BYU and Louisiana, with their recent triumph over the Cougars coming when the visitors were positioned inside the national top ten. Keep in mind, the Chanticleers made that contest up when the matchup with Liberty was cancelled, going above and beyond in an attempt to elevate their profile. Add in a victory over Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina has three wins over opponents with at least eight wins. All without a loss.

Critics may point to a dramatic finish against Troy on Saturday, but is that standard being applied across the board? Notre Dame nipped Louisville by five points. Texas A&M edged  Vanderbilt by five. Georgia held off Mississippi State by seven. Though the Chanticleers were down with a minute and change remaining against the Trojans, they also answered with a 5-play, 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive. It was a championship response.  

Of the teams ahead of Coastal Carolina the College Football Playoff poll, Iowa State may be the hardest to explain. Though the Cyclones have had a very good season, they have two losses. Arguably more importantly than that, they have a common opponent with the Chanticleers in Louisiana; Coastal Carolina beat the Ragin' Cajuns on the road in Lafeyette, while Louisiana routed Iowa State by 17 points in Ames. The Cyclones are twice as close to the top as the Chanticleers.

Another showdown with the Ragin' Cajuns awaits in Saturday's Sun Belt Championship Game. Two of the best teams in the country will be on display, including one that has earned some College Football Playoff attention. This will be the third title game in the league history and Louisiana is set to make its third appearance. A major challenge awaits. Should Coastal Carolina beat the 17th ranked Ragin' Cajuns, though, it would give the undefeated Chanticleers a third victory over a top 20 opponent this fall, in addition to a league crown.

The job the committee has is undoubtedly a very difficult one. That said, it's hard to understand what more Coastal Carolina could possibly do and why what has been done hasn't been enough. Even still, the door to the proverbial front room remains locked. Forget the top four, the Chanticleers can't even get in the top ten. They are only three spots ahead of three-loss North Carolina, which has two losses to teams with losing records. There is a cap on what Coastal Carolina can do.

How can the Chanticleers truly compete when they aren't even being truly considered?

Coastal Carolina deserves better. The Chanticleers have earned it.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports