“Auburn is a great team,” Frost said. “I’m not taking anything away from them. I give them a ton of credit. But these guys deserve everything they get, and they deserve more credit from the committee than what they got.”
UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton, who combined for more than 350 yards and three touchdowns against Auburn, said, “You can go ahead and cancel the playoffs; I’m not changing my mind.”
Casey said the change invigorated him during a season in which he spearheaded Tennessee’s fourth-ranked run defense (88.8 yards a game) and logged six sacks, which ranks among the league leaders for interior defensive linemen playing in base 3-4 schemes.
There are eight new teams in this year’s playoff field — Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Panthers in the NFC, and Jaguars, Titans and Bills in the AFC. That’s tied for the most in a season (2003) since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990. Since 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.
The Eagles and Jaguars both completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds this season in their respective divisions. Five of the eight division winners (Eagles, Vikings, Rams, Saints and Jaguars) finished in either third or fourth place in their divisions last year.
Devin McCourty was a 2010 draft pick of the Patriots, but remembered those 2009 reports and realized Belichick will never give someone a pass for being late.
“I knew not to come late,” McCourty said Wednesday. “I found a couple nice places that are about 15 or 20 minutes away my rookie year and I was like ‘Nah, I’ll do the three minutes away.’ I think guys know that. You see it. You see that around the league when you’re in college. Your season is usually over by now except for a couple teams so you’re following that. Everyone follows the NFL when you play in college so guys know. You know here is the one place where no matter what time of the year it is, if it’s not going well you’ll get fired. Like I always say, the goal every day is not to get fired. So guys know that.