It’s obviously very difficult to know the answer, just as it’s hard to really know whether one of the better Boise, TCU, or Utah teams of the past that went undefeated might have been able to win a playoff. The committee is designed to give everyone a playoff without allowing us to know the answer to that question. Don’t kid yourself if you don’t think that limiting access for the super heavily invested blue blood programs isn’t a primary aim here.
It’d be fun to look back at some of those other teams but UCF seems like they were very close to matching the needed formula to pull it off. They had a difference maker at QB and tons of great skill personnel that allowed them to get after elite defenses despite lacking NFL OL and then on D they had some legit big men down low to protect them from being blown away by teams that do have big time OL.