And college football’s national champ is…UCF?
The University of Central Florida is shamelessly staking its claim to the title after moving undefeated and thumping Auburn — the only crew Alabama and Georgia lost to this season — in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
UCF is even maintaining a celebratory procession for the team at Disney World on Sunday, the day before Alabama and Georgia are set to play for the acknowledged national title.
After beating Auburn, UCF football’s Twitter feed was changed to “2 017 National Champions” with the logo to match. The school has also made championship T-shirts available and will grow a championship flag in their stadium.
“If you take the long view of the history of college football, there’s an horrid heap of national championships being claimed by universities that didn’t accomplish which is something we accomplished this year in those respective seasons, this is why we experience we’re more than justified to claim our first national championship, and we think it’ll be the first of many, ” UCF athletic head Danny White told ESPN. “I don’t think our kids should be penalise because we weren’t respected by the College Football Playoff committee , nor should our program be penalized because we weren’t around 20 or 30 years ago when people were claiming national championships left and right.
“We’re trying to build our program, and we feel very strongly as the only undefeated crew and having thump Auburn, who beat both teams rivalling for the national championship, that we have an extremely sound lawsuit to claim the crown.”
White said the school is doling out national championship bonuses that’s called for in the contracts of the football staff.
UCF doesn’t play in a Power 5 seminar and was left out of the College Football Playoff.
Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi wrote Saturday that UCF deserves to be called national champs, while adding that the city of Orlando will take a championship any behavior it can get one.
But SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey dismissed the Knights’ claim by not addresssing it, 247sports. com reported Saturday.
“The national championship will be played Monday night, Jan. 8, in Atlanta, Georgia, ” Sankey said. “And the win of that play between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama will be the national champion.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban wasn’t fazed at all by UCF’s claim, the New York Post reported. He, like nearly everyone else, knows the name won’t be won until Monday night.
“I’m fine with it, ” Saban said. “Doesn’t mean got anything to anybody but them.”