Going undefeated is an impressive accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if it’s achieved in a Power-5 conference or if that gauntlet is run to perfection in a mid-major conference. That’s what Scott Frost accomplished in his final season as head coach of the University of Central Florida football team.
The Golden Knights perfect record was capped off with a 34-27 win over Auburn. While this was a truly great achievement, it by no means makes Frost and UCF national champions. But don’t tell that to UCF.
Their passionate fan-base believes that going undefeated makes you the rightful owner of the national championship. This drum was beaten to death before the bowls even kicked off. Alabama getting into the playoff over UCF was seen as the heist of the century. Who’d Alabama play they asked? Who’d Alabama beat they asked?
As far as who Alabama played in comparison to UCF, well, Alabama’s strength of schedule was superior to UCF’s. Frost may not believe that it was right, but it was true. Sure, Alabama’s SOS gets an immediate pump from playing in a Power-5 conference. You know what I have to say about that? Too bad. Life isn’t fair.
And who did Alabama and UCF beat? UCF beat one committee ranked team in Memphis and played just one Power-5 team in Maryland. Alabama had the already stated luxury of playing in a Power-5 conference with a Power-5 schedule. And I’ve heard the argument that Power-5 teams don’t want to play UCF in Orlando. That being the case, one of the big boys doesn’t have to play UCF on its home turf, however, that doesn’t mean that UCF should use that as an excuse to not play those teams at all. Perhaps if UCF had scheduled someone other than a lousy Maryland team from the Big Ten, the committee would have treated a potential one-loss UCF team the same as a one-loss Alabama team. There’s really only one way to find that out. Schedule a potential loss and run the table in the AAC. Do that and get back to me.
Let’s also keep something else in mind when elevating UCF to its mythical national championship. The Golden Knights and the supporters of UCF are making their argument based in part on beating a team from the SEC in its bowl game. But just a minute. Let’s press pause on yet one more argument in defense of UCF’s national championship hardware. We’ve been told throughout bowl season that the dominance of the SEC is mere perception and the SEC isn’t that strong from top to bottom. If we assume that to be fact then UCF’s win over Auburn doesn’t mean nearly as much as we’re being told.
UCF, Frost, and outraged fans across America can’t have it both ways yet here they are attempting to do so.
The Golden Knights can have a parade and can raise a national championship banner. AD Danny White can even give the entire coaching staff national championship bonuses. But it doesn’t change the fact that UCF didn’t win the national championship. UCF won the Peach Bowl and Alabama will play Georgia in the REAL national championship.
I applaud UCF and Frost for the great season that the Golden Knight’s fans were treated to. UCF has numerous players who will play on Sundays and nobody can ever take away the 12-0 record. But concocting national championship banners and having a parade in honor of a self-appointed championship cheapens what Frost and his team accomplished.
Comment on this story in our free forum.
E-mail Seth at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Wikimedia Commons