After going unbeaten and taking care of Auburn, UCF has declared itself the national champion. Here’s why doing that ruins the amazing ride.
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
I declared myself Kate Upton’s husband after UCF beat Auburn. I now have to make a few arrangements.
Don’t be that program, UCF
Don’t be that guy who gives yourself a nickname.
Don’t be that guy wears the t-shirt of the band to the concert of that band.
Don’t be that program that chooses not to play at Georgia Tech when offered the opportunity – granted, there was a wee bit of a reason this didn’t happen at the time – and then scream for the traders to get back in here and to turn the machines back on.
And don’t be that program that declares yourself the national champion. After all the wonderful things that happened, don’t ruin it by being silly.
Don’t sour everything you just did, UCF, by becoming a punchline. Let all of us make the arguments for you.
There actually is an interesting and important theoretical and historical debate to be had here.
UCF would’ve been the national champion if this was 1984, and back in the day when national titles were handed out like M&M’s to teams before the bowl games were played, a whole slew of major programs – looking right at you, Alabama, and your technical 12 national titles, even though you claim 15 – are a wee bit loose with their all-time national championship counts.
But these aren’t the 1920s, this isn’t the Bowl ‘n’ Poll era, and the AP and Coaches polls don’t count anymore for anything other than for fun exercises to kill some time.
I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, UCF. But no. You’re not the 2017 national champion.
I’ll argue until the day that bigger button is pushed that 2011 LSU deserved the national title no matter what happened in the BCS Championship, but Alabama won that game 21-0.
No, 2003 USC. You might have been hosed in the process, and you can claim that AP thingy, but you didn’t win the BCS Championship. That’s the one that really counted.
It totally stunk to be 2004 Auburn, but someone had to be left out of the BCS Championship when USC and Oklahoma both finished unbeaten, too.
Yes, Hillary got more votes. No, as flawed as the system might be, that’s not how the game is played.
And it’s awful that UCF didn’t get a shot in the big tournament this season, but because it’s now going there with this whole self-proclaimed national championship thing, it has left me with no choice.
I hate to do this.
Yeah, UCF beat Auburn, who also beat Georgia and Alabama. Of course it’s good enough to beat anyone in the country in a one shot deal, but that’s not the point.
First of all, this line of reasoning and rationale only works if Bama wins – Georgia beat Auburn, too. Second, sorry, it’s not fair, and it stinks, but winning in the Group of Five isn’t enough.
Beating Memphis twice isn’t good enough.
Beating Maryland early in the season was great, but the Terps didn’t go bowling. Neither did Cincinnati, East Carolina, Austin Peay, or UConn.
Blowing out Temple wasn’t without its charm, and getting by USF was thrilling and winning at Navy was great, but … no.
As down as the SEC might be, going through this American Athletic Conference schedule isn’t like beating Florida State, a whole SEC schedule, Fresno State, Colorado State, and rim-rocking Clemson.
It doesn’t compare to winning at Notre Dame, beating Appalachian State, and blowing out just about everyone on the SEC slate before making amends for the Auburn loss with an SEC Championship win. And beating Oklahoma … that’s not bad.
Dealing with Power Five pressure, talent, and all that comes with it week after week after week isn’t like getting through the American Athletic. It just isn’t. (And, by the way, American Athletic Conference, enough with this whole Power Six stuff, too.)
Worst of all for UCF, by doing this and puffing out the chest with the self-declared national championship, the story is soured.
No one believes UCF is really the national champion, including UCF.
The amazing accomplishment of going 13-0, being the only unbeaten team, and getting by Auburn in a thriller – throwing in how unbelievable the the end of the season was against USF and Memphis – made this an amazing season full of fun. In this case, that has to be good enough – and it should be.
And there’s another harsh reality here – UCF probably doesn’t win two games if it got into the College Football Playoff. Don’t let the thought of what might’ve been or could’ve been distort what probably would’ve been.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, UCF will always be haunted by not being able to get its shot at the title. But there’s no reason to go gimmicky.
It was magical season. Now, build on this under Josh Heupel, do it again, and let all of us make the case for you to get into the big four next year.
UCF, act like this is just the beginning of something bigger.