There hasn’t been a shortage of opinions about Central Florida declaring itself a national champion.
But the coaches with teams in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game — Alabama’s Nick Saban and Georgia’s Kirby Smart — don’t seem to care too much.
“I’m fine with it,” Saban said. “Doesn’t mean anything to anybody but them.”
Added Smart: “I think that’s UCF’s opinion.”
UCF capped off a 13-0 season with a Peach Bowl win over SEC West champion Auburn, a team that beat both Alabama and Georgia. The Knights are going all out with their celebration, too. A parade at Disney World is planned for Monday and athletic director Danny White said a national champions banner would be going up at Spectrum Stadium.
Saban, for all of his success, has only had one undefeated season as a coach (2009), so he is cool with UCF celebrating its achievement even if the claim may not mean much in the grand scheme of things.
“They should be proud of the season they had. I know how hard it is for — we’ve only had one undefeated season in all the time I’ve been around,” Saban said. “It’s a difficult accomplishment. I think when players accomplish that, they should feel good about what they’ve accomplished.”
Smart didn’t have as much to say.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think about it,” Smart said. “I’m thinking about Alabama.”
But he did concede this:
“If I was at UCF, I’d probably do the same thing.”
Now that’s the spirit, Kirby!
Many have been critical of UCF. But as Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel detailed, teams have been claiming national titles for decades. Why wouldn’t UCF do the same?
White laid it all out in detail earlier this week.
“We feel strongly that our football team is a national champion. In looking at research and what’s happened across college football through the years, there’s tons of examples whether there’s a dispute on one or two or three teams, even four teams in some years. They feel like they have claim to a national championship,” White said.
“But I don’t know how you don’t call this team national champions when they went undefeated and in the last game of the year they beat the team that beat both the teams competing in the CFP championship.”
– – – – – – –