Central Florida continues to play the “disrespect” card and play it well.
UCF has won 20 games in a row dating back to the start of the 2017 season and was notably nowhere near the College Football Playoff last fall despite being the nation’s only undefeated team.
Even now, UCF is only No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 after improving to 7-0 with a 37-10 win over East Carolina. That’s the highest ranking by far among Group of Five teams, meaning UCF would once again play in a New Year’s Six bowl game if the season ended today. But ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit thinks there are a few other teams worthy of consideration for that spot, even if it’s at the expense of the undefeated Knights.
On “College GameDay” on Saturday morning, Herbstreit made the case for Fresno State, Appalachian State and Utah State being “better” than UCF and “more deserving” for a New Year’s Six spot while pointing to UCF’s strength of schedule.
That didn’t sit well with UCF athletic director Danny White, who released this statement on Twitter on Sunday night:
— Danny White (@UCFDannyWhite) October 22, 2018
White has made the ‘broken model’ point before
Late last November, the undefeated Knights were ranked No. 14 by the College Football Playoff committee. That left White perplexed and upset.
“I thought finally we’d get a little more respect,” White told Yahoo Sports’ Eric Adelson. “It doesn’t seem to matter what we do.”
White often points to the separation between the Power Five conferences and the rest of the FBS leagues in the current College Football Playoff model. The AAC’s placement as the proverbial sixth-best conference is White’s main beef. It leaves teams like UCF on the outside looking in.
“Our league is as competitive as a lot of these so-called P-5 conferences,” White said then. “That’s why I’m speaking up about it. We need to continue to build our football program. We can’t accept the lack of respect the conference is currently being shown.”
After the season, following UCF’s Peach Bowl triumph over Auburn, White declared the Knights national champions, a boast that has carried on loudly and proudly among UCF fans (especially on social media) in the months to follow.
“The way this whole thing played out, I don’t know how in any kind of equitable system you don’t consider us the national champion,” White said in a Jan. 3 radio interview. “I think we need to fight for that. Our kids have earned that.”
Later in the interview, White added: “It’s not just UCF, it’s our conference. We’re different. They want to lump us in to the Group of Five. In the BCS era, there were six high major conferences and the Big East was one of them. We’re what’s left of Big East football and we’re actually, I think, stronger than Big East football was for quite some time.”
Will White’s point of view be considered?
Last year, CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the committee “respected” UCF, but was quick to point to strength of schedule when justifying UCF’s No. 12 ranking at the end of the season.
“To qualify for the playoff, teams need to play tough schedules against good teams — that is the way for all teams to stand out and be ranked high by the committee,” Hancock said. “UCF is an excellent team, but you still have to take into account who each team played and defeated during the regular season.”
The first CFP rankings come out next week, so we’ll see if White’s talking points have had an impact on the way the committee views UCF.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Jeff Eisenberg: What now for Rae Carruth?
• ‘Decoy’ Flacco stands, watches rookie’s first NFL TD
• Terez Paylor: Jags can no longer hide their Bortles problem
• Charles Robinson: Why the NFL wins when players are divided