Alabama coach Nick Saban addresses UCF's 'self-proclaimed' national championship

UCF has had parades through Disney World, national championship rings made, apparel and even a sign claiming the "2017 national championship" on the side of its stadium. There's a problem, though. UCF didn't win the national championship. Alabama did, when it walked off a winner in overtime of the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup against Georgia in Atlanta in January. 

The coach of the Crimson Tide, Nick Saban, shared his thoughts on UCF's fictitious national title with USA Today.

"If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn't do something out of respect for the system that we have," Saban told USA Today. "I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there's probably a significant number of people who don't respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves."

If you don't hear a faint round of applause off in the distance, listen more intently.

Saban speaking out against the absurdity of a claimed national title in this day and age is something that shouldn't be needed, but sadly is this offseason. The College Football Playoff was specifically designed to avoid split national titles that happened in the BCS era, Bowl Coalition era and the standard conference tie-in era. 

UCF finished the season 13-0 and topped Auburn 34-27 in the Peach Bowl on New Year's Day. While that Peach Bowl didn't serve as a national semifinal -- the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, which Alabama won, did -- it did provide a transitive property platform for the Knights to stand on and claim something that they didn't earn. After all, UCF beat Auburn and Auburn beat Alabama -- but that's not how any of this works.

UCF's schedule leading up to the Peach Bowl is something that could -- could -- be used to make a case that UCF deserved to be in the playoff. But assuming that a win over Auburn in a non-playoff game is an indication that it would have won two playoff games in January feels like something that is created from the website MyTeamIsBetterThanYourTeam.com (seriously, you should check out that website and get lost in transitive property fun).

Saban understands that not all seasons are created equal, and that UCF's accomplishment deserves recognition. He, like many others including former UCF coach Scott Frost, also understands that there's only one national champion -- the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

College Football Writer

Barrett Sallee has been a member of the sports media in various aspects since 2001. He is currently a college football writer for CBS Sports, while also hosting on ESPNU on SiriusXM Radio channel 84, the... Full Bio

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