UCF has finished the college football season as the sport's only undefeated team, and after beating SEC West champion Auburn in the Peach Bowl to improve to 13-0 on the year there are more than a few fans across the country wondering why this Knights team didn't have more of a chance to compete in the College Football Playoff.
That hasn't stopped UCF athletic director Danny White from declaring his football program to be this year's national champions, even planning a championship parade for the team back in Orlando. White has been on a publicity run since the end of the Peach Bowl, joining ESPN Radio on Tuesday to confirm a championship parade and make his case for UCF's consideration as the No. 1 team in the country.
"We've got a really mature group of young men who played 13 games and won them all. I think they deserve to be considered national champions," White said. "We're really proud of them.
"Hopefully, in the coming days, a lot more people will become believers as well. We feel like we're deserving of a national championship. By our research, there's been 36 different years where there have been multiple champions crowned in college football. There's been years where there were three or four champions crowned. ... There's going to be a CFP champion, but that doesn't mean that we're not a national champion."
As for the ranking of UCF during the season, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock responded to questions about the team's No. 12 ranking in the final top 25 from the CFP Selection Committee.
"The selection committee respected UCF," Hancock told ESPN on Tuesday. "After all, they're the group that put the Knights in the Peach Bowl. 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. UCF is an excellent team, but you still have to take into account who each team played and defeated during the regular season."
UCF played just one team from a Power Five conference this season, beating Maryland 38-10 on the road in September, but had another game scheduled against Georgia Tech that was canceled due to scheduling complications stemming from Hurricane Irma. UCF's best and only ranked win would still be its double overtime defeat of Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game, but that playoff profile could have been strengthened with a win over an ACC team.
Still, college football is a sport of opinions and its history is littered with arguments over claimed titles and shared No. 1 rankings. UCF's dream season will in no way be forgotten or belittled by the record books, but the official record of the fourth year in the College Football Playoff era will end with either Alabama or Georgia getting crowned as national champions on Monday night in Atlanta.