UCF might not have gotten a chance to play in the College Football Playoff this season, but that isn't deterring its athletic director from claiming a title anyway. Danny White, who has criticized the playoff selection committee for not respecting the American Athletic Conference in the past, looked into a camera after UCF's Peach Bowl win and said "national champs. Undefeated."
It was a succinct, but pointed message.
UCF was 12-0 in the regular season, and ranked No. 12 by the CFP heading into its New Year's Day Peach Bowl showdown with No. 7 Auburn. UCF went on to . Auburn was in the red zone at the end of the game with a chance to tie it up, but quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw an interception on an errant, hurried pass to give UCF an exclamation point on its victory.
The committee, of course, ultimately gave Alabama the nod as the No. 4 team in the country, despite losing to Auburn and not playing in its conference title game. UCF was hardly in the playoff conversation all year as they didn't reach even the No. 12 spot before the final rankings were released. It's unlikely that under the current system we'll have a Group of 5 team become a bracket buster, and if the CFP is reworked in the near future, that may be something that the powers that be look into.
However, for White, it's simple. He believes that UCF deserved a bid for the championship. With Scott Frost leaving for Nebraska after this year, the state of UCF football may be in limbo for the moment, but it's a tremendously talented team. The CFP will always be controversial, and situations like this may continue to arise. For now, UCF can hang its hat on an extremely impressive Peach Bowl win to ring in 2018. And as for White, he can claim UCF as National Champions -- even if it won't be recognized as such --because what it did this year was incredibly impressive.