Concept of football's National Championship continues to elude UCF
Let us preface the following: It sucks to be a non-major collegiate football program. The NCAA—an organization so corrupt you'd think Boss Tweed was running the show—and the College Football Playoffs are ridiculously tilted, and beholden, towards the big conferences, to the point it renders existence moot to those on the game's outskirts. It truly, sincerely does not matter what you do: if you're not in the "Power Five," you ain't getting to the semifinals. The setup is an abomination, and goes against the very principles of meritocracy inherent to sports.
Keeping that in mind, the University of Central Florida needs to calm the f--k down.
The Knights, if you recall, went undefeated this fall but were bypassed by the CFP committee in favor of four one-loss teams. So UCF faced against the Auburn Tigers, who had beat both Georgia and Alabama (the two squads that squared off in the National Championship Game), in the Peach Bowl. Despite entering as heavy underdogs, the Golden Knights dropped the hammer, knocking off the SEC powerhouse to finish as the only undefeated team in the college football. And that's when things went off the rails.
The AD, coaching staff and players referred to themselves as National Champions. A random rankings system called the Colley Matrix, which I'm pretty sure was a plot line in "Star Trek" or an elaborate joke by the Onion, recognized UCF as the National Champions. The school is hanging a "National Champions" banner at its stadium. The Orlando Sentinel ran a UCF "National Champions" headline, showing Fake News is alive and well. Florida lawmakers passed a resolution declaring UCF National Champions, and created license plates that said "UCF: National Champions." Which we get; given the current state of the Gators and Seminoles, might be the last title the Sunshine State gets for quite some time.
However, we believed, as the summer drew near, some sanity would eventually set in, and UCF would recognize Alabama, the team that actually won the National Championship, as, um, National Champions. We were wrong. So, so wrong:
At this point, let UCF dream. It can be the delusional 35-year-old who thinks he would've been All-State in high school if coach had just given him a chance. Those guys are mostly harmless. And, on the occasion they do get out of hand, merely ask to see their National Championship trophy. That should shut them up.