The undefeated University of Central Florida has earned a spot on New Year’s Day in the 50th Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl.
The No. 12 Knights (12-0) will face the SEC’s No. 7 Auburn Tigers (10-3) at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn fell out of the College Football Playoff projections after losing to Georgia 28-7 in the SEC Championship on Saturday; the Tigers rose through the ranks after battling Alabama, ending their perfect game streak.
UCF faced Memphis at Spectrum Stadium in the American Athletic Conference Championship in a double-overtime shootout. The matchup became the highest-scoring conference championship game in NCAA FBC history and totaled over 1400 yards for the No. 1 and No. 2 highest scoring offenses in the country.
It’s the second time the Knights have made it to a New Year’s Six Bowl in five years – the lauded 2013 season led to the defeat of No. 5 Baylor at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix. That year, UCF was ranked 15 against a No. 5 opponent. In 2017, the Knights are ranked No. 12 against a No. 7 opponent.
Scott Frost officially resigned as the Knights’ head coach after the AAC Championship and committed to Nebraska, his Alma Mater, to revive the Huskers’ program. Frost reportedly had cold-feet and expressed remorse over the days following the War On I-4 victory at home against USF – another thrilling game that drew 4.7 million viewers on Black Friday.
UCF Athletic Director Danny White addressed the media at Spectrum Stadium in a press conference later that night. White has conducted a national search for a new head coach to replace Frost; offensive coordinator Troy Walters will serve as interim coach until another coach has been found. White also stated that Frost and all of the original UCF Football staff will coach the Knights in their New Year’s Six Bowl game to give the team the greatest chance of victory. The new head coach will not be thrown into a New Year’s Six game for obvious reasons.
Frost, undoubtedly, had a much stronger connection to the UCF team than he ever thought possible. The resurrection from 0-12, to 6-6, to 12-0 came quicker than anyone thought possible – the achievement is the only of its kind in college football history.
The 2017 “dream team” will return for one last game, and it’s a big one.