The New York Times published an article Wednesday defending the University of Central Florida’s claim to a college football national championship title.
UCF defeated Auburn 34-27 at the 50th Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day, giving the Knights a perfect 13-0 season.
Athletic Director Danny White was the first from the university to officially name UCF national champions. On the field, as players celebrated, White turned toward the camera and said “National Champs. Undefeated.” and walked away.
What seemed to start as a half-joke has turned into an all-out claim that the Knights are the best football team in the country. White has announced a championship parade at Walt Disney World Sunday, national championship banners for Spectrum Stadium, championship bonuses for coaches, and more.
President John C. Hitt congratulated the team on January 2: “Our undefeated, national championship Knights are an inspiration. They battled adversity, lit up scoreboards and created a defining moment for UCF: perfection. Congratulations.”
According to the Peter Wolfe Computer Rankings, an NCAA selector, the Knights can certainly stake their claim as champions as long as they remain at No. 1.
The foundation for the title, according to White, is that a laundry list of teams has taken the title of a national champion over the previous one hundred years. From the end of WWII to 1998, only five national titles were not claimed by more than one team.
White also spoke to ESPN staff writer Andrea Adelson “on the notion that Auburn was not motivated to play in the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl:” “Nobody’s asking the Auburns and Alabamas and Clemsons of the world, ‘Could they beat this team or that team,’ but they’re asking us to make these bold statements and then when we beat the team, there’s another excuse. There’s an incredibly biased rhetoric going on. It’s not true to sport. We don’t have it in any other sport in college, we don’t have it in any pro sport, where there’s a competitive imbalance. It doesn’t make any sense. That’s not what fans want. What’s special about college basketball is anybody can win the national championship and we need to arrive at that same place in football.”