UCF Football in Elite Company

2017 AAC Championship Celebration
There was much to celebrate for the UCF Knights in 2017.

By Eddie Melville

In recent memory, there have been few football teams as impressive or polarizing as the 2017 UCF Knights.  If you believe the Knights are the 2017 National Champions, you have a lot of  people in your camp.  While UCF was not invited to the College Football Playoff, the team was the only undefeated squad in college football, finishing the season 13-0 with an impressive Peach Bowl victory over the #7 school in the CFP rankings, the Auburn Tigers.  This was the same Auburn squad that just so happened to hand CFP Final winner Alabama their only loss of the season; therefore, UCF athletic director Danny White held back no punches and outright claimed the National Championship for UCF.  Many renowned columnists followed suit and even the lesser known yet nationally recognized Colley Matrix Rankings proclaimed the Knights to be the number 1 college football team in America.  The argument for UCF as the true #1 team has not been without controversy though.  SEC elitists like Paul Finebaum have more or less shouted, “how dare you! Know your place, UCF!”  Other football analysts, personalities, and fans have laughed it off, made fun of it, and argued their opinions of why the Knights not only aren’t number 1, but would get destroyed if they played a “real schedule.”  All in all, it has made for a wild beginning of 2018 and a controversial end to the 2017 college football season for Knight Nation.

Shifting focus to one of the major polls: like many UCF fans, when I saw that the Knights were ranked 6th in the Associated Press (AP) Poll with 4 first place votes and 7th in the Coaches Poll, I had mixed emotions.  On one hand, I thought to myself, “This is awesome! It’s our best rankings ever in the major polls and even higher than I expected. And first place votes in the AP? Wow! We’ve made true believers out of some people!”  On the other hand, I thought to myself, “Undefeated and no better than 6? And 7th in the Coaches Poll? We deserve to be in the top 5 at minimum!”  While I still believe UCF deserves to be higher, I know none of us could change the perception of the coaches or members of the press who voted in these nationally recognized polls.   Therefore, I ultimately wanted to soak in these rankings, particularly the AP Poll.  To do so, I decided to do a little bit of homework to see where a #6 finish with 4 first place votes and two Top 10 finishes in 5 years places UCF in comparison to the rest of college football, especially since the program has only been in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) since 1996. So without further adieu, here’s some interesting numbers as specifically relates to the AP Poll…

  • Starting with the 1996 College Football Season:
    • 13 schools have finished #1 in the AP Poll
    • 20 schools have received #1 votes in the AP Poll (Alabama, Auburn, Boise State, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Kansas, LSU, Michigan, Miami, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, UCF, USC, Utah
  • 19 teams from Power 5 Conferences to have NOT finished in the Top 10 of the AP Poll since 1996
    • ACC (Boston College, Duke, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest)
    • Big 10 (Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers)
    • Big 12 (Iowa State, Texas Tech)
    • Pac-12 (None–all teams currently in the Pac-12 have finished in AP Top 10 at least once)
    • SEC (Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt)
  • Last Top 10 finish for the following notable programs
    • Boise State (2011)
    • Louisville (2006)
    • Nebraska (2001)
    • Notre Dame (2012)
    • Oklahoma State (2011)
    • Oregon State (2000)
    • Texas (2009)
    • Virginia Tech (2009)
  • 17 schools have played in the “championship game” (BCS National Championship Game from 1998 to 2013, College Football Playoff Final from 2014 to present)
    • ACC
      • Florida State (4 appearances, 2-2 record)
      • Clemson (2 appearances, 1-1 record)
    • Big 10
      • Ohio State (4 appearances, 2-2 record)
    • Big 12
      • Oklahoma (4 appearances, 1-3 record)
      • Texas (2 appearances, 1-1 record)
      • Nebraska (1 appearance, 0-1 record)
    • Pac-12
      • USC (2 appearances, 1-1 record)
      • Oregon (2 appearances, 0-2 record)
    • SEC
      • Alabama (6 appearances, 5-1 record)
      • LSU (3 appearances, 2-1 record)
      • Florida (2 appearances, 2-0 record)
      • Auburn (2 appearances, 1-1 record)
      • Tennessee (1 appearance, 1-0 record)
      • Georgia (1 appearance, 0-1 record)
    • Big East (re-alignment resulted in its reorganization after 2012 season)
      • Miami (2 appearances, 1-1 record)
      • Virginia Tech (1 appearance, 0-1 record)
    • Independent
      • Notre Dame (1 appearance, 0-1 record)
  • Teams that finished in the AP Top 10 at least twice since 2013
    • Alabama (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
    • Auburn (2013, 2017)
    • Clemson (2015, 2016, 2017)
    • Florida State (2013, 2014, 2016)
    • Georgia (2014, 2016)
    • Michigan State (2013, 2014, 2015)
    • Oklahoma (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
    • Ohio State (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
    • Oregon (2013, 2014)
    • Penn State (2016, 2017)
    • TCU (2014, 2015, 2017)
    • UCF (2013, 2017)
    • Wisconsin (2016, 2017)
  • Within the state of Florida, starting with the 2013 season
    • Florida State Seminoles
      • Went undefeated to finish #1 in 2013 and in the Top 10 in 2014 and 2016
    • UCF Knights
      • Finished #10 in 2013 and went undefeated to finish #6 in 2017, the first team to finish undefeated since 2013 FSU
    • Florida Gators
      • no Top 10 finishes; last finished in Top 10 in 2012 (#9)
    • Miami Hurricanes
      • no Top 10 finishes; last finished in Top 10 in 2003 while a member of the Big East (#5)
    • South Florida Cows
      • zero Top 10 finishes, zero conference championships, zero trophies outside of bowl games, period!
  • 2017 UCF Knights (13-0)
    • own 1 of 22 undefeated seasons by a FBS school since 1996
    • are the 1st school to go undefeated in the CFP era (2014 to present)
    • won 4 games over teams ranked in the final AP Poll
      • #10 Auburn
      • #21 South Florida
      • #25 Memphis (twice)

If you can’t tell by now, UCF Football can no longer be discounted.  The best accomplishments  of the Knights are on par or better than the majority of college football  in the last 21 years.  Simply put, UCF is in elite company, ahead of most programs in the country despite going up against history, pedigree, bigger pockets, and a college football playoff system meant for them to fail.  As the finances for the UCF football program continue to increase and the team continues to win big games, one can only come to the conclusion that this is just the beginning of #RiseAndConquer and #ChargeOn.  The raucous black-and-gold fanbase will only increase, stadiums will continue to shake as Zombie Nation screams through the speakers, phone lights will turn dark places starry, and the Knights on the field will shine!

UCF wins the Peach Bowl and NFL Wild Card Week Coverage! (Ep. 26)

Heinz Field

On this Episode, Eddie and I recap our NCAA bowl picks, cover a bit about UCF, and dive into the NFL Wild Card Weekend that just happened!

Notable Timestamps:

  • Bowl pick recap – 3:00
  • Stud and Scrub of the Week – 6:57
  • UCF recap – 13:26
  • NFL Wildcard – 34:30

NFL Playoff Predictions

Bills Stadium
Circle the wagons Buffalo! The Bills are back in the playoffs!

Below are Eddie Melville and Travis Kilpatrick’s NFL Playoff Predictions:

Eddie Playoff Round Travis
Chiefs over Titans AFC Wild Card Chiefs over Titans
Jaguars over Bills AFC Wild Card Jaguars overs Bills
Falcons over Rams NFC Wild Card Rams over Falcons
Saints over Panthers NFC Wild Card Panthers over Saints
Patriots over Chiefs AFC Divisional Patriots over Chiefs
Steelers over Jaguars AFC Divisional Jaguars overs Steelers
Eagles over Falcons NFC Divisional Panthers over Eagles
Saints over Vikings NFC Divisional Vikings over Rams
Patriots over Steelers AFC Championship Patriots over Jaguars
Saints over Eagles NFC Championship Vikings over Panthers
Saints over Patriots Super Bowl Vikings over Patriots

 

How should UCF and the NCAA handle UCF’s undefeated season?

Scoreboard-Stats, Frost, Trophy

By: Travis Kilpatrick

How should UCF and the NCAA handle UCF’s undefeated season?

On Monday night January 8th, the CFP National Championship will be played in Atlanta between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs and the winner will be crowned by the NCAA as National Champions of college football. However, there is a large group of people (mostly centralized in Orlando, Florida) that believe the National Champion was already decided in that same stadium one week earlier. On January 1st in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl the UCF Knights beat the Auburn Tigers 34-27 to cap off the only undefeated season in D-1 college football, and UCF nation and UCF athletic director Danny White are calling the Knights the true National Champion. So how should those two entities handle this historic season that UCF had? Here is one writer’s opinion on the matter.

How should UCF handle it?

Let me preface this section by stating that I am a UCF alumnus and 100% devoted to my UCF Knights on and off the field. I love everything about the school and would choose it over and over again if I had to. However, I will also say that I do not fully agree with the position that athletic director Danny White as well as many fans have taken on handling this situation.

I believe that UCF is among the best teams in the nation this season and would have a realistic shot of winning if given the opportunity to play the winner of Alabama vs. Georgia. I will stand my ground against any doubter that says that we haven’t played anybody of worth or that Auburn wasn’t motivated for the Peach Bowl. But with that being said, I do not believe that Danny White and the fans should be dying on the “We are the true National Champions” hill that they seem to be dying on. The system is flawed, that is for sure, and proclaiming that we could potentially be the best team in the nation but nobody gave us a chance is very much warranted. However, I do not think we should make a claim to the National Championship at all. I think it gives an air of validity to the description that the NCAA has given it.

Our play on the field and the fact that we are the lone unbeaten team in the FBS speaks volumes about our team and the quality of product that we put on the field every week. Especially considering the fact that Hurricane Irma tried to destroy our season before it even really got started. I personally do not want to be considered the champion by the NCAA in it’s current system. I want to stand true to the fact that I believe the system is flawed and that we are actually better than the system itself. I want to use this as a platform to promote the little guy. The 2006 Boise States, the 2008 Utahs, the 2010 TCUs. Not to mention the Power 5 conference teams that have had an argument for National Champion as well. I will be buying shirts that say “Only unbeaten team” but I will not be buying a “National Champion” shirt. I believe that makes us look like we are being sore losers and complaining that the NCAA won’t call us National Champions when, in reality, we are not National Champions based on the system that is in place.

We don’t need to attack the CFP committee or the team that wins the CFP National Championship game on Monday; we need to attack the system.

On the flip side of that, I defend the goal behind Danny White’s National Champion strategy. If I were there, I would absolutely attend the parade. Not sure about the banner unveiling. I just want to make sure that his purpose behind the claims is not “We got screwed by the NCAA” but rather “This system needs to be changed”. We may never go undefeated again, but someone in the G5 will, and we need to fight for them as passionately as we are currently fighting for ourselves.

How should the NCAA handle it?

I believe the NCAA is in a much tougher position than the fans of UCF. It’s not as easy for them to say that the system that they have in place isn’t perfect, even when everyone knows that is that case. I think a solution that could work is handing UCF the end of season AP #1 and having them and the winner of the CFP National Championship game be Co-National Champions while they work on a system that can work for the future. That way each school can argue until their head falls off who the better team is but the NCAA will have acknowledged that the system is wrong and that there is no real way to tell which team was truly better this season.

That solution will not happen since it would be ridiculous to jump UCF over all of those other teams that won their respective bowl games, but it would only be a band-aid fix even if they did choose that route. Their real mission moving forward needs to be creating a better system for finding a true National Champion instead of a money generating National Champion. I have a few methods that could potentially work.

My co-host on the podcast Eddie Melville and I have spoken at length about our plan for an 8-team playoff. It would include the five P5 champs, the highest ranked G5 school and two wild card teams chosen by the committee. While it would still have some problems given that there is still the subjectivity of who the committee ranks as the top G5 school and which two teams are put in as wild cards, it would solve the problems of conference championships not meaning anything as well as the G5 being left out completely. It would also be the easiest to install since the committee could stay the same and it would only add one more game to the postseason for the two championship teams. I feel like that is the best current fix as far as playoff systems are concerned.

I have also heard points being made about a 12-team playoff that would include all P5 and G5 conference champions so that it means something in every conference to win your conference championship and then two wild cards. I like this idea aside from the fact that it would cause controversies with the four byes and just seems like it would be more of a headache to install than the 8-team playoff.

Another thing that I think the NCAA needs to install in order to try to fix some of the strength of schedule arguments is force the best P5 teams to play G5 champions. It’s no secret that teams such as Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma do not want to play good G5 teams because they stand to lose much more than they stand to gain. If the NCAA forced the P5 regular season champs to keep a schedule spot open and make them play a G5 regular season champ it would allow for many more opportunities for the G5 schools to prove their worth against actual talent instead of having to settle for the Marylands and UNCs of the world. For example, this year Georgia, USC, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Clemson would be required to keep a spot on their schedule open for one opponent between UCF, FAU, Toledo, Fresno State, and Troy. There could be a rotating yearly schedule for which G5 conference plays which P5 conference so there is no arguing that one conference always gets the toughest games. It would not be a perfect solution but it would at least give the G5 schools something to look forward to every year so that they don’t feel like they are just the redheaded stepchild when it comes to scheduling.

Is there a perfect solution? No, of course there isn’t. 68 teams make the NCAA basketball tournament and some teams still complain that they were left out. There will always be someone being left out and someone making excuses for why they lost a game that they feel like they shouldn’t have lost. That’s the nature of competition. It’s what we all live for. It’s the reason why College Football is so great.

This post is the opinion of one man and sure to bring controversary from the readers, and if you’ve read along this far then I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please comment on this post or write us an email at noscrubsports@gmail.com with your opinions. Thanks for reading and, as always, be a stud not a scrub!

Stud and Scrub of the Year!!! (Ep. 25)

KYX UCF

In our last episode of 2017, Eddie and I discuss many different things including Stud and Scrub of the Year for 2017 and a preview for the Peach Bowl.

Notable Time Stamps:

Bowl Prediction recap: 9:28
Stud and scrub of week: 13:34
Stud and scrub of year: 22:46
Scrub of the year Honorable Mentions: 40:52
Peach Bowl Preview: 54:18