If you’re going to go all in, go ALL in.
Not long after UCF knocked off Auburn, which beat College Football Playoff title game participants Alabama and Georgia, in the Peach Bowl to put the finishing touches on a perfect 13-0 season, the Group of Five program very loudly and very proudly proclaimed themselves as the national champions of the 2017 college football season despite being shut out of the playoffs. The school is putting its money where its mouth is with those claims, too, by paying national championship bonuses written into the assistant coaches’ contracts, even though those coaches are off to Nebraska along with head coach Scott Frost.
Monday night in Atlanta, the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide will square off to decide the official national champion. The day before, and about 450 miles to the south, the Knights will be celebrating its version of the national championship in the most Central Florida of ways — with a parade at Disney World Sunday afternoon.
Good for them. Embracing national championships that some don’t feel you deserve is a veritable cottage industry in college football, right Alabama? Correct, USC, Texas A&M and a handful of others? Hell, just this past summer, Oklahoma State put up signage on T. Boone Pickens Stadium to celebrate a national championship from the 1945 season that was retroactively awarded to it in 2016 — and despite the fact that the 1945 Army team is widely considered one of the greatest in college football history.
So, keep on being you, UCF. You’re simply following the path your Power Five counterparts have been blazing for decades.