It may not be the thing, but it’s still kind of a thing.
Late last month, a report surfaced that a bill that would allow for the creation and printing of Florida license plates in UCF colors and a UCF logo with the words “National Champions” inscribed across the bottom had been changed in committee, an indication that the subject may have been put to bed. Tuesday, however, the bill made it out of the state’s House of Representatives — appropriately enough, in light of the Knights’ perfect season, by a unanimous vote — and seemingly made it out with “National Champions” attached to it.
Not long after, though, it was further explained that the legislation, which is part of a larger overall transportation bill, would actually have as part of it a license plate that declares UCF as “Undefeated Champions.”
That certainly rings much truer than the previous claim as the Knights won all 13 of the games they played this past season and won the American Athletic Conference title. Before this is enacted, though, it must pass through the state Senate before Gov. Rick Scott could sign off on it.
The passage by the state’s House is just another headline for a football program that’s been making plenty of them on and off the field for months.
UCF kicked up quite the ruckus by very proudly and extremely loudly proclaiming themselves national champions after capping off a perfect 13-0 season by defeating Auburn, which beat both of the College Football Playoff game participants. The football program went so far as to pay its assistants, now at Nebraska after following head coach Scott Frost out the door, the title bonuses they were entitled to contractually, with Disney World throwing the team a championship parade, the NFL Pro Bowl feting their accomplishments and even the state’s legislature egging the movement on.
While most of the focus on the Sunday after the regular season is reserved to teams finding out their postseason destination, Virginia Tech took the time to focus on the future beyond the next month.
Hokies head coach Justin Fuente confirmed that the was staying in-house to find Bud Foster’s replacement as the program’s defensive coordinator, tapping safeties coach and former player Justin Hamilton for the role.
“Justin has earned this opportunity to lead our defense and our football team,” Fuente said in a statement. “Everyone in our program has a great deal of respect for him and his abilities. Coach Foster has reiterated to me on several occasions that Justin is ready for this next step in his coaching career. I feel the same way and am convinced he’s exactly the right fit for this role at Virginia Tech. Coach Hamilton is a talented coach and recruiter with a deep passion for both the game and Virginia Tech. He possesses a great knack for connecting with our players. His voice carries tremendous weight on the field and in the locker room because he’s worn that helmet and experienced many of the same things the young men in our program are going through.”
Hamilton returned to Blacksburg last year in an off the field role before joining the coaching staff. He was a player at a number of spots under Frank Beamer and Foster from 2002-05 before spending some time in the NFL. Hamilton’s coaching career began at Virginia Military Institute and Virginia-Wise from 2011-2017.
There had been plenty of speculation that Fuente would tap ex-Missouri head coach Barry Odom as DC after the two had the same arrangement together at Memphis but it appears those rumors did not bear fruit.
Fuente also confirmed that running backs coach Zohn Burden and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell will not return to the Virginia Tech coaching staff.
It’s a pretty good day for Isaiah Simmons.
The Clemson linebacker woke up Sunday as an ACC Champion, found out later he was going to the College Football Playoff as the No. 3 seed and was also was named the winner of the 2019 Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the country.
“Simmons is one of the most versatile athletes to play the linebacker position. He’s an exceptional athlete with unique length and makes plays at all three levels, with terrific rush ability, blitz timing, cover skill and tackling range. He’s a modern-day linebacker with special match-up skills. For as good of a football player as he is, he’s a better person and will represent the Butkus Award with class,” a release confirming the news said.
The Kansas native has 93 tackles, seven sacks, a fumble and two interceptions on the season.
Simmons beat out Cal’s Evan Weaver, Wisconsin’s Zach Baun, Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks and Penn State’s Micah Parsons for the award.
LSU linebacker and top 10 pick Devin White won the trophy last year.
The College Football Playoff is set, now it’s time for the rest of the postseason picture to shake out.
The CFP Selection Committee followed up the announcement of the Peach Bowl (No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma) and Fiesta Bowl (No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson) semifinals with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchups and there are some enticing games to take in over the coming month. Making some tough decisions and throwing in a handful of surprises, here’s the full lineup of the major bowl games:
College Football Playoff Semifinals — December 28, 2018
- Peach Bowl: No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma
4 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson
8 p.m. ET, ESPN
New Year’s Six
- Cotton Bowl: No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 17 Memphis
December 28, 2019, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Orange Bowl: No. 9 Florida vs. No. 24 Virginia
December 30, 2019, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Rose Bowl Game: No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
January 1, 2020, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN
- Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 7 Baylor
January 1, 2020, 8:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
The College Football Playoff National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, January 13, 2020. Kickoff in that one is slated for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La.
The Selection Committee also released their final set of rankings for the 2019 season. They will not release a top 25 after the bowl games — as that’s left for the AP and Coaches Poll — so the members on the committee are done with their duties this year. In what is sure to be a controversial ranking (or two) for some schools, here’s the order they put teams in:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Boise State
- Appalachian State
- Oklahoma State
South Carolina fans will soon be able to yell ‘Run the dang ball Bobo!’ next fall.
According to the Post and Courier, Will Muschamp is set to hire ex-Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo as the Gamecocks’ new offensive coordinator “barring a last-minute change of heart.”
Receivers coach Bryan McClendon is expected to remain on staff after serving as OC this past season while Bobo is likely to fill the role vacated by recently fired QB coach Dan Werner.
Bobo is no stranger to South Carolina or SEC fans, having spent eight seasons as the coordinator at his (and Muschamp’s) alma mater of Georgia. He won two conference titles and five division titles while with the Bulldogs and spent 15 years on staff in Athens.
The Rams and Bobo announced they had mutually parted ways after the end of the regular season last week after the head coach spent five seasons in Fort Collins.