After two undefeated regular seasons, UCF now has another achievement unlocked. The Knights have sold out their tickets for the 2019 football season.
UCF Athletics Director Danny White shared the positive news with a message on Twitter on Monday. As he noted, the only tickets expected to be available this season will be any returned tickets from visiting teams unable to fill their ticket shares for road trips to Orlando.
The recent success of the UCF program has certainly kept fans around the program energized and thirsty for more. There are a few notable games being played in Orlando this year, as well as a few relative duds. The home schedule for UCF this season is highlighted by a non-conference visit from Stanford in Week 2 and key AAC games against Houston (Nov. 2) in what could be a potential preview of the AAC Championship Game, and rival USF on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
UCF’s home schedule also includes Florida A&M, UConn, and East Carolina. If things go as UCF fans are expecting, the Knights will also get a chance to host the AAC Championship Game for a third consecutive season, although those tickets will be sold separately.
In 2018, UCF had the second-largest average attendance increase from 2017, trialing only Northwestern. The Knights saw an increase of 7,173 fans per game compared to 2017. UCF averaged 44,019 fans per home game in 2018. According to the always-reliable Wikipedia, Spectrum Field, the football home to UCF, has a seating capacity of 44,206.
UCF polished off an undefeated season by topping Auburn in the Peach Bowl on January 1, and the Knights are not content with just saying they went undefeated. UCF made it clear today they are declaring themselves to be national champions, and they don’t care what you think about it.
Inspired by comments from UCF officials following UCF’s Peach Bowl victory, UCF rolled out a graphic claiming the 2017 season to be a national championship season as the only undefeated team in FBS college football this season, which is true. UCF also defeated the same Auburn team that handed both of Monday night’s national title game participants, Alabama and Georgia, their only losses of the 2017 season. Naturally, this has led to some suggesting UCF is worthy of at least a split national championship this season.
UCF is also reportedly set to fly a national championship banner as they show off their championship effort from this season. Despite an onslaught of criticism online, UCF has taken it all in stride and will continue to do so.
When the question of whether UCF was backing up this national title claim by paying the coaching staff their bonuses for such an achievement, UCF Athletics Director Danny White said “Of course we are!”
On a related note, new UCF head coach Josh Heupel is all in on UCF claiming a national championship, and he’s looking to roll with it moving forward.
Say what you will about UCF’s national championship claim. You can choose to accept and honor it or not. College football is littered with multiple claimed national championships throughout the years, and somehow the world continues to spin. If UCF wants to claim a national championship, wave a championship banner and sell some championship merchandise, who are you to stand in the way?
This has been a somewhat busy season for college football for a handful of the nation’s top programs trying to reach the College Football Playoff. With both of the top two teams in the country taking their first loss over the Thanksgiving weekend and some shuffling in the rankings, the College Football Playoff selection committee continues to not give UCF much of a chance to climb higher in the rankings unless they are forced to bump the undefeated Knights up a spot or two.
This week, UCF came in at No. 14 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, moving up one spot from the previous week following a thrilling victory over USF. The Knights have managed to move up four spots since the initial playoff rankings were revealed in Week 9. After seeing UCF only manage to move up to No. 14 while two teams from the Pac-12 with a combined five losses moved ahead of them (Stanford went from No. 21 to No. 12 and Washington climbed from No. 17 to No. 13), UCF Athletics Director Danny White shared his reaction with his Twitter followers.
White later went a little deeper and defended UCF rival South Florida, suggesting the Bulls should be ranked in the top 25 as well. White also suggested the committee is not properly evaluating the American Athletic Conference.
The reality of this system has been crystal clear since the day it was born. A Group of Five conference champion can go undefeated, but this is a system that favors the power conferences and allows for more for errors. Life in the Group of Five will only be likely to yield the one reserve spot in a big bowl game. That’s how the system has been organized.
UCF is still a really good and fun team, and a No. 14 ranking is a testament to that. And they might even beat a couple of teams currently ranked ahead of them if given the opportunity.
Arizona State has announced the addition of former Sun Devils quarterback Danny White to the staff as a consultant. White, who previously played football for the Dallas Cowboys, returns to the program to help out as an ambassador for the program he once played a key role in building. It also seems to be a thrill for head coach Todd Graham.
“As a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan Danny White has always been one of my heroes,” Graham said in a released statement. “He is one of the finest persons I have ever met. What he brings to our program and what he can do to make a difference in our player’s lives is something I am looking forward to. He will be tremendous for us.”
White played quarterback for the Arizona State program from 1971 through 1973 and played a role in leading the team to a 32-4 record, three WAC championships and victories in the first three Fiesta Bowls in the bowl game’s existence. This all helped pave the way to receiving an invite to join the Pac-8, along with Arizona, to former the Pac-10. White will not have any direct coaching responsibilities with the program but will assist with prep work and handle other responsibilities to represent the program in front of potential donors.
In addition to the White announcement, Arizona State also announced the addition of former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen. Christensen is taking on a non-coaching consultant role with the program, bringing with him 35 years of coaching experience as a head coach and assistant.
“Dave Christensen brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience in college football to our program,” Graham said. “He’s been a part of championships and that will be invaluable to our program.”