Josh Heupel

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The last time the Oklahoma Sooners won the national championship…

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The Oklahoma Sooners have been to the College Football Playoff each of the past two seasons, but the search to end Oklahoma’s championship drought continues in 2019.  It’s been nearly two decades since Oklahoma last claimed the title of national champion, with the Sooners winning their first national title since 1985. Bob Stoops restored Oklahoma to their championship glory in his second season as head coach of the Sooners in 2000, and Oklahoma has been ticking ever since, albeit without another national title to brag about.

It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of national championship games we’ve seen, with Oklahoma defeating Florida State by a score of 13-2 in the Orange Bowl, but the Sooners would take it any way they could get it. The quarterback of that Oklahoma squad? Current UCF head coach Josh Heupel, of course.

Oklahoma’s current string of 18 consecutive seasons without a national championship is tied for the longest championship drought in program history since winning its first national title in 1950. Oklahoma’s previous 18-year drought ran between championship seasons in 1956 and 1975. Can Lincoln Riley and the high-powered Sooners offense keep things humming right along and add another national championship trophy to the collection?

Last National Title Season: 2000 (19 years and counting)

Who was President?

Oh, what a doozy this year was for American politics. Bill Clinton was in his final year in the White House at the end of his second term. His Vice President, Al Gore, ran for the office in the 2000 election, only to lose the Republican George W. Bush. Although Gore won the popular vote in the United States, Bush was declared the winner in the electoral college after the results of the election hung in the balance in the state of Florida. Oh yes, there were hanging chads to determine the winner of Florida’s electoral votes. Bush edged Gore by five electoral votes, 271-266.

Someone else who briefly ran for president in 2000? That would be current president Donald J. Trump. Trump’s brief campaign came to an end in February of 2000. He would, of course, give it another try later on.

What was on TV?

Reality competition took the airwaves in a big way in 2000 with the introduction of “Survivor,” the top-rated television show in 2000. Regis Philbin was asking contestants of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in its second year on the air and still widely popular, leaving many to ask “Is that your final answer” in everyday situations.

Monica was proposing to Chandler on “Friends” and “ER” was still bringing in top ratings for NBC’s Must See TV lineup in a post-Seinfeld world. But this was the final year you could watch a baseball game on NBC. The network chose not to renew its broadcast deal with Major League Baseball.

What movies were hot?

Are you not entertained? Russell Crowe took on the role of Maximus Decimus Meridius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and he would have his vengeance in this life or the next, in the blockbuster hit Gladiator.” Topping it at the box office was impossible for nearly every film, but Tom Cruise did just that with Mission: Impossible 2. We also saw Tom Hanks talking to his volleyball friend Wilson in Cast Away and Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro teamed up in Meet the Parents.

Of course, one of the best football movies also hit theaters with Remember the Titans.

Who was on the cover of NCAA Football?

NCAA Football 2001 - Shaun AlexanderAlabama running back Shaun Alexander landed on the cover of “NCAA Football 2001,” available exclusively on the Sony PlayStation. This was the first time the ability to create your own player was included in the game, along with the option to create your own school and even your own league. Not only that, but you could play an actual playoff in the game’s dynasty mode with spots for up to 24 teams. The playoff mode never appeared in the franchise again.

The year 2000 also saw the introduction of the PlayStation 2, although the NCAA Football franchise would have to make the leap to the next generation console in 2001 with “NCAA Football 2002.” In the meantime, gamers were probably getting hooked on “The Sims” on PC, “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” on the Nintendo 64 or “Jet Set Radio” on the SEGA Dreamcast.

What else happened in 2000?

The year started with the St. Louis Rams hanging on to beat the Tennessee Titans in the Super Bowl. It was the first Super Bowl victory for head coach Dick Vermeil, and the Titans have not come as close to a Super Bowl victory as they did that day. Also earlier in the calendar year of 2000, capping the 1999 college football season, Florida State topped Mike Vick and Virginia Tech for the national championship game.

The Roger Clemens and the New York Yankees defeated Mike Piazza and the New York Mets in the World Series, dubbed the Subway Series. The staredown between those two remains one of the fall classic’s more bizarre and intense moments of the 21st century. It was the third straight World Series championship for Derek Jeter and the Bronz Bombers.

The Los Angeles Lakers won their first NBA title in 12 years by topping the Indiana Pacers in six games. The Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant era would go on to win two more titles for a three-peat. Team USA won the gold medal at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia with a roster consisting of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, and Gary Payton. The highlight of the tournament, however, was Vince Carter dunking on France.

Tiger Woods was at the top of his game in 2000 with victories in the U.S. Open by 15 shots, the British open to complete a career grand slam at -19, and the PGA Championship with a to-par record of -18.

Zion Williamson, who was just drafted No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft, was born.

Current head coach Lincoln Riley was playing quarterback for Mike Leach at Texas Tech. Future Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was in junior high school.

America Online, purchased Time Warner for $162 billion, and some people were still using dial-up to access their AOL email.

The final “Peanuts” comic strip was printed a day after the death of comic strip artist Charles Schultz.

Close calls

Oklahoma has had multiple chances to add another national championship to their program’s history since winning it all in the 2000 season. In 2003, the Sooners ended the year ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings, but Nick Saban and No. 2 LSU won the 2004 Sugar Bowl for the national championship (which was technically split after USC was named the national champions by the Associated Press). Oklahoma returned to the BCS championship game the following season but were no match for No. 1 USC, with the Trojans thrashing the Sooners 55-19 in the Orange Bowl for the BCS title.

No. 1 Oklahoma reached another BCS Championship Game in 2008 but Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and company ran into a buzz saw with Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators. Oklahoma has since made three appearances in the College Football Playoff, but they have yet to win a game. The Sooners have lost semi-final matchups against Clemson (2015), Georgia (2017) and Alabama (2018) despite having a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback each of the past two seasons (Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray).

No team has come so close to adding so many national titles in the 21st century without getting across the finish line as Oklahoma. Will the ball bounce their way again soon?

UCF started game at East Carolina without McKenzie Milton

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UCF starting quarterback McKenzie Milton did not start Saturday night’s road game at East Carolina, but the reason why is anybody’s guess at this point.

Milton did have a banged-up ankle after last week’s win at Memphis, but Milton has been shown on the sideline with his helmet, seemingly ready to go in at any moment. As of this point, with East Carolina and the Knights 3-3 in the second quarter, UCF head coach Josh Heupel has not sent in one of the top players in the AAC.

Darriel Mack Jr. started the game at quarterback for UCF, and he has looked shaky at times. He completed five of his first 10 passes for 26 yards and had trouble making a handoff on one play.

We’ll see if Milton gets a chance to come on the field and lead UCF to a win, which would be UCF’s 20th straight win. Maybe Heupel is trying to get a win without putting his MVP in harm’s way?

No. 21 UCF routs UConn behind McKenzie Milton’s 5 TDs

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No. 21 UCF (1-0, 1-0 AAC) had little trouble turning the page on a new season with a new head coach. Quarterback Mckenzie Milton opened the season by throwing for 346 yards and five touchdowns as the defending AAC champions blasted UConn (0-1, 0-1 AAC) by a score of 56-17 on Thursday night.

UCF head coach Josh Heupel saw his team score two touchdowns in each quarter to earn his first head coaching victory as the Huskies were simply no match for the Knights. UCF’s offense rolled up over 600 yards on their hosts, including 272 yards on the ground as a team.

UConn quarterback David Pindell was intercepted once, but had a solid enough effort to suggest he could be a fun player to watch this season. Pindell completed 27-of-41 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown and he rushed for 157 yards and a score. Pindell will likely be picking up some big numbers as the season continues, and not every opponent UConn faces will be as stacked as UCF.

UCF wide receiver Tre Nixon caught five passes from Milton for 101 yards and two scores. In all, 10 UCF players caught a pass from either Milton or backup Darriel Mack Jr.

UCF’s defense did give up 486 yards, but the Knights also forced three turnovers while the offense never let go of the football.

The game actually got started on a somber note, when UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson was injured on the opening kickoff of the game. He was attended to by medics and trainers on the field for about 10 minutes before being carted off on a stretcher. There has been no update on his status, but he did have motion in his legs and gave a thumbs up as he came off the field on the cart.

UCF will play their home opener next week with a game against FCS South Carolina State. UConn will be on the road in Week 2 to take on another Group of Five heavyweight, No. 22 Boise State.

UCF is claiming a national title and paying coaches their bonuses

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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?

Report: Josh Heupel bringing Glen Elarbee with him to UCF

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Looks like Josh Heupel is sticking with some familiar faces as he gets himself settled in Orlando. As the new head coach of the Knights puts together his coaching staff, it appears he will be bringing another member of the Missouri coaching staff with him. According to a report from Gabe DeArmond, offensive line coach Glen Elarbee will be heading to UCF to coach an unconfirmed position.

A similar report from Football Scoop suggested the same, and it also held off on reporting Elarbee will be the offensive coordinator.

Either way, a coach getting a new head coaching job often lends to surrounding himself with coaches he is both familiar with and brings experience to the table. Elarbee checks both of those boxes off for Heupel as he moves to UCF to be the head coach.