Alabama coach Nick Saban is not buying Central Florida’s claim that it won a national championship.
“I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it,” Saban said in a USA Today report Tuesday. “And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”
UCF gave its players national championship rings and had a parade to recognize its status as the only FBS team to finish the 2017 season undefeated.
Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime in what the College Football Playoff called the national championship game.
While Alabama finished the regular season with one loss and did not play in the Southeastern Conference title game, UCF finished the regular season 12-0. But the Knights were ranked only No. 12 by the College Football Playoff selection committee, leaving them out of the four-team playoff for the national title.
UCF then beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl, and since Auburn had handed Alabama its only loss, the Knights claimed a national title.
“We’ve only had one undefeated team, and that is really hard to do,” Saban said. “So I have a tremendous amount of respect for their team and what they were able to accomplish. And they can make every claim that they should have been in the Playoff. I get that.
“But we have a system, and it’s not fair to the people who went through the system and earned their way playing really, really good teams — I mean really good teams — and really tough games. It’s not quite fair to them for somebody else just to decide to (be a national champion).”