By: Staff Reports | E-Mail: Click Here
Posted: Jan. 2, 2018 | 5:25 p.m.
The Prince George Journal of Prince George, Va., has named the University of Central Florida Knights national champions by virtue of their undefeated record and 34-27 Peach Bowl Victory over Auburn on Jan. 1.
The Journal is the first publication of record to name the Knights national champions, which flies in the face of the NCAA’s College Football Playoff system. Alabama and Georgia will square off in the National Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 8 in Atlanta.
However, due to Auburn’s regular season victories over both Alabama (12-1) and Georgia (13-1), and Central Florida’s subsequent victory over Auburn (10-4) to go along with a perfect 13-0 record, the editorial board at the Journal saw fit to declare the Knights national champions.
“With an undefeated record and a win over a top-10 team in the Peach Bowl, we were left no other choice but to name them national champs,” said Richard Ingram, President of Womack Publishing Company. “It’s a testament to the work they put in, and the chance they were never given by the Bowl Selection Committee.” Leading up to the game, UCF head coach Scott Frost mostly deflected questions regarding whether or not he felt his team deserved a chance to play in the College Football Playoff. After beating Auburn, he spoke up on behalf of his players.
“Going through the season, I was afraid to say much about the rankings and everything because I’m a little superstitious,” Frost told members of the media after the win. “And just when a coach starts running his mouth, that’s when you lose the next game. But it wasn’t right… [and now] we just beat a team that beat two playoff teams and lost to another one by six points and we beat them by seven.”
UCF sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton was electric during the game, accounting for 358 total yards and three total touchdowns. He also left no doubt as to whether he believed his team should be named national champions.
“I said on the podium, you can go ahead and cancel the playoffs,” Milton said. “I’m not changing my mind.”
“What more can we do?” said linebacker Shaquem Griffin. “We won all [our games], and I just feel that we should have had an opportunity to show our talents to any and every team that wants to go against us. There’s no more teams left for us to beat.”
Like the Knights, The Prince George Journal is upstart, and the leading publication in its market. It was purchased in March 2016 by Womack Publishing Co., and has thrived under new ownership.
“We see a little bit of ourselves in the Knights,” said Womack Publishing Company’s Director of Operations Chad Harrison.
When Scott Frost inherited the Knights in 2016, they were fresh off an 0-12 season. Just two short seasons later, the Knights sit atop the college football world. “I’m so happy for these guys,” Frost said. “I told them in the locker room, this was an 0-12 group when I got there, and they looked like they weren’t having any fun and didn’t care about each other. We had a long way to go, and to think that they are sitting here Peach Bowl champions and 13-0 in two years, I couldn’t be happier for them.”
Central Florida is planning a national championship parade, the details of which are to be released.