The UCF Knights, the proud owners of the nation’s longest winning streak with 20-straight victories, will be the first to tell you all about it. Fans will fly banners at other team’s games and the program’s social media team will likely go on some sort of rant about disrespect. The problem is not everyone is buying what the football team is selling.
The leader of that pack might be ESPN College GameDay star Kirk Herbstreit, who is no stranger for putting fans in their place or telling it how it is. So when the topic of UCF and the College Football Playoff came up last Saturday at the epic show in Pullman, Washington, the college football analyst did not hold back.
Wait just one minute. Did Herbstreit really think teams such as Appalachian State and Fresno State have a better argument than the UCF Knights? You better believe it.
“This argument needs to stop being just about UCF,” Herbstreit explained. “I’m a big believer that if you play people — like Boise State used to do — you should be rewarded for that. Why are we focusing on just UCF when it comes to the Power 5? Because I think there are other teams out there that are as deserving or more deserving. You need to play somebody in order to be rewarded. UCF, you need to not just be worried about being undefeated and trying to get in the top four, you need to look behind you at teams like Utah State, Appalachian State, Fresno State. These teams, on paper … are better than UCF and more deserving than UCF.”
But there is more. Oh, there is so much more.
After the rant, and the Knights took down East Carolina 37-10, UCF athletics director Danny White decided to write a letter to the College GameDay crew wanting to fix the “broken” CFP system and posted it to Twitter of all places.
Then, of course, after a few hundred comments, White posted something else Monday.
But that’s not all, either. On The Hot Route podcast, Herbstreit absolutely mic drops UCF and White for scheduling once again.
“The thing, at times, that kind of tweaks me and a lot of other people about UCF is they act as if they are the first Group of Five team to come around looking for respect…. If I was UCF and their AD, instead of sending out tweets, I would probably focus more on scheduling and trying to get some big-time opponents that would be willing to play me. If you do that, and you win, that’s how you’re going to build that brand up and that’s how you are going to, all of a sudden, get up into the top five, top six, and have an argument.” — ESPN college football analyst Kirk Hebstreit
No matter how good UCF claims it is, it’s impossible to know without seeing a larger sample size of big games. Not everyone can pick their conference, but they can make something else work instead of clamoring that a big bowl win with over a month of prep time is what makes them deserving of more recognition.
It didn’t really work for Boise State early on. It’s not working again now.
Perhaps it’s time UCF takes a seat for minute, enjoys the ride, and realizes the streak is impressive, but hardly the best thing in college football, or even the Sunshine State, right now.