The University of Central Florida Knights football team, cheerleaders and marching band are celebrated at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. The Orlando hometown team was honored in a special parade celebrating the KnightsÕ undefeated season. SundayÕs parade continues a Disney Parks tradition of honoring notable sports champions. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

UCF Knights Given National Championship Parade at Disney World

Who is the National Champion?

Although the College Football National Championship will be played on Monday in Atlanta, between Alabama and Georgia. Another school still feels that they are the true national champions. So much so that they are actually calling themselves national champions. The UCF Knights, who were the only team this year in Division I college football to go through the entire season undefeated, have done many things to celebrate their opinion that they are the national champs. They’ve ordered rings for their players and football staff, the football coaches will be getting paid a national championship bonus, they’ve ordered national championship banners, Monday they’ll have a celebratory block party in downtown Orlando, and they even had a national championship parade right at Disney World.

Now obviously the Knights aren’t actually National Champions, but they really do believe they are. The Knights feel that they weren’t given an opportunity to even compete for a national championship because of the college football playoff only having four teams. They feel that because they are members of the American Athletic Conference, a non-Power 5 conference, that they weren’t given the respect that they deserved. The Knights were ranked low the entire season and weren’t even considered to be in the college football playoff because of their lack of a “strong schedule”

The Peach Bowl, The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

The one game that pushed the Knights to believe that they were national champions was the win over Auburn in the Chick-Fil-A peach bowl on New Year’s Day. The Knights defeated a member of the SEC, Auburn with a final score of 34-27. Auburn defeated Georgia, and Alabama earlier in the season. This is why UCF believes they’re national champs because they beat Auburn in their bowl game.

UCF felt that their team deserved the opportunity. So, they still gave their team the national championship treatment. On Sunday, the Knights had a parade at Walt Disney World in Orlando, which isn’t too far from UCF’s campus. Right in front of Cinderella’s castle, thousands of UCF Fans came to celebrate the Cinderella team, who wasn’t invited to the big dance. Fans filled the park in Black and Gold while the players and staff were celebrated.

UCF Still the Team to Talk About

The national champion campaign was brought to the national stage mainly by UCF athletic director, Danny White. White has spoken on his team’s achievements and the unfairness of the college football playoff on ESPN, several different newspapers, and many other media outlets. Doing this has kept UCF in the public and has caused people to still talk about this team. “He’s used the platform to talk about the year UCF has had, the system he believes to not give this group a fair shake, and to answer questions for people saying to schedule tougher. He’s done that to sell the message” UCF play by play announcer Marc Daniels says.

It’s highly unlikely that a game will be scheduled after the actual national championship for UCF to play. But it is no question that UCF is a team that has really caused conversation and has highlighted the flaws in the college football playoff selections.

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