INDIANAPOLIS — Former Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough thinks UCF should’ve made the 2017 College Football Playoff, where Alabama would have beaten the Knights.
The Knights were major college football’s only unbeaten team, but they had to settle for a Peach Bowl bid. They beat Auburn in that game, while Alabama — which had one loss, to Auburn — made the Playoff as the No. 4 seed and then ran the table for another title.
SB Nation asked Scarbrough at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday for his view of the Knights’ self-proclaimed national championship. His response in full:
Congratulations to them on whatever they think. I’m proud of them. They had a perfect season. They were the only team to go undefeated. I will let them celebrate. They’re gonna celebrate. Congrats to them on a perfect season that no one had this year. I think they should’ve got an opportunity in the Playoff, because they didn’t lose a game, unlike any of these teams that had one loss. I still think they should’ve had an opportunity. But it is what it is. They had no control over it.
A reporter than asked Scarbrough how a Bama-UCF game would’ve gone.
“I’m very confident in my team, so I would say Alabama, we would’ve won.”
Technically, if UCF had made it in, Alabama would have likely been left out, but Scarbrough definitely isn’t suggesting who would have been left out here.
Title game participants have had varying views of UCF’s claim.
The two coaches didn’t seem to have a problem with the Knights claiming a title:
Here’s Alabama coach Nick Saban on UCF’s claim, at the national championship’s media day on Saturday, via transcription service ASAP Sports:
I’m fine with it. Doesn’t mean anything to anybody but them. I mean, I’m fine with it. I mean, they should be proud of the season they had. I know how hard it is for — we’ve only had one undefeated season, I think, in all the time I’ve been around. It’s a difficult accomplishment. I think when players accomplish that, they should feel good about what they’ve accomplished.
That’s nice and all, but the meat and potatoes of Saban’s response is, “Doesn’t mean anything to anybody but them.” You can only read that line and get the gist.
UGA’s Kirby Smart had less to say.
“How do you feel about UCF declaring themselves national champs?” a reporter asked him.
“I think that’s UCF’s opinion,” Smart replied. He also said, “If I was at UCF, I’d probably do the same thing.”
It hasn’t all been supportive, though — after the Knights were honored at the Pro Bowl in Orlando in January, Alabama running back Damien Harris wanted to know where the Knights’ trophy was:
These pictures are live! Where can i find one with y’all holding the trophy? https://t.co/eo4O6daenL— Damien Harris (@DHx34) January 29, 2018
i been silent for too long lol— Damien Harris (@DHx34) January 29, 2018
Harris was the leading rusher for Alabama in 2017, topping a backfield that included several other blue-chip runners. Harris finished with an even 1,000 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, plus a blocked punt, because Alabama is like that.
Alabama defensive end Isaiah Buggs got in on the fun, too:
Since y'all wanna be champs so bad y'all schedule BAMA then‼️‼️ https://t.co/jqcXVsc20f— Isaiah D. Buggs (@BigPooh_91) January 28, 2018
UCF then pointed out it wouldn’t have a problem facing Alabama. Some Knights fans even put a billboard up in Tuscaloosa asking for a home-and-home.
That’s what we’ve been saying... ♂️— 2017 National Champions (@UCF_Football) January 28, 2018
Aaaand Buggs also reminded UCF who has the actual trophy:
January 28, 2018
Fun bonus fact: UCF is 2-0 against both Alabama and Georgia in the 2000s, the two playing each other in 2000 and 2010. This obviously doesn’t have anything to do with 2017, but it’s a pretty fun footnote to add to UCF’s title claim!