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Scott Frost: UCF ‘insulted’ by CFP, claims ‘concerted effort’ to keep Knights out

ATLANTA — Former UCF coach Scott Frost said Saturday that his team was “insulted” by its final No. 12 ranking from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

In what was at times a blistering attack on the system that left UCF out of the playoff, Nebraska’s new coach said there was a “concerted effort” to keep the Knights out of the top four.

Scott made these comments in Atlanta after accepting the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America on Saturday.

UCF finished as the only undefeated team in the FBS at 13-0.

“I didn’t want to talk about it during the season,” Frost said. “But I understand the argument of whether or not UCF should have been in the championship, but I know a lot of people in our program, myself included, felt insulted by the rankings.”

UCF started No. 18 in the CFP Rankings, rising only six spots. The Knights completed a 13-0 season last week defeating No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Speaking about the CFP Selection Committee, Frost added, “We have 12 judges in a room that may or may not know a lot about football that are making determinations. I’m not sure the system doesn’t need some [fixing].”

There are actually 13 members on the selection committee.

On several occasions, Frost referenced how, in Week 13, a three-loss Mississippi State had been ranked ahead of the unbeaten Knights.

“I don’t know whether our team deserved to be in the playoff or not,” Scott continued. “To us, it appeared like it was a concerted effort to keep us a reasonable distance away from the top four to avoid controversy.”

Frost said the Peach Bowl win over Auburn “removed that doubt” whether the Knights could play with the top teams in the country.

UCF led the country in scoring while beating three ranked teams along the way.

Earlier in the day, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and CFP executive director Bill Hancock both said the Knights should not have been considered for the top four.

“It all comes down to who you play,” Hancock told reporters.

The Knights didn’t play a ranked team until a Nov. 24 win over then-No. 22 South Florida.

Frost previously said it was “unfair” his team didn’t qualify for the playoff. That was after Frost left UCF for his alma mater, Nebraska, which finished 4-8. The Cornhuskers, of course, have better access than the Knights to the CFP.

“I don’t take anything away from a special season,” Sankey said. “And I would hope others wouldn’t take away from a national championship that’s earned through the system that we’ve all agreed to establish.”

After Frost left, UCF athletic director Danny White proclaimed the Knights national champions. White paid his coaches their national title bonuses. There are/will be parades, including one held Monday, the day of the Alabama-Georgia showdown in the actual College Football Playoff National Championship.

“I’m fine with it,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Saturday of UCF’s national championship assertion. “It doesn’t mean anything to anybody but them.”

Frost said he was glad White “started the conversation” regarding Group of Five schools, “but there are other conversations to be had.”

He said the fact the SEC and ACC play only eight conference games was unfair not only to only the likes of UCF but other Power Five conferences. Those two conferences play eight conference games. The Big 12, Big Ten and Big 12 risk more, Frost said, by playing nine conference games.

Frost added: “To me, this year more than any other year watching those rankings come out, seemed like opinions. I’m not a fan of sports where it’s a judgment. I used to watch gymnastics when I was young in the Olympics and somebody had a perfect routine. But the East German didn’t like it and gave them a 7.2.”

Frost questioned Alabama’s schedule, pointing out the Crimson Tide hadn’t played a true road nonconference game since 2011 at Penn State. To be fair, Alabama annually tests itself on a neutral field against a quality nonconference opponent.

Frost pointed out that Week 13 incongruity when Mississippi State, at 8-3, moved ahead of UCF “after a resounding 11-point win over UMass.”

As for the job he’ll do at Nebraska, Frost said, “There’s no reason kids should want to go to Ann Arbor and not Lincoln. It’s colder there.”

UCF finished the season beating three ranked teams. That’s two fewer than both CFP National Championship participants. Alabama and Georgia each played five.

UCF was denied a chance to play a Power Five opponent in 2017 when a nonconference game against Georgia Tech was cancelled due to a hurricane.

“The criteria for selection to College Football Playoff does not automatically include undefeated teams,” Sankey said. “If there were the circumstance, we’d have an entire different dynamic.”

Frost said: “We beat the team [Auburn] that beat the two teams playing for the championship. I know that one game isn’t going like through a whole season. But I hope this season with UCF starts a conversation where those teams should be ranked.”

UCF was the first undefeated FBS team not to play for a championship since 2009. That year, five teams finished the regular season undefeated. Cincinnati, Boise State and TCU were left out after Alabama and Texas were selected in the BCS.

How is White’s claim any different than both Alabama and Auburn — for starters — claiming championships?

Alabama claims 16 national championships. Only 11 of them are officially recognized in the wire service era (since 1936). Auburn claims at least five championships but has won only two in the wire-service era, 1957 and 2010.

Sankey echoed Hancock’s assertion that an upgraded schedule would have helped UCF.

“Two years ago, [the SEC] had two top 50 schools in basketball,” Sankey said. “We had three teams in the NCAA Tournament. One played in Dayton on Tuesday night and lost. We said, ‘You know what? We have to change. We put in scheduling policies.’ Now we have six of the top 25 teams.”

Tulane got on football’s unclaimed national championship train this week as well. The Green Wave claimed a title for its undefeated 1998 season. The school has begun selling championship T-shirts.  All is fair now. 

Dennis Dodd

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