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UCF Knights

Bama’s Saban on UCF- “Self-proclaimed not same as actually earned”

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For months now, UCF has continued the ridiculous assertion that they should be referred to as “National Champions.” This included hoisting a flag in Spectrum Stadium and also issuing “championship” rings to former coaches and players on the 2017 team.

One huge problem? UCF didn’t win the “championship” in anything.

They won the Peach Bowl against a two loss Auburn team that Georgia clobbered in their previous game, the SEC Championship. Yes, they won the Peach Bowl. Yes, they finished 13-0, and had they wanted to print up tee shirts and fly a flag signifying or bragging about those things, no one could quarrel.

We even wrote last week that former head coach Scott Frost, who left for Nebraska, has grown weary of the champions debate.

Now, continuing to figuratively drive through the neighborhood with a giant megaphone like Jake and Elwood Blues announcing their pending concert in 1980’s “The Blues Brothers,” has turned virtually everyone outside of Orlando against them.

And on Tuesday afternoon, the actual National Champions head coach, Nick Saban of Alabama spoke to USA Today and spoke for most of the college football world. He made it clear, the Tide are the champs and UCF’s self back patting should cease.

Saban told George Schroder, “If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn’t do something out of respect for the system that we have,” Saban told USA TODAY Sports. “I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

Yes, that sums it up pretty well.

UCF and it’s conference, the American, both agreed to the system that is in place and the boatload of money that goes to conferences and specific teams who play in “New Year’s Six” bowl games and the College Football Playoff.

And as for Knight’s AD Danny White using the reference of previous “split” champions in the previous system of using polls and voting, Saban, again, put the smackdown on it:

“That’s not how it’s done anymore,” said Saban, referring to the era before the BCS and the Playoff. “All the national championships that we won, we had to play somebody to win them. And we got in the game because of the season we had.”

We all agree UCF should have been given more respect and consideration at the end of last season. The Auburn win showed that.

We also all agree that the claim to “National Champions” is hollow and no one outside of Central Florida recognizes it or cares at this point.

Especially, the team that has actually won the championship two of the last three years.

Alabama.

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UCF Knights

Six TD performance lands UCF QB Milton American Player of Week

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After an unexpected week off due to Hurricane Florence, UCF and quarterback McKenzie Milton wanted to make a statement last Friday night on ESPN against FAU. And the Knights, with Milton at the controls did not fail to deliver in a 56-36 romp.

The junior from Hawaii accounted for the first six touchdowns UCF scored in the game, as this one was over by the end of the third quarter. Now, Milton has earned American Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.

They made it official late Monday morning:

 

Milton, who still has a legitimate shot to get into the Heisman Trophy conversation, shows no signs of letting up in terms of being able to score with his arm and with his wheels. He had 306 yards passing and another 81 yards rushing, as UCF’s offense overwhelmed the Owls.

It’s already the second time that Milton has gotten the award in 2018 having also been American Player of the Week after the opening conference game blowout at UConn. That night he threw for 356 yards and five touchdowns in the win over the Huskies.

Friday night’s win kept the nation’s longest winning streak of 16 games, in tact.

Now, Milton and UCF have a chance to get more credibility, when they take on Pitt out of the ACC on Saturday at Spectrum Stadium at 3:30.

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UCF Knights

Knights-QB Milton did their part in UCF Friday night romp

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

it was a “points bonanza,” as advertised in Orlando Friday night, and in the end, UCF and it’s leader looked the part of conference champ and playoff contender. This as the Knights cruised to a 56-36 easy win over in state Florida Atlantic.

We wondered if Friday would restart the Heisman Trophy hopes of QB McKenzie Milton and he delivered on a National TV stage big time and early. Milton threw or ran for the Knights first six touchdowns of the game, including this one in the third quarter, where he juked half of the Owls on the field:

The junior from Hawaii finished with 387 yards from scrimmage and is definitely one of best dual threat QBs in America that will continue to garner attention.

FAU hung in the game for awhile, largely based on their star RB Devin Singletary. Singletary, the CUSA Offensive Player of the Year, ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns, as FAU was tied at halftime.

Still, the Knights who haven’t lost a game in 600 days, notched another victory in the nation’s longest win streak. They now have 16 straight games dating back to their December bowl loss in 2016.

And if you think UCF’s squad didn’t have some fun on a Friday night in front of over 44,000 at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, think again. After the 20 point win, it was time to dance:

UCF will get a tougher test from Pitt out of the ACC next week, and then later in October, will play a huge American conference regular season road game at Memphis. The Tigers are arguably the best team in the West division and want to avenge having lost both meetings to UCF in 2017. The Knights won a thrilling double OT Championship Game in Orlando last December to lock in a bid to the Peach Bowl.

That’s where they famously stunned SEC powerhouse Auburn earlier this year on New Year’s day.

Back to the 2018 squad, coach Josh Heupel and staff had to deal with an unexpected bye week after Hurricane Florence cancelled their game at North Carolina last Saturday. Needless to say, they had UCF ready for this one.

And, that usually means Milton was ready to show college football he’s one of the players in the game.

He didn’t disappoint, again, Friday.

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UCF Knights

Will UCF QB Milton kick-start Heisman talk Friday night?

Florida Football Insiders

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

With the understanding that quarterbacks of powerhouse programs like Tua Tagovailoa, Trace McSorley, and Will Grier will be getting most of the national hype throughout the seaason, in our state we know that UCF QB McKenzie Milton deserves to be consider for the Heisman, too.

The junior signal-caller for the Knights has been a bit victimized by the early part of the season and the schedule. First, Milton did get off to a tremendous start in UCF’s opening win at UConn, where he fired five touchdown passes in basically three quarters during a blowout win.

However, the following week against South Carolina State he was not sharp with a couple of early interceptions and even though UCF won impressively, Milton’s numbers of 243 yards, one touchdown and three picks jumped off the page, as a negative.

He and the Knights were looking to ramp the offense back up last weekend in a game against a Power 5 program on the road in North Carolina. But, as you probably know by now, Hurricane Florence wiped out that game, and it will not be made up.

So, it seems as though Milton’s Heisman hype which began back in the summer, has stalled out.

Well, now comes a Friday night showdown with cross-state rival FAU and something very important: national television exposure on a weeknight. You see, for a lot of the media and in particular Heisman voters, Milton’s games are not going to trump ones for Alabama, Penn State Ohio State, and the other Blue Blood programs that they would rather watch. It’s harsh, but it’s true.

So, this is an opportunity for him to light it up against an Owls defense and then, be seen and remembered for it.

FAU was bombed by Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in their opening blowout loss in Norman, OK, Labor Day weekend. And, coach Lane Kiffin has to be fearful that more of the same may be coming from the potent Knights offense.

Yes, being a shootout with FAU may be possible because they boast running back Devin “Motor” Singletary, who was the CUSA Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.

So, it may be to Milton’s benefit, if FAU can score some in this game keep it close, and Milton gets a chance to play four full quarters and do it well.

If he’s going to make up ground on Tagovailoa and McSorley in particular, who are on national television almost every game, then that’s what Milton is going to have to take advantage of opportunities present themselves.

Friday night at Spectrum Stadium is one such opportunity for Milton and his Knights teammates.

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