Danny White explains National Championship stance during ESPN appearance
UCF AD Danny White defended his school's claim of a national title during a Thursday appearance on ESPN's Outside the Lines.
Filling for Bob Ley as host was Ryan Smith, who at the beginning of the segment spoke about the history of teams claiming championships in college football.
Appearing live from the Spectrum Stadium locker room, White explained why UCF believes they deserve the right to be called National Champs.
"I think our kids deserve it," White said. "We played 13 games this year and won them all. We overcame a lot of adversity with the hurricane. Lost our bye week. This was a special group of mature kids. They overcame a coaching change and stayed dialed in. I don't want to define our season in any other way than to say they earned a national championship. They deserve to call themselves that."
Ryan Smith talks about strength of schedule, etc., mentioning ESPN has UCF's SOS at 77.
"First of all, I have an enormous amount of respect to those who give their time to the sport and serving on the College Football Playoff Committee," White said. "I think anybody paying attention sees the bias to those programs not in the so-called Power Five. We feel we're in a Power Six league in our conference. Our strength of schedule has taken some criticism. I don't think the schools in our league get enough credit. We beat a really good Memphis team twice. We beat a really good USF team. We beat Navy at Navy and they had won 17 straight home games, the nation's longest home winning streak. Those are hard games. I don't think we're getting the same sort of credit. Your publication, the ESPN Power Rankings, our strength of schedule is 15th in the country. I think it's better than what people are giving us credit for."
Ryan Smith: What do you think it will take for the Power Five to change in order to let a team like UCF in?
"I think our conference needs to respected differently," White said. "It's not a Power Five. It's a Power Six. I think the subjective nature of ranking teams through the season and the final rankings which determine who gets to participate in the playoffs, doesn't consider the league as stiff as it should. We get criticism for not having enough top 25 wins according to the CFB rankings, which is a subjective thing. I don't know how USF was 10-1 and unranked (by the committee) when we played them. They should have gotten more respect and so should have Memphis."
Does Danny White want to see a return of the computer rankings?
"I think in the BCS era, teams like us, teams on the outside of whatever the power structure could be in the given moment, at that time six BCS conferences, teams that had zero or one loss seasons were ranked a heck of a lot higher than 12th," White said.
Ryan Smith asks White about scheduling tough teams in the future, mentioning Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Stanford on future schedules.
"We would love to play any non-conference Power Six teams that will schedule a home-and-home with us," White said. "We believe we're a team that can compete as we showed this year for national championships. We're serious about that. We're not going to play guarantee games on the road. We've love to talk to anybody that would want to play a home-and-home."
Ryan Smith: What would you say to Alabama and Georgia?
"Congratulations on a great year," White said. "Those kids deserve what they accomplished just like our kids did. They worked hard to get where they are."
Ryan Smith: Could you beat them?
"I don't think that's a fair question because nobody is asking Alabama or Georgia that question," White said. "Our kids obviously showed they can play with anybody as they did on Monday night.
Ryan Smith ends the interview with a comment that he would love to see an extra game between UCF and the winner of Bama/UGA.
"I agree Ryan," White said. "I think it should be decided on the field. That's why I would like to see the playoff expanded. I don't think subjectively picking four teams is the right way to come to a true national champion. That's why, absent of evolving to that system, we are claiming a national championship for 2017."