Alabama's Nick Saban Says 'Self-Proclaimed' Champs UCF Didn't Earn Title

Saban, Malzahn, Smart open up at Regions Tradition Pro-Am

UCF not only finished with an undefeated record, but it also defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl, which beat both Alabama and national runner-up Georgia during the regular season.

Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who guided UCF to an undefeated 2017 season, told USA Today earlier this month "I would have had a hard time getting behind", the national title claim had he stayed with the Knights.

Nick Saban, in an interview with USA Today Sports, became the latest to weigh in on the is-UCF-the-national-champion discussion.

"But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it", Saban told USA Today. "I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything".

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Later Wednesday afternoon, Smart appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show and revealed that some Alabama fans needled the Georgia coach with references to "second-and-26", which was the situation when Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed a game-winning 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith against the Bulldogs in the National Championship Game in January. "But self-proclaimed is not the same as earning it". While it's obvious Saban isn't a fan of the claim, he does recognize what the Knights were able to accomplish last season. "I don't want anything that I said in an answer to have the appearance of diminishing from what they accomplished and how grateful we are to be a part of it". And they can make every claim that they should have been in the Playoff.

"But we have a system, and it's not fair to the people who went through the system and earned their way playing really, really good teams - I mean really good teams - and really tough games". I'm so proud of that team and I will be forever.

The only thing wrong with that is UCF didn't win the national championship. Now, in an era where the national champion is crowned after a four team playoff, there is usually little debate about who the national champion is and more debate about who should have been allowed in.

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