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1 for the books: NCAA recognizes UCF among 2017 college football national champs

Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

ORLANDO — UCF was officially listed among college football national champions in the 2018 NCAA record book released this week.

On page 115 of the NCAA guide, the Knights are listed below Alabama. They are noted as the two teams that finished No. 1 at the end of the 2017 season.

UCF, which plays in the American Athletic Conference along with USF, was the only team in the nation to post an undefeated record last season, going 13-0. The Knights finished atop the Colley-Matrix, one of many computer ranking systems recognized by the NCAA.

The college sports governing body does not list national champions, in part, because it doesn't control the postseason format at the Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) level. Instead, the NCAA recognizes the teams that finish atop major polls.

Despite criticism nationwide for proclaiming itself a national champion, the NCAA has recognized UCF for finishing No. 1 last season in what it considers a major poll.

On Saturday, Knights fans celebrated the NCAA's official recognition on Twitter, adding another chapter to the ongoing debate between those who believe UCF was unjustly locked out of last season's College Football Playoff semifinals and has a legitimate national championship claim and those who are annoyed the Knights consider themselves at the same level as or better than Alabama, which finished 13-1 after beating Georgia in the playoff championship game.

As one Twitter post read: "Alabama claims retroactive determinations of national champion­ships so I'm unsure of why UCF can't do this."

But another responded: "That's a shame that the NCAA would recognize a fake claim."

The Knights aim to extend their 13-game winning streak when they play at UConn on Thursday night.

Information from Times staff, wires was used in this report.