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CFB notebook: Saban discredits UCF’s national title claim

The Sports Xchange

May 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm.

Alabama coach Nick Saban is not buying Central Florida’s claim that it won a national championship.

“I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it,” Saban said in a USA Today report Tuesday. “And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

UCF gave its players national championship rings and had a parade to recognize its status as the only FBS team to finish the 2017 season undefeated.

Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime in what the College Football Playoff called the national championship game. UCF beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl, and since Auburn had handed Alabama its only loss, the Knights claimed a national title.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for their team and what they were able to accomplish. And they can make every claim that they should have been in the Playoff. I get that,” Saban said. “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. It’s not quite fair to them for somebody else just to decide to (be a national champion).”

–Ohio State coach Urban Meyer confirmed what had become apparent: Sophomore Dwayne Haskins is the clear front-runner to be the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback this season.

Meyer fell just short of naming Haskins his starter while speaking at the Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton, Ohio, this week.

“This is really the first time I’ve talked about this since the spring game, but as of now it looks like Dwayne Haskins will get the first opportunity to be the starter,” he said, according to the Canton Repository.

Haskins, who was J.T. Barrett’s back up last season when Haskins was a redshirt freshman, already seemed to have the edge on senior Joe Burrow and freshman Tate Martell after spring practice, and when Burrow announced last week that he will transfer, Haskins’ hold on the No. 1 spot got stronger.

–The San Francisco 49ers will take over as the host for a bowl game on New Year’s Eve at Levi’s Stadium, the team announced.

The game, which started as the inaugural San Francisco Bowl in 2002, will go back to that name after it was played as the Foster Farms Bowl for the past four years.

The 49ers are taking over management of the event from Foster Farms for the game that will feature a matchup of teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences.