UCF DILEMMA: Frost Leaving, Dissed By CFP Committee, Time For UCF To Join Power 5 Conference
By Zach Clark // December 2, 2017
UCF rated No. 14 by CFP Committee's Poll heading into Championship weekend
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – The announcement all UCF fans have been dreading for weeks has finally been made official. Head Coach Scott is leaving UCF to coach his alma mater in Nebraska.
After helping lead UCF to a 62-55 win on Saturday against Memphis for the American Athletic Conference Championship and finishing a perfect 12-0, Frost revealed the worst kept secret that he would be heading back home to Nebraska.
One of the hottest names in the college football coaching carousel has been talked about for weeks and months that this season at UCF would be Frost’s last.
Having been rumored as a top candidate for other jobs such as Florida, Tennessee, Florida State and UCLA, Frost will leave UCF after just his second season as a head coach.
“This has truly been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made,” said Head Coach Scott Frost.
“I’m very proud of what this group of student-athletes and coaches has accomplished during my tenure at UCF. The Knights should be in the conversation for the American Athletic Conference championship year in and year out. UCF should be a Top 25 program year in and year out. I believe this program is well on its way to establishing that level of success. The next head coach at UCF is inheriting an incredible group of young men and is more fortunate than he probably knows to be working at this place.
“I can’t put into words how grateful I am to my team, my coaching staff, Dr. Hitt, Danny White, the UCF administration, Knights fans, the Orlando community and everyone who have supported us. I truly love UCF and I’ll be a Knight for life.”
After taking over an 0-12 team after the 2015 season, Frost managed to catapult UCF into one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history in just two short years.
A 6-7 campaign in 2016 and reaching a bowl game had many in the Black and Gold feeling that UCF’s better days were closer than many thought. Move over to 2017, finishing a perfect 12-0 on the season, while winning a AAC Championship, UCF’s story has been one of the great stories in college football in recent memory.
While UCF fans have witnessed a historic season, the special season came with a dose of reality on late Saturday at how cruel the business side of college football really is when Frost broke the news to his team that 2017 would be his last year in the black and gold.
Frost came to UCF known as a offensive genius from Oregon and transformed a UCF team from one of the worst offenses in 2015 to one of the best offenses this year in all of college football.
Frost, having never been a head coach before getting to UCF, got his first head coaching job in one of college football’s sleeping giants, University of Central Florida.
ABOVE VIDEO: UCF AD Danny White’s press conference Saturday night.
While No. 14 UCF does not have the history of success like a Florida, Florida State or a Miami, the school has been built to win now.
With the second-largest student body of any university in the United States, UCF is destined for greatness based on the proximity to some of the best recruiting areas on the map and located in one of the most vibrant tourist destinations in America.
Not to mention, a short drive to some of the best beaches in the United States.
However, a lack of fan support in attendance on gamedays and not being in a power-five conference (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC) has shown to be holding UCF back from breaking out as a major player in college football.
UCF averaged an attendance of 41,440 a game in this historic, and perfect 2017 season. UCF’s Spectrum Stadium holds 45,301.
It should be noted, that Saturday’s conference championship game against Memphis didn’t even sellout. (41,433)
As a result, how many big time coaches want to stay at a school when a undefeated season can’t even get you inside the Top 10 of College Football Playoff (CFP) Rankings and a fan base that doesn’t pack the house on Saturday with a championship at stake on your home turf?
Let’s look at schools that were in a similar position in college football history like this 2017 UCF team, take TCU and Boise State for example.
TCU for a number of years in the mid-2000s would have great seasons but never be in the discussion for the big game, at that time, the BCS National Championship game. Experts claimed that the lack of quality teams on their schedule and conference affiliation (Mountain West Conference), at that time, would not make them legitimate contenders in the National Championship conversation. Years later, they would join the Big 12 conference, a Power Five conference, and nearly joined the playoff committee’s top four in year one of the new rankings system after finishing 11-1 in 2014.
The Boise State run in the mid-2000s was a team that captivated college football fans for years. The Blue Turf and style of play was unique and a winner. However, the Broncos only problem was that they played in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Now playing in the Mountain West Conference, a non-Power Five conference, Boise State continues to slide into obscurity after years of coaches who pursue bigger jobs, in bigger conferences.
Despite Boise State losing only one game from 2002-2004 or 2008-2011, they were never serious contenders for a national championship during those great runs.
TCU, on the other hand, has been on the cusp of getting to the playoff nearly every year since 2014. Surely, an undefeated season at TCU would lock them into the Final Four.
Back to today, UCF went into the AAC championship game rated No. 14 in the CFP Rankings. Having outscored their opponents by an average score of 48-22, heading into Saturday, UCF fans ask themselves, “what more else can we do to get into the College Football Playoff conversation?” “If not now, then when?”
Answer. When they join a Power Five football conference. (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC)
TCU joined a Power Five conference (Big 12) and has reaped the benefits of being relevant on the national landscape of college football.
Conversely, Boise State hasn’t joined a Power Five conference and fights against mediocrity every year, due to the their lack luster conference schedule every year.
This season has proven that UCF must make moves and phone calls to take the next step in the program’s development.
The best recruits, the best coaches and the fans will come, and stay, when UCF is playing a Florida State, Florida, Clemson, Oklahoma or Texas week in and week out on a Saturday night as opposed to a East Carolina, UConn, Cincinnatti or Memphis.
More importantly, the CFP committee will be watching, intently.
Fans will gripe and bemoan when a good coach like Frost leaves, but to prevent this UCF job from being a stepping stone job and become a destination job, UCF must join a Power Five conference.
Question is, which conference fits best for UCF?
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