Alabama is getting called out by a huge billboard on its own doorstep


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“We Want Bama” is a popular sign across college campuses, even though most schools don’t really mean it — unless you’re talking about a sport other than football.

But fans of one school have sponsored a billboard in which they are politely asking for Alabama.

The Crimson Tide just won college football’s national championship, and now they are being called out by fans of the self-proclaimed “true” national champions, the University of Central Florida Knights.

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If you noticed the geo-location of the tweet above, this electronic billboard message is being displayed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The University of Central Florida didn’t pay for the billboard, but fans of the school and its undefeated football team paid to have their request broadcast where the championship trophy resides.

According to ESPN, 37 UCF fans pitched in to sponsor the billboard. They raised $1,665 through a GoFundMe page and originally planned on putting it in Atlanta, site of Monday’s national championship game. However, they missed the deadline and instead decided to display their message in the home city of the University of Alabama.

“We felt like this year’s team could run with anyone in the country, and the Peach Bowl win proved that,” said Sean Barakett, a UCF fan who said he contributed $100 toward the campaign. “All we needed was a chance to play harder opponents.”

Leading up to Monday’s national championship game, UCF was touting its perfect season and win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl as confirmation that they are the nation’s best team. Fans of UCF argued that since Auburn defeated Alabama and Georgia in the regular season, then UCF’s win over Auburn proved the Knights are the nation’s best team.

The sheer number of people who have wished for an Alabama-UCF game forced Vegas to release a hypothetical betting line. Assuming the game would be played on a neutral site, the Knights would be blown out even worse than Clemson was in the semifinals.

UCF’s request for a home-and-home series would be interesting on paper, but likely underwhelming once the games actually take place. Both teams already have full schedules in 2018 so if the games can’t be played any earlier 2019 and 2020, when most of the current players will be long gone on both sides.

There’s also the fact that Nick Saban has no interest in playing non-Power 5 schools despite the fact Alabama plays four every year. UCF is in the American Athletic Conference and is a part of the Group of 5.

If Saban had his way, Power 5 schools would only play other Power 5 schools.

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“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said prior to this season. “If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament — not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff.

“In this scenario [of only playing other Power 5 teams], there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in. We all play three or four games a year now that nobody’s really interested in. We’d have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV.”

UCF really went full force with its national championship claim and the team even had a victory parade at Disney World. Athletic director Danny White also said the team’s coaches would receive “national championship bonuses.”

Fortunately for White, he didn’t have to pay the $200,000 bonus that departing head coach Scott Frost was due to receive because Frost had already maxed out on his incentives.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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