Push to recognize UCF as 'National Champions'

- A Florida state lawmaker is joining the effort to get the University of Central Florida football team recognized as “National Champions.”

State Representative Amber Mariano, (R) FL-Dist. 36, wants the state legislature to adopt some sort of measure recognizing the team’s accomplishments this season, and possibly recognizing them as rightful national champions.

"We won every game they put in front of us, even the game they thought was impossible to win,” said Mariano.

The school is close to the 22 year-old’s heart as she attended class and graduated there just last year.  

Mariano, like many in the Orlando area, are touting the team’s undefeated record as reason they should have been included in the National Championship race, but they weren’t. Officials said the difficulty of other teams schedules, teams that were not undefeated, played a role in the selection.

"We need to at least send a message that the way they choose these playoffs is totally, totally off,” she said.

The university’s athletic director is giving the team the title, even if the league won’t, by putting it on tee shirts and hanging it in their stadium.

The City of Orlando also announced a free “National Champions Celebration” for the team on Monday.  The "family-friendly" event will begin at 6 p.m. on Church Street, between Orange Avenue and Garland Avenue, and include a pep rally, National Championship recognition, and much more.  Additionally, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will present the team with a Key to the City.

“We are proud of Orlando’s Hometown Team and hope fans from across Central Florida will come out to celebrate this memorable season,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

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