Whitley's Believe It or Not

David Whitley
Gainesville Sun
Gus Malzahn is introduced as UCF's football coach Monday.

Before we get to today's must-read information, I'd like to thank the millions of readers who entered our Name This Column contest.

In case you somehow missed it, last week I asked for help naming this weekly collection of notes, quotes and other musings. There were many excellent suggestions, including "Garbage" and "Stupid Stuff Made Up By A Moron."

I'll admit to being a moron, but not everything you'll read here is made up. In keeping with modern-day journalism rules, at least 63% of it is factual enough not to be censored by Facebook.

Given that, we're going  with — drumroll, please — "Whitley's Believe It or Not," at least until Ripley's sues us for copyright infringement.

The winning entry came from Bill Evans, who will receive the two-headed cow I found in the dumpster behind the Ripley's Museum in St. Augustine last summer.

Leading off

Florida fans are often accused of being the most entitled in the state, but the Gator Nation has nothing on the Knight Nation.

That's UCF, in case you didn't know. When the school announced Gus Malzahn would be its new coach Monday, fan reaction was a mix of forced excitement and abject disappointment.

Sheesh, it wasn't that long ago that UCF would have been lucky to hire a waterboy fired by Auburn. Much to Knight Nation's dismay, half the nation still inadvertently calls it "UFC" and thinks Conor McGregor is the quarterback.

Malzahn even called it "UFC" once during his introductory news conference. But quick success has apparently gone to Knight Nation heads.

UCF won 25 consecutive games in 2017 and 2018 and was the nation's only unbeaten team in 2017. After beating Malzahn's Auburn team in the Peach Bowl, UCF declared itself national champion.

Malzahn isn't Dabo Swinney, but he's a solid coach who runs the kind of fastbreak offense kids these days love.

"We have the best coach in the state of Florida," declared UCF Athletic Director Terry Mohajir.

Well, Malzahn does have three wins over Nick Saban. That's three more than Dan Mullen, who's 0-10 against the Sabinator.

But you get the feeling UCF could have hired Mullen away from Florida on Monday and the Knight Nation would have felt insulted. ...

Speaking of Saban, Alabama was not the SEC football champion in the classroom. Florida placed 27 scholarship players on the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Counting walk-ons, which the SEC does, the Gators had 55 players make the list. That broke the conference record of 47 held by Arkansas.

Counting all fall sports, 107 UF athletes made the honor roll. That was second to South Carolina, which had 115.

LSU was in last place with 57. That was 20 fewer than 13th-place Texas A&M. There's an Ed Orgeron joke in there somewhere. ...

An arrest warrant was issued last week for Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson after he allegedly stole a parking boot from a car. That has no real bearing on anything, but I figure Florida fans would appreciate it. ...

Malzahn's full name is Arthur Gustavo Malzahn III. UCF fans might have been more impressed if he'd have been introduced that way Monday. ...

Remember Johnny Manziel? Texas A&M's bad boy Heisman QB made his debut in the indoor Fan Controlled Football League on Saturday night.

He completed one pass and had 67 yards rushing as his team, the Zappers, lost to the Beasts 48-44. Manziel took the loss in his usual stride.

"Win or lose, we booze on the Zappers," he said.

Editor's Note: Manziel did not make the 2012 SEC Academic Honor Roll. ...

At the Daytona 500 on Sunday, driver Ross Chastain put the five-hour rain delay to good use. He drove (sadly, not in his No. 42 Chevy Camaro) through a nearby McDonald's and picked up lunch for his entire crew.

Chastain returned in time to finish seventh in the race. If he has the same ordering luck I do, Chastain then drove back to McDonald's because somebody messed up his order . ...

Today in History

1923 — Explorers unsealed the tomb of King Tut, discovering a coffin made of solid gold, jewels, a chariot and a "Win or Lose, We Booze" T-shirt.

1968 — America's first 9-1-1 emergency phone system began operating in Haleyville, Ala. It was an odd choice because there were no actual phones in Haleyville, Ala., in 1968.

2034 — UCF gives up and changes its name to UFC.

We're out of space for this week. Thanks again to all of you who entered our name contest. If "Whitley's Believe It or Not" doesn't work out, I might switch it to Arthur Gustavo Column III.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com.

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