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UCF’s claim doesn’t dazzle Saban much

The Central Florida Knights threw themselves a parade and gave players national championship rings to recognize their undefeated season, but Alabama Coach Nick Saban doesn’t have much use for the Knights’ claims.

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

Saban’s team beat Georgia 26-23 in an overtime thriller to win the national championship that most people recognize, the College Football Playoff title. Alabama had routed defending champion Clemson 24-6 to reach the final game.

Central Florida finished the regular season 12-0, the only undefeated team in FBS. However, because of the Knights’ schedule, they were ranked only No. 12 in the country when the four teams were chosen for the College Football Playoff.

Then the Knights went on to beat Auburn, which had handed Alabama its only loss, in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day. Hence, the national champion claims.

Saban said he had a lot of respect for what Central Florida accomplished because going undefeated is no small feat, but he said the national champion claims were unfair.

“We’ve only had one undefeated team, and that is really hard to do,” Saban said. “So 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.

“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 [claim a national championship].”

Mountain to climb

Early Wednesday morning, Lhakpa Sherpa reached the summit of Mount Everest for the ninth time. In doing so, she broke her own record for the most summits of the world’s tallest peak by a woman. The next closest woman to the record is American Melissa Arnot Reid, who’s climbed Everest six times.

Sherpa, 45, is from the Makalu region of Nepal and now lives in Hartford, Conn., with her three kids. She’s a single mom and works as a dishwasher at a Whole Foods in West Hartford. Before that, she worked as a housekeeper and a cashier at a 7-Eleven convenience store.

Sherpa lives modestly and saves up to purchase a plane ticket back to Nepal each spring to climb Everest with her brother Mingma Gelus’ expedition company, Seven Summits Club. This year, equipment company Black Diamond sponsored her, providing gear and monetary support. According to The Associated Press, she wants “to show that a woman can do men’s jobs. There is no difference in climbing a mountain. I climb for all women.”

Sherpa said she plans to climb Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-tallest peak at 28,251 feet, next year.

“I don’t need to be famous,” she said. “I want to keep doing my sport. If I don’t do my sport, I feel tired. I want to push my limits.”

Sports quiz

How many football national championships has the University of Alabama won?

Answer

17, with the first coming in 1925.

Sports on 05/18/2018

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