UCF Story Among Possible Next Major College Football Documentary

UCF Story Among Possible Next Major College Football Documentary
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Netflix “Untold” sports documentary series has reached audiences beyond the typical sports fan. In the spirit of ESPN’s “30 for 30” -- which helped pioneer deep-dive and behind-the-scenes narratives of sports personalities and topics -- the “Untold” series has latched onto controversial sports celebrities and teams to tell those stories over several episodes. 

Two recent such series were on football player Johnny Manziel and another was on the 2005-2009  University of Florida football program. Manziel, most football fans will recall, was the meteoric talent known as “Johnny Football” who won the Heiman Trophy as a freshman at Texas A&M only to flame out in the NFL in a highly public career death-spiral fueled by easy money and hard living.  

The tale of the Florida football team in the early years of the 21st century under head coach Urban Meyer was titled, in brief,  “Swamp Kings” and described the culture of a program that won two National Championships, for the 2006 and 2008 seasons, and included quarterback Tim Tebow. Following Netflix’s documentaries on “Johnny Football” and the 2005-09 Gators, FloridaBet.com  constructed hypothetical odds - something you wouldn't find on Florida sportsbooks - on what the next major sports documentary to come out will cover.

Next College Football Documentary Odds

TopicOdds% Chance
Cam Newton Heisman/National Title Season+40020%
2017 UCF: 0-12 to 12-0+45018.2%
Baylor Football Scandal and Resurgence+60014.3%
SEC’s Reign of Dominance+75011.8%
Texas is Back: The Rise and Fall of the Longhorns+85010.5%
The Road to Alabama’s Dynasty+90010%

Incredible Story of 2017 UCF Knights Makes the List

The most likely topic, according to FloridaBet.com, is the tale of Cam Newton’s Heisman campaign in 2010 which included a national title for his undefeated Auburn Tigers. The Newton-Auburn story is given hypothetical odds of plus-400, or a 20% chance. That’s closely followed by the 2017 UCF Knights football team (University of Central Florida) and its remarkable turnaround. The Knight’s championship year in the American Athletic Conference, during which they went 13-0, was made all that more remarkable by the fact that just two years earlier, UCF had finished 0-12. A documentary on that turnaround is given plus-450 hypothetical odds or an 18.2% chance.

The third-ranked possibility is Baylor University’s football scandal and resurgence. The scandal involved a grim period of ongoing sexual assault allegations, 2012-2016, many associated with the football program, whose occurrences were suppressed by university officials. By 2017, Baylor’s football program had fallen to 1-11.  In 2019 it rebounded to 11-3 and in 2021, it was 12-2.  That story is listed at plus-600 (14.3%) to be a documentary. 

Fourth on the list is the SEC’s overall reign of dominance in college football. The conference seems to have a perennial grip on the national championship trophy. That story is listed at plus-750, or 11.8% chance. The plot of the University of Texas, “Texas is Back: The Rise and Fall of the Longhorns,” has odds of plus-850, or a 10.5% chance. Texas had a nine-year run of double-digit win seasons (2001-09), slumped to three straight losing years (2014-16), then in the last half-dozen years has clawed back to respectability. The “Road to Alabama’s Dynasty”, with odds of plus-900, a 10 %chance, would tell of the emergence of Alabama football in the Nick Saban era when, with Saban as head coach, the Crimson Tide has won six National Championships, and campaigns in which they don’t win it all, they’re usually in the mix.

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Bill Ordine
Expert Opinion Columnist

Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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