Jamie Grant

Tagging every yard of UCF’s undefeated season

UCFplate-logo.pngA group of Florida lawmakers, including one pursing a specialty license plate for his own alma mater, want the state’s motor vehicle agency to be the latest to proclaim the University of Central Florida undefeated Knights as college football’s “national champion.”

State Reps. James Grant, R-Tampa, Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, and Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, are pushing a proposal (HB 1359) that would add “UCF National Champions” license plate to the more than 130 specialty tags already available from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

“A UCF license plate is the perfect way to commemorate our undefeated Knights for achieving this historic milestone,” Guillermo Smith said in a press release.

Guillermo Smith, Latvala and Mariano are UCF alumni.

“We can argue statistics and strength of schedules, but you can’t argue a perfect, undefeated season,” Mariano said in the release. “We are the true College Football National Champions, and our season made a big statement to the CFP that their current system is not working. I am so proud to be an Alumna from the best University in the world! Go Knights and Charge on!”

The measure would also revamp the specialty license program, an annual exercise in the state Legislature, by capping the number of different designs available at one time to 125 and to boost the required number of pre-order plates from 1,000 to 3,000 for a new tag to be allowed on the road.

The proposal also would make an Auburn University license plate — along with tags for Florida Lineman, Florida State Beekeepers Association, Rotary, Beat Childhood Cancer, Florida Bay Forever and Bonefish and Tarpon Trust — available for pre-order.

Grant, who along with Tallahassee public-relations guru Kevin Cate, have been working to get Florida to offer the Auburn University plate.

“Nobody wanted Auburn to beat UCF more than me,” Grant, an Auburn University grad, said in the press release. “However, UCF beat the team who beat the team also claiming to be national champions — Alabama — a team with a long history of making up national championships.”

Cate’s CateComm and Sean Hartman of Orlando designed the pseudo national champion plate.

Gov. Rick Scott on Jan. 8 signed a proclamation declaring UCF national champions following their 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

As with Scott’s proclamation, those pitching the Knights as national camps point to Auburn having defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama topped Georgia to conclude the NCAA’s four-team playoff invitational.

UCF finished sixth in the Associated Press’s final poll of the season.

By Jim Turner.

Buckle up: ‘Historic’ holiday ahead

imagesWe’ll probably stay home to avoid the crush, but that’s not what more than 2 million other Floridians will likely do.

That’s how many Sunshine Staters are expected to hit the road for the looooong 4th of July weekend — which apparently kicks off today and runs through Tuesday — according to AAA.

The auto club is predicting that more than 2.3 million Floridians will travel this weekend, and nearly all of them will be getting behind the wheel before (we hope) getting their party on.

Vicky Evans, Assistant Vice President, Travel Sales Development, AAA – The Auto Club Group, predicted “historic” travel numbers throughout the country, and in Florida, over the next few days:

“Travel bookings at The Auto Club Group are up more than 15 percent in Florida, compared to this time last year. The biggest factors driving growth are low gas prices, strong employment, rising incomes, and higher consumer confidence; but overall Americans just love to travel, and want to do something fun for this mid-summer tradition.”

According to AAA, Orlando is the top destination for travelers this summer.

GOP Florida House members are giving the Orlando numbers a boost: Freshmen Republicans will huddle there today to decide who will take over as speaker in 2022. State Reps. Paul Renner of Jacksonville and Jamie Grant of Tampa are purportedly in the lead in the four-person race. Erin Grall of Naples and Vero Beach’s Byron Donalds are also duking it out for the chamber’s top spot.

Maybe they’ll want to get a lift from Uber, which finally sealed a deal with the ORL airport regarding rates.

A new law establishing statewide regulations for app-based rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft goes into effect tomorrow, prompting a blast email from Uber’s Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani who had this to say:

“Whether you’re headed to Key West for the weekend or you need to get from Tampa to Palm Beach, we’ve got you covered. Now you can count on us for a safe, reliable ride anywhere in the state, at any time. Drivers, will also be able to accept trips and earn anywhere in the state, thanks to your support.

This is just the beginning. We’re committed to the state of Florida and its riders and driver-partners, and want to prove it in a real way. Stay tuned for exciting announcements!”