American Athletic Conference Football Preview: UCF Knights are ready to Frost the Competition
What’s that old saying? Save the best for last well here we are the last team in my conference preview and it is the UCF Knights. This is the second year of Scott Frost’s tenure he took a winless UCF team and made them a 6 win bowl team. This was a new offense with a freshman QB they are trying to be Oregon-East with their uptempo play style.
Best Case Scenario-They start the season against Florida International so they should be able to win that game rather handily as they won on the road against that team last season. The second game is a huge game and is against Memphis its a home game in September which gives UCF the advantage they get the win and a 2-0 start. They then welcome in ACC opponent Georgia Tech if the defense can stand tall against the run they get the win, I believe the defense will come through and move the UCF Knights to 3-0. Next up is a tough road matchup against Big Ten opponent Maryland. Last season in a thrilling game UCF lost a close one to Maryland in OT. This will be much of the same and it will be UCF’s first loss of the season. 3-1 with Maine coming into town so that will move them to 4-1 for the month of September. October brings 2 road games for UCF so it will be a tough month. At Navy and Cincinnati and a home game with East Carolina, I see this shaking out with wins against Cincinnati and East Carolina and a lone loss at Navy which is a tough place to play. November sets up with 4 games including the BLACK Friday matchup against rival USF. Before that, they have games with SMU, UConn, and Temple. All winnable games setting up a matchup with USF for the East Division crown which UCF is victorious and wins the East and home field for the Conference Championship game.
Worst Case Scenario- They get their first win against Florida International but then they will lose to Memphis, Georgia Tech, and Maryland dropping them to 1-4. They still get wins against Maine, Cincinnati, and East Carolina which gets them back to 4-4. They lose to Navy on the road and get wins against SMU, Connecticut, and Temple bringing their overall record to 7-5. They still beat USF because let’s face it they are the better team and they end the season 8-5 and get a bowl bid.
What needs to go right for Best Case Scenario-The offensive line needs to be leaps and bounds better than it was last season. This isn’t a huge line but they are athletic and built for this fast paced offense. In addition, they need to convert on third downs this season to illustrate that point the year the UCF Knights went 0-12 they converted 29% on 3rd down last season 29.7 % and in the ugly bowl loss 3 for 18.