UCF Knights Football: War on I-4 Preview and Predictions

As if this game wasn’t big enough it now has added emphasis to it. Yesterday I wrote an article Poking the Beast about Charlie Strong’s comments regarding Shaquem Griffin. This was the latest in the saga of the War on I-4, which also includes a last second Touchdown in a blowout game last season. Although this rivalry doesn’t get the attention that Auburn-Alabama or Michigan-Ohio State it has its highlights. When USF came to Orlando in 2013, for the first time since 2008, somehow the USF Athletic Director’s car tires got slashed. UCF was ranked 17 that season and was on their way to a BCS bowl win. The next year UCF fans called for a Tampa Takeover, in which they took over the stadium.  This year’s installment includes a ticket to the American Athletic Conference Championship game. As the representatives from the East Division.

UCF comes into this game off of a blow out win over Temple on the road 45-19. In route to their 10th win in a row and first 10-0 start in school history. UCF sports the nation’s #1 scoring offense, #2 Pass Efficiency, and #5 Total Offense.  Led by second-year QB McKenzie Milton the offense has scored 60 Offensive Touchdowns on 690 offensive plays.  Think that’s not impressive? The team who has the most offensive TDs this season is Oklahoma, with 63. They have run 778 plays. So they have run 88 more plays but only have 3 more offensive TDs.

In comparison, their opponent the Bulls from South Florida has scored 44 TDs on 835 plays. Coach Frost had this to say about the game “It’s not going to take a Rah-Rah speech or me using some gimmick to get these guys fired up for this game. These guys are going to be ready to play this one.”  Sure sounds like the team is ready to finish the regular season off with a win over their rivals.

On the other hand, USF comes into this one on the heels of a disappointing game against Tulsa. In which they almost lost a big lead.  USF has been slow out of the gate in a lot of games and it hasn’t bitten them in the butt yet. With the exception of the Houston game. That one wasn’t so much a slow start as a 4th and 24 conversions which set up a late touchdown by Houston to win the game. No one in the American Athletic Conference is getting any love from the College Football Playoff Committee. As 3 loss Mississippi State jumped undefeated UCF in the latest polls. USF’s game plan should be to keep UCF’s offense off the field but 10 teams before them have failed at doing that. If USF can come out hot they can pull the upset, although I don’t see it happening.

So what are my predictions for the game? In fact, it is simple. I think UCF will come out with a ton of energy. Particularly, the Bounce House will be bouncing again and McKenzie Milton and the starters will not play in the 4th quarter. I foresee this being a 17+ victory for the Knights.  Thus, setting up a rematch with Memphis, who will be making their 3rd trip to Orlando. Except for this time their second game against UCF is for the Conference title.

 

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