What does UCF have to do to get respect?

Written by Abner Jackson III

Week 7 in college football we saw four top 10 schools lose a game.  Now, there are three new schools in the top 10.  University of Central Florida was ranked No. 10 last week and remained No. 10 despite having the longest winning streak in the nation.  The Knights have won 19 games in a row after coming back from 30-17 halftime deficit to defeat the Memphis Tigers 31-30.

No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 West Virginia, No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Penn State all lost conference games.  I was expecting the Knights to be ranked number 7 or 8 once the polls came out.  No movement whatsoever in both polls, AP or Coaches poll.  The game against the University of North Carolina Tar heels was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.  Even though the Tar heels are a basketball school, that win would have helped UCF in the polls.

The Knights left Conference USA and joined the American Conference in 2013.  That year, the Knights went undefeated in conference play, finishing the season 12-1 after beating University of Baylor 52-42 in the Fiesta Bowl.  Louisville Cardinals left after that season and joined the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2014.  UCF was champions in the American conference their first season and co-champions the following 2014 season.  Louisville would have been the Knights toughest opponent and most likely always in the top 25.

Everyone feels UCF doesn’t play anyone and has a ‘cupcake’ schedule.  They play the teams on their schedule and have won two major bowl games in the last five years.  The American Conference has three undefeated teams so far, UCF, USF (University of South Florida) and Cincinnati.  Cincinnati is ranked No. 20 followed by USF at No. 21 and both teams are UCF final two opponents.  South Florida will travel to Cincinnati on November 10th and if one of them is still undefeated it should help with UCF strength of schedule.

After going undefeated last season and beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl, UCF still isn’t getting the respect it deserves.  Auburn beat both teams that played in the BCS Championship last season and the Knights beat them 34-27.  UCF has McKenzie Milton one of the best Quarterbacks in the nation, he has thrown 16 touchdowns, 4 interceptions with a 157.4 passer rating along with 6 rushing touchdowns.

UCF has won three conference championships since joining the American Conference in 2013.  After two major bowl wins, four bowl appearances and two top 10 finishes it’s time to move on to another conference.  The best two options for UCF are to go the ACC or to go back independent.  UCF had a game scheduled against University of Texas in 2023 that was cancelled.  Once again, UCF can only play their four non conference games against who schedules them.

They’re not playing schools like the Citadel, Division II schools or HBCU schools.  The Knights would do good in the ACC with Clemson being their toughest opponent.  FSU (Florida State) hasn’t been good the last two seasons and University of Miami isn’t a top 10 school in the nation.  Please invite them to a better conference so the doubters can stop saying they don’t play anyone.

After this latest poll, it’s clear the voters will not put them in the top four to reach the playoffs.  The Knights have a good chance at going undefeated again and will play in a BCS bowl game if that happens.  Another season down the drain with no respect and being cheated out of the playoffs.  UCF needs to be in a new conference by 2020, especially being the best and highest ranked team in the state of Florida.  The school with the most enrolled students, the Knights are here to stay.



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