UCF is Here to Stay

UCF is Here to Stay

Much like how we looked at South Florida a few years back, UCF is the next up and coming program coming out of the state of Florida. Coach George O’Leary is to thank for the success of the football program. However, it was inevitable that UCF would turn into a major program. It is a large school located in a state that is full of talented recruits.

Yet, upon Coach O’Leary’s arrival, UCF went 0-11 in their last year during an unsuccessful three year stint in the Mid-American Conference. There was little reason to think the Knights, then the Golden Knights, would be any better in Conference USA. But Coach O’Leary was building a program and in their first year in the conference, UCF won the East division before losing in a shootout to Nevada in the Hawai’i Bowl. The team has been up and down since then, following their first bowl trip with a four win season before having a big ten win season in 2007. In 2008 it was back to four wins. But that string of up and down seasons ended in 2009 and 2010.

The Knights won eight games in 2009 and had their best season ever in 2011, finishing the season with an 11-3 record, including their first ever bowl victory. Their stellar defense shut down Georgia’s offense and the offense did enough to squeak out a 10-6 win.

But the biggest change of all came in 2007 when UCF opened the Bright House Networks Stadium. The on-campus stadium is a far cry from playing ten miles away in the Citrus Bowl and the fans and recruits have been impressed. UCF even got Texas to come to town to break in the new turf. Before the 45,000 seat stadium was even finished, expansion talks were in the works. Pretty soon the place will seat 65,000 and UCF will continue to be one of the best teams in Conference USA. And pretty soon UCF will be too good for Conference USA.



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