The ongoing debate continues about UCF’s lack of inclusion in the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row.
Part of the “comedy” is the upper echelon elite conferences and programs in college football trying to act like there’s an immediate and simple solution to UCF scheduling situation.
Specifically, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey spoke out on Thursday in New York essentially saying UCF needed to “look inward” to worry about their own scheduling-situation and essentially stop complaining.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) December 6, 2018
That had to simultaneously make officials with UCF, the American Conference and anybody else that champions the non-power 5, angry and laugh at the same time.
Sankey’s comments followed most of the national pundits’ “talking points” that the Knights should be excluded on strength of schedule over each of the last two of their unbeaten seasons.
Of course, never mind the fact that when UCF got a shot head-to-head against Auburn in January (who had beaten both Georgia and Alabama late in the SEC schedule), they beat the Tigers straight up at the Peach Bowl.
Further, at the root of the problem is most of the SEC top teams, like Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and others don’t have any interest in playing UCF in a home-and-home situation. Rather, they would only welcome the Knights to come play them in a “one-off game” at their stadium in September.
The Knights also played a one-off game in Gainesville in 2006 against the Gators and were blown out 42-0.
However, as they have gotten better and more successful recently, including a Fiesta Bowl win in 2013 and over the course of these last couple of seasons, it’s understandable that UCF wants a quality opponents to play them for a home-and-home series. And, it should be noted that Steve Spurrier and South Carolina agreed to just such an arrangement back a few years ago, where they played the Knights first in Orlando and then, in a return game in Colombia.
On Friday there was discussion about whether UCF and the Gators could get together on a new series. And new Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin, who ironically is also part of the thirteen person College Football Playoff selection committee, did not dismiss the idea outright.
In fact, he even indicated that they would be open to the possibility of potentially playing home-and-home. However, the Gators, like other SEC schools at the top of the best conference in college football, want a “bit of a sweetener” in the scheduling deal. That is to get a second home game in exchange for the one return visit to your place.
UCF athletic director Danny White in response to that is it has been their desire recently, to do the straight up home for home, but they would have evaluate the one-off game or potentially playing at a neutral site like Atlanta, Dallas or somewhere else.
Here's how negotiation will go:
UCF: We want to play home and home
Florida: Nope. We can do 2 for 1
UCF: What about 1 home, 1 away, 1 neutral
Florida: Nope. We can do 2 for 1
UCF: We've won a lot of games and shouldn't have to do that
Florida: I have USF on the other line. Thanks
— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) December 8, 2018
It should also be noted that the Knights have been able to play a home-and-home with other power 5 leagues teams, specifically ACC schools. UCF had Georgia Tech on their schedule at home a year ago but that game was wiped out by Hurricane Matthew..
Likewise, on this year’s schedule UCF played and destroyed Pittsburgh in September in the first of their home and home series. However, unfortunately again lost a road game, this time to North Carolina, due to Hurricane Michael canceling the game. The Tar Heels are still going to come to UCF at a later date
So, it’s not as if the Knights haven’t had success with that type of scheduling, and maybe should go for the second level of SEC schools like Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas or Ole Miss and try to do the home-and-home.
The bottom line is, and less UCF were to be admitted into a power 5 conference, like potentially the Big 12 down the road, they’re never going to have a strength of schedule the same way, as a power 5 conference team that they’re going to be compared to by the selection committee and for the CFP.
This is not unlike what Boise State out in the Mountain West has faced throughout the 2000’s- being excluded in the old Bowl Championship Series and for the bigger bowl games. Now, the one year that they were playing a power 5 school in the Fiesta Bowl in 2006, they upset Oklahoma, dramatically. They also later defeated TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, as well.
And finally, there is the idiotic argument out there that UCF should schedule three or four power 5 teams out of their conference to replace their lack of tough teams in the AAC.
When the reality is that one loss would eliminate you from College Football Playoff discussion, then you’re being completely unfair to the knights by demanding that they load up out of conference in September at risk it all week to week for a month.
There’s also another weapon in the “strength of schedule” debate,when UCF gets their chance against the power 5 on the biggest, like they will against LSU January 1st, beat them.
Obviously, there’s no better response to the elitists looking down their nose at you, then knocking them off head-to-head on the field.
USF and UCF got American Conference 2020 schedules Tuesday
On Tuesday afternoon the American Athletic Conference made official is 2020 football dates for opponents for its conference members. And, that means UCF and USF got to look for the first time at their full conference slates and when they are playing whom.
First for the Knights, they learned that they will open year three of coach Josh Heupel’s conference play on Thursday night September 24th at East Carolina. It is one of three stand-alone weeknight(day) games UCF has on their schedule.
The next one will be Friday night October 16th, as UCF travels to play the Memphis Tigers. That’s a team that the Knights defeated for two Conference Championship Game victories in 2017 and 18.
— American Football (@American_FB) February 18, 2020
UCF will also play a traditional “War on I-4” game with the rival Bulls on the Friday after Thanksgiving November 27th. This will be the fourth straight year of playing on “Black Friday.”
As for the Knights other part of the league schedule, they will have their AAC home opener with Tulsa on Saturday October 3rd and then, finish the slate with two huge home matchups with Temple Saturday November 14th followed by Cincinnati at Spectrum Stadium the following week.
For the Bulls, who welcome first year coach Jeff Scott in 2020, they will only have two standalone appearances in conference play. Those will be a Friday night home game October 23rd with Tulsa and then, the previously mentioned final rivalry game with UCF on Friday November 27th.
The Bulls first conference game of the season will be at Cincinnati on October 3rd, while the home opener is East Carolina the following week at Raymond James Stadium.
USF has a tough road slate beginning at Temple on October 17th and then, after the Friday night home game with Tulsa, playing at Memphis November 7th and at Houston November 14th.
The conference is playing 2020 with only 11 members, as UConn has departed and gone back to the Big East. This will also be the first time that the AAC doesn’t play a two six team division format and will instead take the top two ranked teams in conference play for it’s December Championship Game.
Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl
One-player eager to start showcasing himself Saturday afternoon in the pre-draft process in St Petersburg is former UCF speedster RB, Adrian Killins.
Killins ,who just finished four years of highlight runs and touchdowns for the the Knights will participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl.
— East-West Shrine Bowl (@ShrineBowl) December 2, 2019
Killins is generously listed at 5’9 and 165 lb. and came UCF without much fanfare from Daytona Mainland High School. However, he had been an explosive player on the football gridiron, and he was also a former two time 3A State 200m track champion before coming to Orlando.
Once at UCF in 2016, Killins immediately showed off his explosiveness and moniker of “fastest player in college football” with a 100-yard kickoff return at ECU and an 87 yard touchdown run at “the Big House” in Ann Arbor against Michigan.
His best season was his sophomore year, when he was named First Team All American Athletic Conference RB, as he rushed for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead UCF. He showed versatility and caught another additional 25 passes for 169 yards.
He also set a UCF record for longest play from scrimmage that still stands, in the UCF regular season win over Memphis, as he took a handoff and the looked like a missle racing down the sideline:
Longest run in @UCF_Football history ✔️
Longest run in @American_FB history ✔️
2nd-longest in NCAA this year ✔️
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 1, 2017
Killins helped the Knights experience their greatest season ever at 13 – 0 with not only a thrilling double-overtime conference title game rematch win over the Tigers, but a New Year’s Day upset of SEC Powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl for the perfect season.
His next two years under Josh Heupel and his new coaching staff were not as spectacular. But, he still he would make the occasional explosive run and finished his career with over 1,700 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.
He did leave a final impression with his 115 yards and 1 TD in the regular season finale with USF.
Now, he knows that with his smaller size, even with blazing speed, he will be challenged to stick on an NFL roster, and another way might be as a kick returner. Killins left UCF with a career 21.8 avg on 47 returns as a Knight.
He will likely need to show that part of his game to help him get a realistic shot at the next level. And, we wait to see if there will be explosive plays from him Saturday.