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UCF reaped large financial benefit from 2017 perfect season

Brett Davis- USA Today Sports
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It should come as no surprise that the UCF athletic department, and football program in specific, raked in the revenue for their magical 2017 unbeaten the season. And now, we have some specifics on just how much green came in for the Black and Gold, now two seasons ago.

Responding to a public records request from the Orlando Sentinel, UCF made its financial data for the 2017 fiscal year available, including their 13-0 Peach Bowl winning football season.

Some very interesting it details in the Sentinel report included that the Knights brought in $5.6 million in  overall ticket revenue in all sports. That was up 20% from the year before and then coach Scott Frost’s football program being responsible for $4.6 million of it.

Led by star quarterback McKenzie Milton, the Knights finished an unbeaten regular season and then, defeated the Memphis Tigers in a thrilling double overtime win to clinch the American Conference Championship.

That victory punched the Knights ticket for a “New Years Six” bowl game against the Auburn Tigers, which brought in $5.2 million. That was a massive jump of just over $4.5 million more than the previous year, when the Knights played in the Cure Bowl in December of 2016.

UCF went ahead and stunned their SEC opponent on New Year’s Day in Atlanta. And, they later agitated many, including BCS Champion Alabama, by claiming themselves to be the only undefeated team in FBS football and therefore, “the 2017 National Champions.” Athletic director Danny White had that signage put on Spectrum Stadium, and the team also ceremonially raised a National Champions flag that still flies at the stadium, as well.

Another area which naturally would see increase was donor donations. This as, the football program increased by $1 million to $7.5 million in private and corporate direct donations for fiscal 2017 according to the documents reviewed by the paper.

You also cannot put a tangible price tag on the amount of free national media coverage and notoriety that UCF’s 2017 season brought the school. This would also be a positive for general student enrollment, interest in the football program/recruiting and enthusing the Orlando area to embrace the school.

UCF Knights

Week three power rankings are tighter at top

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the college football season was not very kind to a handful off the state university’s last weekend. While week 1 of the NFL season was brutal for our in-state teams, as well. After a under whelming weekend for Florida football lets take a look at how things stack up in our rankings:

Florida Gators- The Gators were one of the only bright spots last week in the State. It took Florida until the 2nd quarter to find the endzone, which is something they surely didn’t envision. From there, they would head to an easy 45-0 victory over UT-Martin. The Gators did suffer two potential major losses on the night. RB/WR Kadarius Toney and DB C.J. Henderson were both injured and could miss the conference opener at Kentucky next week.

UCF Knights- UCF put up a lot of points (above) and a lot of yards, yet again. The Knights went over 500 yards and for the 28th game in a row put up 30 points. Freshman Dillon Gabriel silenced a crowd of over 30,000 that was the largest in program history for FAU. The Knights put up 14 points in both the first and second quarter on their way to a blowout victory. This week they face Stanford coming from California into the “Bounce House.”

This game was looking like a ranked match up before the Cardinal lost to USC late last Saturday night. Still, this is a big game for Knights against a Power-5 opponent and coach Josh Heupel knows they have to be impressive.

Florida State Seminoles- The Noles slide into the 3 spot or did they really back up into it? FSU was painfully close to loosing at home to ULM. Had the Warhawks gone for two, like many expected them to do, they might have walked out of Tallahassee with Willie Taggart contract in hand.

For the second week in a row the Noles had a 2nd half collapse. After leading 24-7 at the break they went into the 4th quarter still up 24-21, but then faltered badly, again, only to hang on 45-44 in OT. Heading into conference play this weekend the Noles will need to get a grip on things or they won’t end well starting at Virginia Saturday night.

Miami Hurricanes- The Canes were oh so close last week. In the first true road game of the year the U almost took one in Chapel Hill. Freshman Jarren Williams had a great bounce back performance throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns. After being down all game the Canes took the lead for the first time in the fourth quarter with 4:45 left to play.

The Hurricanes though still want this one back, as UNC freshman QB Sam Howell hit a 20-yard pass on 4th and 17 to keep the game winning drive going. The Canes would drive down the field to attempt a 49-yard field goal that was missed. Miami though should get into the win column next week against Bethune- Cookman.

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UCF Knights

Is it freshman QB Dillon Gabriel’s job at UCF already?

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When quarterback Brandon Wimbush decided to transfer from Notre Dame to UCF, he knew he would be in a QB battle. After Darriel Mack Jr. went out with an off season broken ankle, it appeared the job was all his. However, in the season opener against FAMU, he split reps with freshman, Dillon Gabriel. Now, after Gabriel played the entire game Saturday night at FAU, we’re left to wonder if the job belongs to the freshman?

Both QBs had played well against the over-matched Rattlers in week one leaving the door open for more split duty. And, coach Josh Heupel even said the job wouldn’t be Wimbush’s 100 percent.

Well, against FAU this past Saturday though it was just the freshman Gabriel who saw all the action. Wimbush was held out with an undisclosed  injury, and now the question is? will he get back in immediately? Gabriel went only 7/19, but had touchdown passes of 57 and 74 yards ending the night with 245 yards:

That many yards on that few completions shows the big play potential of UCF’s offense, and Gabriel led four TD drives in the first half of the blowout win.

Heupel said Wimbush could have played in an emergency and didn’t say anything about his availability for this weekend’s game Stanford.

After just being involved in a QB controversy that saw him go to the bench last year at Notre Dame,  Wimbush might have walked right into another one in Orlando. If he is indeed healthy enough to play in the game against Stanford, it will be interesting to see who starts?

This will be one of the bigger games for the Knights this season and Wimbush has played in some big games in his career from his time in South Bend. We don’t know right now, but come Saturday we may find out what Heupel and has staff think of Gabriel leading them, at least for now. And, do we have a real QB controversy on our hands?

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