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UCF in Position For BCS Run

The Knights hope the stands will be this full four more times this season.

The Knights hope the stands will be this full four more times this season.

The UCF Knights find themselves in a position they have never been in before. They are in a position to make a run at being this year’s BCS Buster. Well, technically they may not be a “Buster” since their new conference, the American Athletic Conference is an “AQ” conference. This means the winner of the AAC is going to a BCS Bowl no matter what. A BCS Buster is a team like Fresno State who is coming from a “Non-AQ” conference and must finish in the Top 15. But for UCF, this feels like a BCS Buster scenario.

The Knights came into this season as a nobody from a non-AQ Conference, Conference-USA, in their first season as a BCS-AQ school. This conference was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Louisville Cardinals in their one season before jumping to the ACC next year. But UCF had other plans. After going to Happy Valley and beating the Penn State Nittany Lions and then coming only three points short of beating the South Carolina Gamecocks, UCF came into last week’s game at Louisville with a lot of confidence. The 14-point underdogs never quit, even when their punter, Shawn Moffitt dropped the ball while trying to punt it and gave the Cards an easy score to make it 28-7 in the third quarter.

UCF then scored three touchdowns in the last 4:50 of the third quarter thanks to some great running from Storm Johnson and William Stanback and some stellar quarterback play from Blake Bortles. The Knights defense also stepped up to put some pressure and ruin the Heisman Trophy chances of the Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Mid-way through the fourth quarter, UCF took the lead 31-28 on a 34 yard field goal. It was the first time Louisville had trailed in a game all season.  Bridgewater then answered with a nice touchdown drive to out them back on top 35-31 but Bortles was not done. He hit Jeff Godfrey in the back of the end zone culminating a fine last minute drive to win it 38-35.

Now the Knights go from the “hunters” to the “hunted”. UCF has never been hunted before, unless you count teams trying to keep them out of the C-USA Championship game. They’ve never played with something this big on the line. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. One thing in their favor is they have a grisled old veteran coach in George O’Leary. He has been in this position before. Looking ahead, the Knights take on the Connecticut Huskies this week at home. In fact, they still have four home games left out of the last six. After UConn, the Houston Cougars come to town in what will likely be their stiffest test. If they are still unbeaten after those two games, they have a road game next at the Temple Owls, which should be easy. Then they have two more “be careful” games against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and South Florida Bulls, which UCF is a combined 0-5 lifetime. If the Knights can get through all of that, then the last game at the SMU Mustangs will be the biggest game in school history.

Bovada has UConn +23 -115 and UCF -23 -105 ATS. We like UCF to win the game, but we think they may have a tough time covering 23 points after such an emotional win. Take UConn +23.

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