ORLANDO, FL — To burrow from locally-based Disney, but once upon a time, football giants such as Florida, Florida State and Miami ruled the Sunshine State in terms of talent, ten combined national championships and wins.
Now, it appears that Florida has a new power that has claimed supremacy throughout this talent-laden state. The University Of Central Florida.
UCF, ranked No.17 in the AP, welcomes PAC-12 power and perennial college football powerhouse, Stanford to Spectrum Stadium. Words cannot even begin to express the excitement and anticipation of a big-name Power 5 program such as the Stanford Cardinal traveling more than 2,000 miles east to play against an up-coming power in college football in UCF.
The game, which is the second in a two-game series between the two programs, with Stanford winning 31-7 out in Palo Alto, thanks to then-tailback Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love.
Current New Orleans Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith scored the Knights lone touchdown, as UCF managed a mere 181 yards of offense.
A win over Stanford today wouldn’t only even their mark vs. the Cardinal at 1-1, but also give the Knights their first-ever win over a PAC-12 team, as well as extend UCF’s home-winning streak to 17 games and give the Knights 34 wins as a ranked team.
As I stated on my Facebook, I know I’m going to get some hate and some lazy trolls commenting about UCF doesn’t play in a Power Five Conference and that they don’t play anyone.
To that I say bullshit.
Over the last three years, the Knights have played Pitt, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Auburn, LSU and now Stanford. Since 2017, UCF has a 3-1 record vs. Power Five opponents, boasting a .750 winning percentage, second-best among non-Power Five schools.
It is not fair and a very lazy take—and some serious low-hanging hanging fruit—to make such a statement.
In today’s Insta-social media driven world of hyperspeed and what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society world we live in, UCF has a 31-8 mark since ‘16 including a claimed national title in ’17. The Knights have a better record over the last four years than their so-called “big brother” bigger-name also-rans such as Miami, Florida and Florida State.
Wonder what the Hurricanes, Gators and Noles’ records are since 2016?
- UCF: 31-8
- Miami (FL) : 26-13
- Florida: 23-14
- Florida State: 22-16
Once considered a second-tier directional school stuck in the middle of Disney World, that players passed over the the “Big Three” in Tallahassee, Gainesville and Coral Gables, is now becoming a must-see destination for five and four-star recruits looking for a place to play and ball out.
With talks of future stadium expansion and quality out of-conference games in the future, a growing national brand and fanbase as well and current NFL alum such as the fore mentioned Smith, Brandon Marshall, Blake Bortles, Daunte Culpepper, Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin, the Knights are not only changing the conversation of an expanded CFP for non Power 5 teams—as well as calling them out on their own bullshit—but also playing and winning vs. the so called big boys.
It’s also amusing how the Gators and Canes decided to schedule their ugly season opener in Orlando, but have both basically ducked playing the Knights. Despite what both Florida and Miami—mainly the Gators have claimed in not ducking UCF—they along with every other Power 5 program are coming around to the realization that the Knights are a growing national power that they don’t want any part of.
With an up-coming out of conference road game at Pitt, AAC rival Cincinnati in the Queen City, and today vs. the Cardinal, a dominating win vs. Stanford would go a long way in not only silencing UCF critics, but also laying claim to Florida state football supremacy as a whole.
Stats and information courtesy of UCFKnights.com
Also published on Medium.