After a surprise showing in 2005, where they went 7-1 in C-USA and 8-3 in the regular season overall, UCF suffered a bit of a letdown, going 4-8 in 2006 under the new 12-game regular season schedule, and 3-5 in-conference. Their sole non-conference win came against I-AA Villanova. Part of the problem was the transition from a pass-dominated offense led by graduated wide receiver Brandon Marshall to a run-dominated offense led by sophomore running back Kevin Smith.
2006 was the final year that UCF would play at the Citrus Bowl. Under construction by the time the season started was a new 45,000-seat on-campus stadium, which would open in time for the 2007 season as part of a massive upgrade of the school's on-campus athletic facilities. It would also be the final year that UCF would play under the "Golden Knights" nickname. They would drop "Golden" before the 2007 season, becoming simply the UCF Knights.