UCF Knights football

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UCF Knights Football
2014 UCF Knights football team
University of Central Florida UCF vertical text logo.svg
First season 1979
Athletic director Todd Stansbury
Head coach George O'Leary
11th year, 72–58  (.554)
Other staff Charlie Taaffe (OC)
Tyson Summers (DC)
Home stadium Bright House Networks Stadium
Stadium capacity 45,323
Stadium surface Grass
Location Orlando, Florida
Conference The American
All-time record 216–188–1 (.535)
Postseason bowl record 3–3–0 (.500)
Conference titles 3
Division titles 4
Consensus All-Americans 1
Colors

Black and Gold

          
Fight song Charge On
Mascot Knightro
Marching band Marching Knights
Apparel Nike[1]
Rivals East Carolina Pirates
Marshall Thundering Herd
South Florida Bulls
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Website UCFKnights.com

The UCF Knights football team represents The University of Central Florida (UCF) in the sport of American football. The Knights compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the American Athletic Conference (The American).[2] Their current head coach is George O'Leary, who has led the team since 2004. The Knights play their home games at the 45,000 seat Bright House Networks Stadium, which is located on UCF's main campus in Orlando, Florida, United States.

The University of Central Florida first fielded a varsity football team in the fall of 1979 as a Division III program, and subsequently completed their ascension to Division I–A, now known as the Division I Football Subdivision (FBS), in 1996. As a Division I–AA program, the Knights made the 1990 and 1993 playoffs, and were picked as the preseason No. 1 team to start the 1994 season.[3]

As of the completion of the 2013 regular season, UCF has 215 official victories, has won four division championships (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012), and three conference championships (2007, 2010, 2013). The Knights have made six postseason appearances since joining FBS, in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013, including one BCS bowl game. One Consensus All-American has played at UCF, Kevin Smith in 2007, and the school has produced two Heisman Trophy candidates, Daunte Culpepper (QB) in 1998 and Kevin Smith (RB) in 2007. The program has also produced a long-line of NFL players. Playing in fourteen Super Bowls and including four pro-bowlers, the list most notably includes Brandon Marshall, Bruce Miller, Matt Prater, Asante Samuel, Mike Sims-Walker, and Josh Sitton. The Knights' main rivals are the East Carolina Pirates and the South Florida Bulls.

History[edit]

UCF has had eight head coaches since organized football began in 1979. The Knights have played nearly 400 games in their 34 seasons. In that time, 2 coaches have led the Knights to the postseason: Gene McDowell and George O'Leary. McDowell in 1987, 1990, and 1993, and O'Leary in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012. O'Leary is the only coach to win a division or conference championship at the school. Before leading UCF in 1983 and 1984, Lou Saban was a head coach in both the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL).[4] O'Leary also coached in the NFL between 2002 and 2004.

Tenure Coach Years Record Pct.
1979–1981 Don Jonas 3 14–12–1 .518
1982 Sam Weir 1 0–10 .000
1983–1984 Lou Saban 2 6–12 .333
1984 Jerry Anderson Interim 1–3 .250
1985–1997 Gene McDowell 13 87–61 .587
1998–2003 Mike Kruczek 6 36–30 .545
2003 Alan Gooch Interim 0–2 .000
2004–Present George O'Leary 11 72–58 .554
36 seasons 216–188–1 .535

Don Jonas era (1979–1981)[edit]

The UCF football program can be traced back to a speech given by the university's second president, Dr. Trevor Colbourn, in January 1979. Colbourn believed that a successful athletics program would bring the university greater renown, and tasked Dr. Jack O'Leary with the job of creating a new football program at the school.[5] In addition, Colbourn changed the name of the school to the University of Central Florida, to express the university's expanded academic scope.[6]

Beginning at the Division III level, when the school was still widely known as Florida Technological University, O'Leary, then the university's athletic director, held a meeting of prospective players in March 1979. This would be the first football tryouts for prospective players, and would serve as the first that many students would hear about the new athletic program.[5] O'Leary had previously served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama under Paul "Bear" Bryant. He would spearhead the effort to raise more than $40,000 to start the program, and would complete a deal for the team to play in the Tangerine Bowl.[5] Without a budget to hire a staff, O'Leary reached out to six UCF graduate students as volunteer assistants.[5] From there, O'Leary was able to lure Don Jonas, a former NFL quarterback and Orlando dignitary, to become UCF's first head football coach on a voluntary basis.[5]

One day during a practice, O'Leary pulled the team aside and unveiled the template for uniforms of "The Fighting Knights". He would reveal a template that would follow the team into the 21st century: black jerseys, gold pants and gold helmets.[5] Less than one year after Colbourn had envisioned a football program for the university, UCF hosted its first game on September 22, 1979 against St. Leo University. The Knights would prove victorious with a 21–0 shutout, and less than a week later, the Knights would win their first home game by defeating Ft. Benning, 7–6.[7] Jonas led the Knights to a 6–2 inaugural season, behind an average attendance of 11,240, including a Division III record crowd of 14,138.[7] Following the season, in March 1980, Jonas was offered the Knights head coaching as a full-time position. After leading the team to a 4–4–1 and 4–6 record in 1980 and 1981 respectively, Jonas would leave the Knights following the 1981 season.[7] During the 1980 season, the Knights earned the only tie in program history, an 11–all game against Miles, and Tim Kiggins became the first Knight to sign a professional contract.[7] After his departure, Jonas remained involved in the program, including doing radio broadcasts of UCF football games and a radio sports talk show. Jonas led the Knights to a 14–12–1 (.518) record in three seasons.

Weir and Saban (1982–1984)[edit]

Following the departure of Jonas, Sam Weir, who was the head coach at Lake Howell High School, became UCF's new head coach and led the Knights in their move up to Division II in 1982.[7] Another change to the university's athletic programs in 1982 was the departure of O'Leary as athletic director, and the hiring of Bill Peterson, who was the Florida State Seminoles head coach from 1960–70.[8] In their first season playing Division II ball, the Knights went 0–10, and Weir decided not to return for the 1983 season. One bright spot of the season was that Mike Carter became the first Knight to sign with an NFL team, the Denver Broncos.[8]

Lou Saban replaced Weir as the Knights head coach in 1983. Saban had previously coached at Miami, Army, Northwestern, and in the AFL and NFL with the Buffalo Bills and Boston Patriots, to name just a few.[8] In UCF's first Black and Gold Spring game held in 1983, the defense won 14–6. The Knights finished the 1983 season 5–6, including the team's first win over a Division I–AA opponent.[8] Starting the 1984 season filled with optimism, the Knights were shaken by a 1–6 start. Following the disappointing beginning to the season, Saban stepped away from the program, and was replaced by assistant coach Jerry Anderson.[8] Saban had a 6–12 (.333) record during his tenure as the Knights head coach. Anderson finished out the year with the team in an interim position, with a 1–3 (.250) record. UCF finished the season with a 2–9 mark.[8]

In the course of the three seasons following Jonas' departure, the Knights went through three head coaches, and amassed a 7–25 record.[8]

Gene McDowell era (1985–1997)[edit]

Reeling after a disappointing string of seasons, there were discussions within the community about the possibility of dismantling the program, and Peterson announced his retirement as the university's athletic director. In addition, due to financial troubles, the team had to postpone plans to move up to Division I–AA.[8] Without a head coach or athletic director, President Colbourn hired Florida State assistant coach Gene McDowell to fill both positions. McDowell took the helm in 1985, and hired his eventual successor and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mike Kruczek as his offensive coordinator.[8] The Knights would finish with a 4–7 mark in McDowell's first year, including a 21–42 loss to UCF's first-ever Division I–A opponent, Louisville.[8] Due to financial hardships, McDowell waived half of his annual salary, and FSU head coach Bobby Bowden donated uniforms and cleats to the program.[8]

McDowell would the lead the Knights to their first winning season since 1979, with a 6–5 record in 1986.[9] Also that year, Ted Wilson became the first UCF player to be selected in the NFL draft, being picked by the Washington Redskins in the 10th round. Following an 8–3 regular season record in 1987, the Knights earned their first trip to the Division II playoffs, where they earned a 1–1 record.[9] After starting the 1988 season with five straight wins, UCF would be ranked No. 2 in Division II.[9] During a game against the defending D-II national champions Troy at the Citrus Bowl, UCF fans were so loud at one point that the Trojans quarterback Bob Godsey couldn't call plays. Godsey complained to the referee about the crowd noise, but instead of helping Troy, the referee called a delay of game penalty on the Trojans.[10] The "noise penalty" is infamous at UCF, and the win over Troy thrust the Knights into the position as the No. 1 ranked team in D-II.[9] Between 1986 and 1990 under the leadership of McDowell, the Knights held a 24–6 record at the Citrus Bowl.[9]

During McDowell's tenure, the program moved up to Division I–AA in 1990.[11] In their first year in the division, the Knights earned a 10–4 record, a program best, and a trip to the I–AA playoffs. UCF would make it to the semifinals, and became the first school in history to qualify for the I–AA playoffs in its first season of eligibility.[11] The Knights would finish the 1991 and 1992 with winning seasons as well. In 1992, Dr. John Hitt, UCF's fourth president, announced that the program would make the move to Division I–A in 1996, and he hired Steve Sloan as the university's new athletic director.[11] Earning their eighth winning season in 1993, the Knights would again make the playoffs.[11] During the season, the team won their first game over a Division I–A team, a 38–16 victory at Louisiana Tech. After another impressive season, UCF was selected as the preseason No. 1 to start the 1994 season. The 1994 season would prove disappointing however, as the Knights would finish the season ranked No. 20 with a 7–4 record.[11] During the team's final season in Division I–AA, the Knights were reinvigorated by freshman sensation Daunte Culpepper. The quarterback would lead the Knights to a 6–5 record, and their tenth straight winning season in 1995.[12]

On September 1, 1996, UCF officially made its foray into Division I–A. At that time, the Knights became the first football program to play in four different NCAA divisions (III, II, I–AA and I–A).[12] In their first two seasons in Division I–A, the Knights posted identical 5–6 records behind Culpepper. In 1997, assistant coach Alan Gooch was named the national assistant coach of the year, due to his work with deaf tailback Dwight Collins.[12] In the wake of a federal fraud scandal revolving around improper cellular phone benefits and use, McDowell resigned as head coach on January 20, 1998.[12][13] Over his 13–year tenure at UCF, McDowell earned an 87–61 (.587) record.

Mike Kruczek era (1998–2003)[edit]

The Citrus Bowl, the Knights home field from 1979 to 2006.

After the abrupt departure of McDowell, Mike Kruczek was named UCF's new head coach on an interim basis. He would receive the position permanently later in 1998.[12] Daunte Culpepper led UCF to its best season ever with a 9-2 record in 1998 (with losses only coming to Purdue and Auburn). Culpepper finished 6th in the Heisman Trophy voting and set the NCAA record for completion percentage that year (73.4%).[12] Following the season, Culpepper was drafted with the 11th pick in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings, marking the highest ever draft pick of a UCF player.[12]

The Knights proved to be a scary team on the road, with close losses including a 10-6 loss at Auburn in 1998, a 24-23 loss at Georgia in 1999, and a 21-17 loss at Georgia Tech in 2000. Kruczek's biggest victory would come in 2000 against Alabama in Tuscaloosa, when the Knights won 40–38 on a last-second field goal by Javier Beorlegui.[14] After finishing 9–2 in 1998, UCF received a tentative verbal agreement to play in the inaugural Oahu Bowl. That arrangement, however, was contingent on UCLA finishing the season undefeated; the Oahu Bowl was otherwise committed to taking a team from the Pac-10.[15] On the final day of the regular season, Miami upset UCLA, setting off a chain reaction that sent Washington to the Oahu Bowl and left the Knights out in the cold.

Kruczek guided the team as a Division I-A independent until 2001. After six difficult years as an independent, UCF played its much-anticipated first season as a member of the Mid-American Conference in 2002.[14] They finished runner-up in the East division with a 6–2 record. They finished the season 7–5 overall, completing their 14th winning season in the past 17 years. The excitement however, would be short-lived.[14] After signing a three-year contract extension to begin the 2003 season, Kruczek was fired following a 3–7 start. Kruczek was replaced on an interim basis by Assistant coach and former player Alan Gooch who finished out the dismal 3-9 season with losses to Mid-American Conference rivals Marshall and Miami (OH).[14] The Marshall game marked UCF's first nationally televised home football game as it was aired on ESPN2. Kruczek ended his 6–year stewardship of UCF with a 36–30 (.545) record.

An increasing travel burden, and lack of natural rivals within the midwest-based MAC saw UCF begin to explore the possibility of a different conference affiliation after just a couple years in the conference.[14] In 2003, UCF was invited as an all-sports member to Conference USA for the 2005 season.[14]

George O'Leary era (2004–present)[edit]

Following the disappointing 2003 season, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator George O'Leary was named UCF's new head coach in 2004.[16] This was a controversial hire on several fronts because O'Leary had previously been named head coach at Notre Dame, but was relieved of his duties five days into his tenure after inconsistencies were found on his resume.[16] The difficult coaching transition for 2004, the Knights' final year in the Mid-American Conference, saw the team hit rock bottom, going 0–11.

In 2005, UCF started their first season as a member of Conference USA. Not expected to improve much over 2004, they surprisingly won their first conference game against Marshall, 23–13, ending the school's 17-game losing streak, then the nation's longest streak.[16] UCF fans celebrated by storming the field and tearing down the goal posts. Students came back to the campus and celebrated further by jumping into UCF's Reflection Pond (a practice normally reserved for Spirit Splash). UCF then went on to win eight out of the remaining nine games on their schedule, finishing 7–1 in C-USA games, winning the East Division and hosting the first ever C-USA Championship game, which they lost, 44-27, to Tulsa.[16] Shortly thereafter, UCF was invited to play in their first ever bowl game, the Hawaii Bowl, losing to Nevada 49–48 in overtime due to a missed PAT that would have tied the game. In 2005 O'Leary was chosen by SportsIllustrated.com for the coach of the year award and received votes for the larger Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year award.[16] In May 2006, UCF extended O'Leary's contract for 10 years and increased his pay to $1 million plus incentives per year after he engineered the fourth-best turnaround in college football history.[17]

Bright House Networks Stadium, the Knights home field since 2007.

After an anemic 2006 which saw the Golden Knights go a mere 4–8, the team rebranded in 2007 in preparation for its move to its new on-campus venue, Bright House Networks Stadium. They dropped the "Golden" from their name, becoming the "UCF Knights".[18] Fortunes seemed to have changed as the Knights moved into new facilities. After defeating a BCS school for just the second time ever, the NC State Wolfpack, they inaugurated their new stadium by hosting and losing to the No. 6 ranked Texas Longhorns 35-32. The Knights lost to regional rival South Florida 64–12 in Tampa, but went on to have a 5–1 regular season at home and won the C-USA East again, hosting the Championship game against Tulsa once more. UCF defeated Tulsa in a near-reversal of the 2005 Conference USA Championship Game 44-25, thereby gaining UCF's first ever Conference Championship title and a berth in the 2007 Liberty Bowl. Following UCF's victory, the Knights received 35 votes in the AP Poll, but did not reach the top 25, ranking 27th. The Knights lost the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, TN; 10-3 to Mississippi State. The Knights went on to finish the year with its first 10 win season in the FBS. In 2007, Kevin Smith rushed for 2,567 yards, placing him 2nd on the NCAA's all-time single season rushing list behind Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders. Despite this, he was not selected even as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy or the Doak Walker Award. He also was the only running back in the 2007 season to rush for more than 100 yards against the Texas Longhorns. He was a fan favorite, especially with student section at Brighthouse Networks Stadium. Smith originally stated that he would return for his senior season at UCF,[19] however, he later changed his mind, announcing on January 6, 2008 that he would declare for the NFL Draft.[20] He went with the first pick in the third round, to the Detroit Lions.

On March 18, 2008, running back Ereck Plancher collapsed shortly after a conditioning drill, and was then transported to a nearby hospital where he died approximately one hour later. ESPN's "Outside The Lines" program on November 2, 2008 interviewed players who were at the training session at which Plancher became ill, and which after he died, and stated that the session was longer and far more rigorous than O'Leary and other UCF Athletics officials have admitted to publicly.[21] They also alleged that O'Leary and other coaches had initially warned players off from providing assistance to Plancher when he became visibly distressed. After a 14–day trial in 2011, a jury found the UCF Athletics Association guilty of negligence in the death of Plancher. The jury awarded each of his parents $5 million.[22]

After a lackluster 4-8 season in 2008, UCF bounced back with an 8-4 record in 2009, including winning their last six straight C-USA games. Among those wins was their first victory over a nationally ranked team, beating then No. 12 Houston on November 14, 37–32 at Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF finished the 2009 season 8–5, with a 45–24 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the St. Petersburg Bowl, their third bowl appearance in five years. Entering the 2010 season, with the recruitment of Jeffrey Godfrey and return of key seniors, including Bruce Miller, there were high hopes for the Knights. After winning 5 straight games, and posting an 11-game conference winning streak, the Knights were ranked for the first time in school history following their nationally televised 40–33 victory over the Houston Cougars on the road. For the polls released on November 7, 2010, UCF was ranked in all three major college polls. The Knights were ranked 25 in the AP Poll, 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 25 in the Harris Poll.[23] In their first game as a nationally ranked squad, the Knights fell 31-21 to Southern Miss in Orlando.[24] UCF would bounce back and defeat Tulane 61–14 and Memphis 37–17. With the wins, the Knights secured the Eastern Division championship and reentered the polls.

The Knights would go on to win the 2010 Conference USA championship game, defeating SMU 17–7.[25] Following the win, UCF entered the BCS Standings for the first time in program history, ranking No. 25.[26] The Knights ended the 2010 season with a 10–6 victory over Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, marking the team's first-ever bowl victory.[27] UCF would end the season ranked 20th in the final coaches poll and 21st in the final AP rankings.[28]

2011 proved to be a disappointing season as UCF finished with a losing record, and were not bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. The season included out-of-conference losses to FIU and BYU, as well as conference losses to then-winless UAB, a 1–point loss to then-ranked No. 23 Southern Miss and the continuation of the Knights woes at quarterback, as Jeff Godfrey and Blake Bortles battled for playing time. Following the 2011 season, Jeff Godfrey planned on transferring, though be later decided to return to the Knights as a wide-receiver. Following an investigation into recruiting violations in the men's basketball and football programs in 2011, on July 31, 2012, the NCAA announced sanctions – in addition to penalties UCF had previously self-imposed. The NCAA imposed a one-year postseason football ban. The penalty is in addition to a $50,000 fine, adding two years to UCF's previously proposed three years' probation, reduction of football scholarships, and tighter limits of football recruiting visiting days.[29][30] In 2012, the Knights won their fourth C-USA East Division championship, though they would fall 27–33 to Tulsa in the league title game. UCF would play in the 2012 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl and come in motivated after the heartbreaking loss to Tulsa. The Knights would win 38-17 as Blake Bortles would be named MVP.

On April 19, 2013, UCF won their appeal with the NCAA and was eligible for postseason play in 2013.[31] The appeal would prove crucial, as in 2013, O'Leary led the Knights to their first twelve-win season (12–1), first perfect conference record (8–0), first win against a Big Ten opponent (Penn State), first win against a Top–10 team (No. 6 Louisville), third conference title, and the programs first appearance and victory in a BCS bowl game, defeating No. 6 Baylor 52–42 in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. The game was one of the biggest upsets of the BCS era.[32][33] On January 7, 2014, UCF was ranked No. 10 in the seasons final AP Poll, the highest ranking in school history.

Home venues[edit]

Citrus Bowl (1979–2006)[edit]

UCF at the Citrus Bowl in 2005

Until 2007, the Knights had played all of their home games at the Citrus Bowl in downtown Orlando. Located about 10 miles (16 km) from UCF's main campus, the stadium originally opened in 1936. Though UCF would not play its first football game at the Citrus Bowl until September 1979, a 7–6 victory over Fort Benning, the stadium's first college football game was played in January 1947 between Catawba and Maryville.[7]

By 2005, Orlando-city officials in conjunction with UCF's administration, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the aging facility. While UCF was the primary leasing tenant of the Citrus Bowl for nearly three decades, they received minimal revenue from football games, and the stadium's 70,000 seat capacity was seen as too large for the Knights. With an average attendance of 30,000–40,000 people per game, the stadium was left with the appearance of being largely empty. When the university approached the city about possible renovations and new revenue-sharing measures for the stadium, they were met with resistance. The city wanted UCF to consider relocating, or to spend considerable expense to upgrade the facility. At one point during the negotiations, stadium officials told then UCF Athletic Director Steve Orsini that "the value of UCF's fans was nothing."[34]

Bright House Networks Stadium (2007–present)[edit]

Bright House Networks Stadium during its inaugural game.

In early 2005, as a response to the deteriorating condition of the Citrus Bowl, and lack of revenue derived from the games there, UCF proposed building an on-campus stadium for the first time. In December 2005, the UCF Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new on-campus stadium.[35] The new stadium, Bright House Networks Stadium was originally planned to open in time for the 2006 football season, but neighborhood opposition delayed the time frame by a year.

Stadium construction began in 2006 and was finished in time for the 2007 season. The first home-game took place on September 15, 2007, as the Knights nearly upset the No. 6-ranked Texas Longhorns. The seating capacity of the stadium is 45,323, though plans for an expansion to 65,000 seats are in place. Although the Knights lost their first on-campus home game, they finished the remainder of the stadium's inaugural season undefeated, including the Conference USA home opener against Memphis. UCF hosted and won the 2007 and 2010 C-USA Championship Games, defeating Tulsa and SMU, respectively.

Rivalries[edit]

Though UCF remains a relatively young program that has shifted conferences several times, a number of key rivalries have developed in the last decade. The most notable is the UCF–South Florida rivalry against in-state opponents the University of South Florida Bulls, played from 2005 to 2008, and since 2013.[36] Other rivalries include former conference opponents, the Marshall University Thundering Herd and the East Carolina University Pirates.

East Carolina[edit]

The UCF–East Carolina rivalry began with the teams' first meeting in 1991, with annual meetings beginning in 2005 when the Knights entered C-USA. Playing in the same division East Carolina and UCF were permanent opponents under the conference's scheduling structure. In recent years, the match between UCF and East Carolina has determined the winner of the Eastern Division. In 2007, UCF's only conference loss came at the hands of the Pirates. UCF won the division anyway, and ultimately took the conference title. In 2008, UCF was looking like they were going to ruin East Carolina's dreams of the Eastern Division title like they did to Marshall, but with a late rally, the Pirates won in overtime making the Pirates the first C-USA team to beat UCF in Bright House Networks Stadium. A loss at East Carolina also determined them as the Eastern Division champions in 2009, while a UCF win at home was the difference in 2010. In the final scheduled meeting of the two schools in 2012, it would be UCF that would win 40–20, despite falling behind 14–0 early on. As of now, the final count in the series in 9–3 in favor of East Carolina. The rivalry will most likely resume when the Pirates join UCF in the American Athletic Conference in 2014.[37]

UCF–East Carolina: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting UCF win UCF loss Win %
12 September 21, 1991 (loss 47–25) October 14, 2012 (win 40–20) 3 9 25%

Marshall[edit]

The UCF–Marshall rivalry was one of Knight's main rivalries, with the teams first meeting as members of the Mid-American Conference in 2002. In 2005, both programs moved to C-USA. The teams are natural rivals due to the number of meetings and the comparable size of the programs, and teams joined the FBS a year apart. The similarities and histories between the two programs help to fuel the fire in this rivalry. UCF's first football victory over Marshall in 2005, ended the then Golden Knights' 17–game losing streak.[38] In 2008, UCF played spoiler to Marshall, beating them to allow East Carolina to jump the Herd for the C-USA Eastern Division lead. Further aggravating the rivalry in 2009, not only did UCF win its game against the Herd in Orlando with 23 seconds on the clock, but in the summer of 2010 the Knights hired then Marshall head basketball coach Donnie Jones.[39] The series concluded for now on October 27, 2012 with a 54–17 win for UCF.[40] It was not only the largest margin of victory in the series, but it was also the worst home loss for Marshall. UCF's departure for the American Athletic Conference in 2013 season brought an end to the annual rivalry. The 11 game series concluded in UCF's favor 8–3. UCF never lost as a C-USA competitor to Marshall and will hold an 8 game win streak in the series. Most no longer consider the series as a rivalry, as Marshall has not been competitive in meetings for nearly a decade.

UCF–Marshall: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting UCF win UCF loss Win %
11 September 20, 2002 (loss 26–21) October 27, 2012 (win 54–17) 8 3 72.7%

South Florida[edit]

The UCF–South Florida rivalry dates years before the two schools ever played a game against each other. The matchup was the subject of much discussion and fan enthusiasm since the 1990s, though the first game was not played until 2005. The rivalry, sometimes known as the "War on I–4" or "I–4 Corridor Clash",[41] continued as a four home-and-away series through the 2008 season. The Bulls won each of the four games, which all drew strong crowds, but South Florida declined to continue the series after 2008.[42][43][44] The UCF–South Florida game resumed as a regular conference game beginning with the 2013 season, as UCF joined the American Athletic Conference.[45] The Knights won the first game as conference members 23–20 before 45,952 in Orlando.[46]

UCF–South Florida: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting UCF win UCF loss Win %
5 September 17, 2005 (loss 31–14) November 30, 2013 (win 23–20) 1 4 20%

Tulsa[edit]

The games between the Knights and Tulsa Golden Hurricane occurred on a two-year scheduling cycle when both schools were members of C-USA, except for three times that the teams met in the Conference USA title game (2005, 2007, 2012).[47] Tulsa leads the series 5–2, with the Golden Hurricane winning three times in the regular season and twice in the conference championship game.[48] In both 2007 and 2012, the Golden Hurricane and Knights played each other twice, once in the regular season and once in the conference championship.

UCF–Tulsa: All-Time Records
Games played First meeting Last meeting UCF win UCF loss Win %
7 December 3, 2005 (loss 44–27) December 1, 2012 (loss 33–27) 2 5 28.6%

Program records and achievements[edit]

Conference championships[edit]

George O'Leary is the only coach in program history to lead the Knights to the postseason since joining the FBS in 1996. Under O'Leary's leadership, the Knights won four C-USA Eastern Division Championships (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012), and two Conference USA Championships (2007, 2010). O'Leary also led the Knights to The American conference championship in their first year in the league (2013), earning the conference's automatic berth to a BCS bowl game.

Season Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
2007 C-USA George O'Leary 10–4 7–1
2010 C-USA George O'Leary 11–3 7–1
2013 The American George O'Leary 12–1 8–0
Total Conference Championships 3

Divisional championships[edit]

UCF made four appearances in the Conference USA Championship Game, more than any other C-USA school, with the last being in 2012. Three of the four appearances were against Tulsa of the Western Division. The Knights won two of the four C-USA Championship Games in which they appeared.

Season Division Coach Championship Game Result
2005 C-USA East George O'Leary Tulsa 44, UCF 27
2007 C-USA East George O'Leary Tulsa 25, UCF 44
2010 C-USA East George O'Leary SMU 7, UCF 17
2012 C-USA East George O'Leary Tulsa 33, UCF 27
Total Division Championships 4

Bowl games[edit]

Further information: List of UCF Knights bowl games

UCF has played in six bowl games in its history – including one BCS Bowl – and owns a 3–3 record in those games. UCF has been bowl eligible for six of the past nine seasons, after receiving its first bowl invitation in 2005. The Knights nearly earned a bowl berth in 1998, when Daunte Culpepper led the team to a 9–2 record.[49][50]

Season Bowl Game Winner Loser
2005 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl Nevada 49 UCF 48
2007 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Mississippi State 10 UCF 3
2009 St. Petersburg Bowl Rutgers 45 UCF 24
2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl No. 24 UCF 10 Georgia 6
2012 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl UCF 38 Ball State 17
2013 Fiesta Bowl No. 15 UCF 52 No. 6 Baylor 42
Bowl Record 3–3 (.500)

Individual awards and honors[edit]

All-Americans[edit]

Every year, several publications release lists of the their ideal "team". The athletes on these lists are referred to as All-Americans. The NCAA recognizes five All-American lists. They are the Associated Press (AP), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), Sporting News (TSN), and the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WCFF). UCF has had numerous players honored as first team All-Americans. To date, Kevin Smith is the only Consensus All-American.[51]

Conference honors[edit]

2013: George O'Leary
2010: George O'Leary
2007: George O'Leary
2005: George O'Leary
2013: Blake Bortles
2007: Kevin Smith
2012: Kemal Ishmael
2010: Bruce Miller
2009: Bruce Miller
2012: Quincy McDuffie
2008: Joe Burnett
2010: Jeff Godfrey
2005: Kevin Smith

Heisman Trophy[edit]

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper and running back Kevin Smith are the only Knights to be finalists for the Heisman Trophy.[52][53]

Year Name Position Finish
1998 Daunte Culpepper Quarterback 6th
2007 Kevin Smith Running Back 8th

Honored numbers[edit]

UCF retires a student-athlete's jersey but does not retire the respective jersey numbers. The Knights coaching staff can choose to reissue a given number, as the retirement of the jersey does not require that the number not be worn again.[54]

Knights in the NFL[edit]

A football players looking towards his sideline.
Brandon Marshall, Class of 2006

Knights in the Pro Bowl[edit]

Knights in the Super Bowl[edit]

Schedule[edit]

UCF is one of 11 full members of the newly expanded American Athletic Conference.[58][59] Beginning in 2015, UCF will be a member of the Eastern Division of the American Athletic Conference. Division rivals will include Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, South Florida, and Temple. The Western Division will consist of Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane, and Tulsa. UCF will play an eight-game conference schedule, four home and four away.[60] These games operate on a two-year cycle, as a home-and-home series.

The Knights currently have games scheduled through 2017.[61] Among the games scheduled are finishing a home-and-away series with South Carolina (2015 away). They also have an away game against Texas (2017).[61] Of note is that the game against the Longhorns will be the final game of a three-game contract between UCF and Texas.[62] The contract was organized as such: for the first game, the Knights would host the Longhorns to open up their new stadium, Bright House Networks Stadium; the remaining games (one was played in 2009) would be played at Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, the home stadium of the Longhorns, as a "repayment" for opening UCF's new stadium. The Knights are near the end of a 6-game series with FIU from 2011–2016, which started with a 2011 away game at FIU Stadium in Miami.[61]

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

2015 2016 2017 2019
vs. Florida International at Michigan at Texas vs. Stanford
at Stanford vs. Maryland at Maryland
at South Carolina at Florida International
Reference: [63]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General:

  • Holic, Nathan, and the UCF Alumni Association. University of Central Florida: The Campus History Series (2009), ISBN 978-0-7385-6768-6
  • MacCambridge, Michael. ESPN College Football Encyclopedia: The Complete history of the Game (2005), ISBN 1-4013-3703-1

In-text:

  1. ^ "UCF reaches shoe and apparel agreement with Nike covering all sports". Orlando Sentinel. 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  2. ^ McMurphy, Brett. "Old Big East now American Athletic". ESPN. Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "Division I–AA Football Comes to Orlando". University of Central Florida Athletic Association. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  4. ^ "Longtime coach Saban dies at age 87". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 29, 2009. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "The Birth of Saturday Knights Live: Part 1 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Facts About UCF". UCF Office of Institutional Research. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Finally, Gametime Arrives: Part 2 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Knights Move Up to D-II: Part 3 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "UCF Develops Winning Ways: Part 4 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  10. ^ "Ten Memorable Home Football Games". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Division I–AA Football Comes to Orlando: Part 5 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Daunte's World... Orlando's Biggest Attraction: Part 6 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Plus: College Football -- Central Florida; Coach Quits After Guilty Plea". The New York Times. January 21, 1998. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f "UCF Football Flashback - Going on Krucz Control: Part 7 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  15. ^ Schmitz, Brian (1998-12-06). "The UM Grinch Ruins the Party for the Knights". Orlando Sentinel. 
  16. ^ a b c d e "George O'Leary Makes His Mark at UCF: Part 8 of 8 - The History of UCF Football". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  17. ^ "UCF Football Coach O'Leary Signs 10-Year Contract Extension". University of Central Florida. 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  18. ^ "UCF Athletics Reveals New Logo and Font". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  19. ^ Associated Press (2007-12-18). "Smith aiming for Sanders' single-season, Dayne's career rushing records". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (2008-01-06). "UCF's Smith turning pro, reversing decision from last month". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  21. ^ "Report: Plancher showed signs of distress at end of workout". ESPN. 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  22. ^ Limón, Iliana (2011-06-30). "Ereck Plancher trial: Jury finds UCFAA guilty of negligence in Plancher's death". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  23. ^ "UCF ranked No. 23 in coaches poll and No. 25 in AP, vaulting into Top 25 for first time in school history". Orlando Sentinel. 2010-11-07. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  24. ^ "Austin Davis rallies Southern Miss, throwing for 264 yards, 4 TDs". ESPN. 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  25. ^ "UCF defeats SMU for Conference USA 2010 Title". ESPN. 2010-12-04. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  26. ^ Limón, Iliana (2010-12-06). "UCF ranked No. 25 in final BCS standings". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  27. ^ "UCF caps best season in school history with bowl win". ESPN. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
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  29. ^ "NCAA adds 1-year postseason bans to UCF penalties". WESH TV Orlando. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  30. ^ "NCAA adds 1-year postseason bans to UCF penalties". NBC News. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  31. ^ "UCF wins NCAA appeal, no postseason ban for 2013". CFN 13. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  32. ^ Young, Bob (January 2, 2014). "UCF Kicks Down Door, Crashes Final BCS Party". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix). Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  33. ^ Jackson, Darrell (January 2, 2014). "UCF Pulls Biggest Upset in BCS with 52-42 Victory Over Baylor". Glendale Star. Retrieved January 2, 2014. 
  34. ^ "UCF president John Hitt: On-campus stadium a 'godsend'". Orlando Sentinel. 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  35. ^ "UCF Trustees Approve Financing Plan, Groundbreaking for On-Campus Football Stadium". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2012-12-02. 
  36. ^ "USF, UCF Finally Meet". Sun-Sentinel. 2005-09-16. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  37. ^ "Tulane, ECU to Join Big East in '14, Leaving C-USA". ABC News. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  38. ^ "UCF beats Marshall, snaps 17–game losing streak". ESPN. 2005-09-24. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  39. ^ "UCF hires Marshall's Donnie Jones as coach". USA Today. 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  40. ^ "UCF's Marshall rivalry comes to an end". Chicago Tribune. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  41. ^ "Getting Prepared for I-4 Corridor Clash". South Florida Bulls. November 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  42. ^ Greg Auman (August 16, 2006). "Schedule news, new commitment ...". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  43. ^ Greg Auman (September 6, 2008). "Should USF play UCF every year?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  44. ^ Greg Auman (April 29, 2011). "USF says no contracts proposed for football with UCF". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 14, 2012. 
  45. ^ Mike Bianchi (2011-12-07). "Finally, Big East gives UCF some much-needed good news". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  46. ^ Kyle Hightower (November 30, 2013). "No. 17 UCF survives scare from rival USF, 23-20". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  47. ^ "UCF Football Game Notes - C-USA Championship Dec. 1". University of Central Florida Athletic Association. 2012-11-26. Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  48. ^ "C-USA Championship Postgame Notes Tulsa vs UCF". University of Tulsa Athletic Association. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  49. ^ "UCF, Root For Rout Of Miami". Orlando Sentinel. 1998-12-05. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  50. ^ "Silent Knights: Miami's Win Is UCF's Loss". Orlando Sentinel. 1998-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  51. ^ "Awards compiled NCAA 2008 Record Book Division 1 Football". NCAA. DocStoc. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  52. ^ "1998 Heisman Trophy - 64th Award". Heisman Trust. 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  53. ^ "2007 Heisman Trophy - 73rd Award". Heisman Trust. 2007. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  54. ^ "Policy Governing the Commemoration of Athletic Jerseys". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  55. ^ a b c d "UCF Athletics To Commemorate Four Football Jerseys During Homecoming Game vs. Rice". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  56. ^ "Current NFL Players". ESPN. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  57. ^ "2010 NFL draft: UCF’s Torell Troup was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the second round". Orlando Sentinel. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  58. ^ Limón Romero, Iliana. "UCF, other departing C-USA members on track to pay exit fees without fight". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  59. ^ Rybaltowski, Matt. "Big East announces divisions for 2013-14: Louisville, Cincy in East; Temple in West". CBSSports.com. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  60. ^ Myerberg, Paul (2012-11-13). "Big East announces divisions, adds conference title game". USA Today. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  61. ^ a b c "UCF Announces Future Non-Conference Football Games". University of Central Florida Athletics Association. 2010-09-03. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  62. ^ Hightower, Kyle. "UCF wants Texas in '07". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  63. ^ FBSchedules.com, UCF Knights Football Schedules and Future Schedules. Retrieved August 25, 2014.

External links[edit]