CFF sports report card
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 17:04
It’s finals time all around campus and in the spirit of the end of the school year, the Central Florida Future has decided to dish out some grades of its own. The sports staff considered a few different criteria while putting together this report card for UCF Athletics, including results on the field, how those results measured up to expectations and how much buzz the programs generated. Below are our grades for UCF’s major varsity sports teams.
Football: The expectations were through the roof. The results … well, the Knights didn’t play a game in December, enough said. A 5-7 record and not gaining bowl eligibility was possibly the worst possible outcome for this program and effectively killed all the momentum after a historic 2010 season. Take into account that six of the seven losses were by six points or fewer, and that this was a team that was very young at some very important positions, and it’s not all doom and gloom, though.
Men's Basketball: It was a season full of highs and lows for Keith Clanton and the Knights. Mostly highs. UCF defeated defending champion UConn, made its first appearance in the NIT and notched a historic home win against Memphis. On the other hand, they dropped some games they should have won and made a very quick, quiet exit from the NIT. All things considered, though, men’s basketball’s popularity has grown enormously on campus and in the community, and the program seems to be heading in the right direction.
Baseball: Terry Rooney’s bunch is on fire right now. So why not an A? Fact is, with the way Rooney recruits, this sort of success has been expected. Also, dropping both games at home earlier this season to visiting FSU may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but beating the Noles is the type of thing that generates more buzz for the program. Still, this team is very deserving of the highest mark among the men’s programs and may very well be on the road to Omaha this summer.
Men's Soccer: 2011 was a great success for UCF soccer. The Knights beat two ranked teams and three in-state rivals en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance. In the opening round, UCF notched a memorable and thrilling victory over FIU. Unfortunately, the Knights fell in the second round to rival USF, but hopefully Bryan Cunningham’s program can build on the buzz it generated last season.
Men's Golf: The Knights are ranked No. 20 in the country and came up just short of winning a fourth straight Conference USA championship this week, so the program is certainly one of the best on campus. Men’s golf comes up just short of receiving an A, though, because we have to wait and see what Brad Schneider and his teammates can accomplish on a national stage in May.
Men's Tennis: The Knights lost more than they won, finishing 10-13, and didn’t give fans much to talk about. Fortunately, the team is young and started to improve toward the end of the season, so things may be getting better.
Track & Field: The only outright A awarded on this report card goes to Caryl Smith Gilbert’s program. While baseball is ranked higher, the track team is boosted by its star power, believe it or not. Octavious Freeman, for her part, is easily the new face for the program and possibly for the university as a whole. Freeman ran the fastest 100-meter dash in the world, professional or amateur, this year (11.10) and is arguably one of the fastest women on the planet. The team also finished eighth at Indoor National Championships despite not having an indoor track to practice on (indoor tracks are known for steep and difficult banks).
Women's Soccer: The Knights made an amazing run to the Elite Eight in 2011, creating some buzz around campus. The team took care of business, picking up its fifth consecutive at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights didn’t win the C-USA Tournament, though, and went 1-3-1 against ranked opponents, leaving room for improvement.
Softball: Not sure if everyone has noticed yet, but the Knights are playing some good ball on the diamond. UCF has a fresh new face for the program in star freshman Mackenzie Audas. The Knights beat the then-No. 3 Florida Gators at home for a signature victory and may very well be ranked by season’s end. All in all, the 2012 campaign has been a pleasant surprise on the softball field.
Women's Basketball: By winning two C-USA championships in three years, head coach Joi Williams’ program has set a standard for itself. It set a standard that it didn’t live up to in the 2011-12 season. The Knights had no signature wins, dropped too many league games and made a quick exit in the conference tournament.
Women's Golf: Courtney Trimble’s program is one to keep an eye on. The team improved throughout the season, has no seniors that it will lose and has an impressive freshman class. Freshmen Katie Mitchell and Monifa Sealy showed some real potential, and junior Carolin Pinegger played the role of the team’s veteran leader. Trimble sees her program making noise on a national stage in the near future. Lack of a team tournament win hurt the grade.