UCF takes care of C-USA rivals, needs to finish
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 16:10
“Finish” is the motto, and UCF seems to be living up to the season’s slogan.
With wins against rivals East Carolina and Southern Miss, neither of which will be joining the Knights in the Big East in 2013, UCF is capping off its Conference USA rivalries the best way it can — with wins.
It might not be pretty, as the Knights needed to come back from 14 points down to beat ECU, and a winless Southern Miss team was able to take the host Knights into double overtime, but that is hardly what is important.
“Finish” is what matters. And UCF is doing just that.
This Saturday, however, the Knights will face the first opponent of the season that will make the Big East transition with them.
UCF has won its past seven meetings against Memphis and has never lost to it in C-USA play. Rather than “finish,” this weekend’s motto will be “continue.”
UCF will know not to overlook Memphis (1-5, 1-1 C-USA) after the close win against Southern Miss. Coach George O’Leary will make sure of that.
“You respect everyone you play, and they will.”
Oh, sweet Liberty
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium has been a home away from home for the Knights.
The past two times UCF has traveled to Memphis, it defeated the host Tigers 37-17 and took down Georgia 10-6 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
UCF fans hope that this will not be the last time the Knights travel to the Liberty Bowl this season. UCF is atop the C-USA East division and, pending the NCAA postseason ban appeal, has the inside track to win the division and have a chance to go bowling in Memphis.
Big East not going south
UCF will want to take its dominance over Memphis into the Big East because the Knights may not be joining as weak a conference as many people thought.
The conference currently has three teams ranked in the BCS top 25. That’s more than the ACC (two) and Big 10 (zero), combined.
No. 15 Rutgers, No. 16 Louisville and No. 21 Cincinnati are all undefeated. Boise State, which joins the Big East in 2013 along with UCF, Memphis, Houston and SMU, is ranked No. 22.
This is both a positive competitively and monetarily, as the Big East is still in negotiations for a television deal. Big East commissioner Mike Aresco is sure to use the recent success of the league and future members as leverage with potential suitors.
Bright House Networks Stadium drew another disappointing crowd Saturday and has not broken 40,000 people since a 33-20 victory against FIU on Sept. 15.
During its four-game home stand, UCF averaged an announced crowd of just 35,752 fans. The Knights play two straight road games before returning home Nov. 3 against SMU.
UCF fans are fickle, and if the Knights return to Bright House Networks Stadium with a 6-2 record on the verge of being ranked, attendance will take a leap.