UCF football enters 2020 looking to regain its crown as the top Group of Five team. In a season without the Big Ten or Pac-12, could they dream bigger?
Could we see a Group of Five team make a real assault on the College Football Playoff picture in a weird 2020 season? Is this the year where a smaller program finally puts together all the puzzle pieces and replicates BYU’s 1984 Cinderella campaign? For Josh Heupel and the UCF Knights, they hope that the answer to both questions is a resounding yes.
If any team is really set up to make such an assault, it is likely UCF. With both the Big Ten and the Pac-12 opting out of play in the 2020 season, the Knights effectively opened the season in the top 15 of both major polls. There is precedent for a team ranked in such position in the preseason to break through, as five of the 24 College Football Playoff qualifiers since 2014 have opened the year outside the top 10 of either major poll.
Of course, UCF would have to get past the stigma of their mid-major status in the eyes of much of the country. But the conditions might never be better for a small school to make a big splash. The time is right, and the Knights have the talent to make some major noise.
Will they actually do so, though? Remember, last year’s team lost three games by a total of seven points. The margin between perfection and a “disappointing” 10-win season is that tight for teams like UCF. Let’s dive in to look at the offense and defense at UCF before breaking down the 2020 Knights schedule and making some predictions on how the next campaign will play out.