Some college football programs are consistently strong. Others are consistently overmatched. Then there is Central Florida, where thunderous mood swings are king.
Four years ago the Knights finished 12-1 with a Fiesta Bowl win. That was good enough for a school-best No. 10 ranking in the final AP poll.
Two years ago UCF was 0-12 and lost those game by an average score of 38-14. That was bad enough to get George O’Leary fired, seven bowl appearances and all.
Now it’s 2017 and the Knights have flipped the switch again. They are 4-0 and ranked No. 22, which is higher than the Gators and Seminoles. UCF leads the nation with a scoring average of 47.5 points per game and is building momentum for showdowns with South Florida and Navy, the other two American Athletic Conference teams in the AP Top 25.
Among the reasons to watch the Knights is redshirt junior wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith from Village Academy in Delray Beach. He leads the team with seven touchdown catches, including three in last week’s 51-23 blowout of Cincinnati.
Now here’s where it gets tricky.
The coach behind this latest turnaround is Scott Frost, who played quarterback on an unbeaten team at Nebraska and later called the plays for Oregon as offensive coordinator. Either one of those programs could come calling for him to be their head coach some day, just like Oregon came to get Willie Taggart from South Florida, and that could abruptly turn the Knights’ train around once more.
Best, then, to root for Nebraska to upset Ohio State this week. The Cornhuskers are a disappointing 3-3 under Mike Riley, who is 18-14 there overall. These are the times that have Nebraska fans antsy.
And these are the conditions that keep UCF fans antsy, too. Perpetually so, whether the team is flying or crashing.