Scott Frost won’t be scheduling UCF any time soon.
Now that he’s the coach at Nebraska, Frost is like everyone else at a Power Five school. It makes no sense for him to tangle with the Knights.
Not saying that new UCF coach Josh Heupel will finish unbeaten in 2018, the way Frost did there in 2017, but if the Knights have enough talent to beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl, they are good enough to win in any league.
This 34-27 upset of Auburn came as a bigger surprise to me than UCF’s 52-42 Fiesta Bowl win over No. 6 Baylor four years ago. That Baylor team didn’t play much defense, but Auburn definitely does.
The Tigers limited Alabama and Georgia to a combined total of 31 points in upset wins over the two teams in Monday night’s national championship game. And then UCF goes out and scores 34 on them in one night?
I was wrong to think that the supposed step up in class would be so great. Wrong to think that a limited number of ranked opponents in the regular season would prove the Knights to be unworthy of a top-10 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. Wrong, in general, to think that any college team with a ton of momentum would shrink from an opportunity to build its national brand tenfold with a convincing bowl win.
So, should UCF have a spot in the national title game? Can’t go that far. Not after watching Alabama roll Clemson’s defending champs and not after what Ohio State and Wisconsin did in their bowls.
Miami belongs below the Knights, however, in any final reckoning for 2017, and Miami just had one of its best seasons in many years. Florida and FSU don’t even rate a mention beyond saying that they don’t rate a mention, and USF is scrambling to stay up.
Here are a few interesting notes on UCF in 2018.
The Knights play FAU on Sept. 22 in Orlando. That’s more than a date with Lane Kiffin. It’s a matchup between the two teams with the longest active win streaks in Div. I. Thirteen in a row for UCF and 10 for FAU.
Also next September the Knights travel to North Carolina and play Pittsburgh at home. If Frost were sticking around, you could chalk both of those up as wins over major-conference opponents, but we’ll have to see.
Also, Nebraska has a pretty full slate of non-conference games schedule through 2022 and there is no mention of UCF. Frost might try to change that at some point as a favor to the program he loved enough to work the Peach Bowl after taking another job, but is it worth it?
Back in 1997, when Frost was the quarterback of Nebraska’s 13-0 national title team, UCF came to Lincoln for a September game and hung pretty tough in a 38-24 loss.
That same season Nebraska beat Oklahoma 69-7, pounded Iowa State 77-14 and dominated Texas A&M 54-15 in the Big 12 title game.
The Knights’ football program was in its second season at the time, and with Daunte Culpepper at quarterback. Dangerous almost from the start.