Enemies aren’t created. They’ve always existed and only just reveal themselves. That is the scenario UCF is currently facing. Not really. They already knew, but I don’t think the media gave many teams a chance to beat them. However, there are a few teams from the AAC who are now ranked, including the team that will end UCF’s reign of terror. The University of South Florida Bulls.
The Bulls have been able to find successors to their important departures at QB and RB. They dipped into their bag of transfers in order to find them.
Jordan Cronkrite transferred from Florida last year. He had a minor setback in the beginning of season that forced him to miss the first game and saw limited action in the second game. Since then? He has rushed for 100+ yards and had one touchdown in each of the last three games, not to mention that 300 yard and three touchdown game last week vs UMass. Not sure you heard about that. Nevertheless, after losing Tice, Mack, and Johnson it was extremely clutch that USF was able land Cronkrite.
Every solid college team can’t simply rely on a great backfield if there isn’t a competent quarterback in the mix. After losing their rock, it was crucial for USF to land Blake Barnett–a transfer from Alabama. While Quinton Flowers was the heart and soul of this team, having Barnett gives USF a more balanced offense as he is a better passer. This also doesn’t really take away from the run game as they rank 31st in the country in passing and 32nd in the country in rushing.
The Rest Of The Team
The Bulls have a trio of wide receivers that have consistently stepped up, no matter which of the three it is. They have experience with veterans Tyre McCants–who’s a 240 pound WR and I LOVE THAT–and Darnell Salomon. They also have Randall St. Felix who is a true freshman and fitting in nicely with this offense. The defense isn’t anything to brag home about, but they have a “bend-don’t-break” feel about them, which given the offense they have, is all they need.
But sometimes it comes down to coaching and Charlie Strong is the better head coach. He has a lot more experience and his roster isn’t too far behind UCF’s. New head coach Josh Heupel is going to have a real challenge in a game where the talent is pretty even, but the staff might not be. Definitely a matchup to keep an eye out.
USF still has some tough games left–by AAC standards–before they get to UCF, so it is important to not look too far ahead. Forgetting what I just said and looking into their crystal ball, unless there is a total collapse, I expect USF not only to challenge UCF but to beat them. And once they hurdle the Knights, we could see a New Years Six in their future.