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UCF Knights National Championship Odds
The UCF Knights have been the best Group of 5 team in the country the past couple of years and have designs of earning that moniker once again in 2019. UCF has been pining loudly to get a chance at the College Football Playoff but even another undefeated season makes it unlikely because of the team’s schedule. UCF is loaded at a lot of different positions and is the clear favorite in the AAC, but the absence of star quarterback Mackenzie Milton for the season does leave a question mark at the game’s most important position.
2019 UCF Knights at a Glance
UCF National Championship Odds: 500/1
UCF Odds to Win AAC: +125
UCF Regular Season Win Total: 10
Milton suffered a horrific injury late last season and will miss all of 2019 as he recovers. The quarterback battle will come down to Darriel Mack, who replaced Milton in the lineup a season ago, and former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who transferred in this offseason. Both players have talent and UCF figures to be fine at the position even without Milton, but struggles here could put a damper on the season.
The skill group is expected to once again lead the way for the offense. Running back Greg McRae returns after rushing for 1,182 yards last season, while all-conference receiver Gabriel Davis seems primed for a big season on the outside. The offensive line has a lot of experience returning so the only big question mark on offense is the quarterback.
The defense has an impressive secondary, as Richie Grant, Brandon Moore and Nevelle Clark are coming back to lead the way. Grant finished with more than 100 tackles and six interceptions a season ago and should be in line for another big year. Brendan Hayes returns on the defensive line but there will be a lot of inexperience around him, so that group will need to grow up fast. Nate Evans is a star at linebacker and he returns to anchor the group.
There is plenty to like about UCF once again, and if Milton was playing this team would be the easy pick to win the AAC. It is still the favorite, but the small unknown at quarterback means the odds aren’t quite as good as they would have been otherwise. Still, UCF has been a juggernaut the past two seasons and is expected to keep it rolling in 2019.
2019 UCF Knights Betting Schedule
||UCF vs. Florida A&M
||Thursday, August 29
||UCF at Florida Atlantic
||Saturday, September 7
||UCF vs. Stanford
||Saturday, September 14
||UCF at Pittsburgh
||Saturday, September 21
||UCF vs. UConn
||Saturday, September 28
||UCF at Cincinnati
||Friday, October 4
||UCF vs. East Carolina
||Saturday, October 19
||UCF at Temple
||Saturday, October 26
||UCF vs. Houston
||Saturday, November 2
||UCF at Tulsa
||Friday, November 8
||UCF at Tulane
||Saturday, November 23
||UCF vs. South Florida
||Friday, November 29
A relative newcomer to the highest level of college football, UCF has enjoyed plenty of highs and lows. Beginning play at the Division III level in 1979, the Knights quickly elevated up the ranks, reaching the FBS in less than two decades. And in just their third season competing at the top-tier the Knights posted a 9-2 record under Mike Kruczek.
The team didn’t achieve much success until George O’Leary became the head coach in 2004. After going 0-11 in his first season, O’Leary oversaw the rise of the program into a mid-major powerhouse. He directed the Knights to seven winning seasons and bowl appearances in his 12 years and helped put UCF on the college football landscape. The Knights transitioned from the MAC to Conference USA in O’Leary’s second season and played in the conference title game. The Knights also got their first ever bowl invitation, losing to Nevada in the Hawai’i Bowl.
The program’s first bowl victory came in 2010 with a win over Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, capping an 11-3 season with the first top-25 ranking in history. O’Leary’s tenure ended the way it started. He resigned after a 0-8 start to the 2015 campaign and the Knights endured their second winless season at the FBS level. Scott Frost was hired to clean up the mess and he promptly turned the program around, winning six games and getting to a bowl in his first season. In 2017, Frost led the only unbeaten team in the FBS and after two seasons he was hired away by Nebraska.
Josh Heupel took over in 2018 and didn’t miss a beat as the Knights once again put together an undefeated regular season and made it to the Fiesta Bowl. While UCF hasn’t gotten its shot at a national championship, the things it is doing on the mid-major level is really impressive, and that could continue in 2019.
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