It’s one of the biggest fears the soon-to-be “group of five” has in regards to the 2013 season – a team from the American Athletic Conference runs the table and plays in the BCS championship game against one of their heavyweights. That AAC team pulls the upset and completes an improbable championship run only to be jettisoned to group of “outsiders” in 2014.
The “group of five” which consists of the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big XII and Pac-12 are all rooting for Louisville to win the American this season. Louisville is technically one of them and will move to the ACC in 2014.
One of the programs the “group of five” fear sits in Orlando and seems to have a puncher’s chance at causing a serious commotion in the final year of the BCS.
The UCF Knights are one of the few programs that have the opportunity to put a major wrench in the future plans of the college football powers. Part of the reason is because they have a pretty good football team.
Offensively this might be the best Knights team in program history. Blake Bortles is coming off of a 3,000-yard season with 25 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He has an experienced group of receivers around him, a running back (Storm Johnson) that should gain 1,000 yards if healthy and three returners on the offensive line.
Defensively the Knights have to replace six starters and the questions marks will mostly come from the secondary where UCF will likely start two freshmen.
Assuming UCF handles rebuilding Akron and FIU during the first two weeks things on the schedule will get interesting. Penn State proved in 2012 that despite losing more scholarship players by the second, they will battle until the final buzzer. And South Carolina only features the top defensive player in the nation.
So by the end of September we’ll know whether the Knights are a team worth watching or simply a program that wasn’t ready for primetime.
If UCF pulls the upset at Happy Valley and stares down South Carolina at home, a week six matchup at Louisville could be the AAC’s biggest game of the season. If the Knights can pull off the road upset they will surely be climbing up the rankings and becoming the talk of college football.
Make no mistake, the AAC brass is praying that someone other than Louisville or Rutgers to walk into the Orange Bowl as its BCS representative. However, if one of those schools be it UCF or maybe Cincinnati can run the table and put themselves in a position for a title game it will be one of the most intriguing games in BCS history.
And as a college football fan I wouldn’t mind seeing the BCS go out with a bang.