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Head Coach: George O'Leary (8-16, 2 years; 60-49 overall, 9 years) 2005 Record: 8-5,7-1/1st C-USA East Venue:Florida Citrus Bowl
Location: Orlando, FL Turf: Grass Capacity: 65,438 Seating Chart:
Heading into 2003 UCF's program appeared on the rise coming off three straight winning seasons and playing in the player-rich state of Florida. HC Mike Kruczek had been given a three year contract extension but his final year was filled with injuries and suspensions. He was let go with two games left in a 3-9 year when they had the talent to contend in the MAC. George O'Leary came in but did inherit a tough non-conf schedule (first 3 foes-BCS). There was a large amount of attrition over the summer with the new HC and when the season started they had just 73 scholarship players. UCF gained control of the nation's longest losing streak title finishing the year at 0-11. Last year I did not make a lot of friends in Greenville, NC or Huntington, WVwhen I forecast UCF to finish ahead of those teams in the CUSA East standings. I picked the Knights higher than any other preseason magazine as most had them pegged for last. Nine of their top 68 players were walk-ons but UCF, after extending their losing streak to 17 games with an 0-2 start, simply became the 7th team in NCAA history to go from being winless to bowl eligible with the last being S Carolina in 2000. They had the biggest turnaround in the NCAA in 2005 finishing the regular season 8-3 before dropping the CUSA Title game and their first ever bowl in their 10 year-history. With an enrollment of 44,000, they are the 2nd largest university in the southeast. They had 51,978 on hand for the CUSA Title game at home. Some things do not bode well for the 2006 season however as despite their 7-1 record in CUSA play, they only outgained league foes by 2.9 ypg. UCF benefitted from +12 in turnovers and had a net 3 close wins (pg 299). On the bright side they have the 2nd most starters returning in the league (17). UCF's offense showed big-time improvement last year almost doubling their ppg to 28.7 and despite the loss of two of their top 3 receivers, will be more potent with 8 starters back including their QB, top RB Smith and the entire 0-line. UCF's D made some improvement last year allowing 28.7 ppg but actually allowed 420 ypg (17 ypg more than '04).
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