I’ll tell you what – I am pretty tired of watching UCF’s future opponents and not getting to see our own Knights take the field. But with a tough game at Maryland this Saturday, we finally get to see the UCF Knights in action again.
There have been changes to the schedule, prompted by Hurricane chaos. The once-cancelled Memphis game is now back on the calendar. We’ll play the Tigers on September 30 (I am so glad to have been wrong about the odds of this getting done). This takes the Maine Black Bears off the schedule - Memphis and UCF did not share a bye week, necessitating another cancellation to slot Memphis back in. It’s a small price to pay for the return of a marquee cross-divisional game.
And unfortunately, Georgia Tech is off the schedule, a casualty of lack of practice time in advance of the scheduled game. The Yellow Jackets – like the Black Bears -- now drop off this list.
Our former and future opponents, in schedule order:
FIU Panthers (1-1 Overall, 0-0 Conference USA)
The Panthers also suffered schedule chaos at the hands of Irma. Their game against Indiana was cancelled.
Maryland Terrapins (2-0 Overall, 0-0 Big Ten)
Finally – an opponent we’ll actually get to play as scheduled. The Terps were off this past week, and have previously shredded Texas and blown away Towson. They are a dangerous team, especially on offense. And frankly deserve to be ranked.
Memphis Tigers (2-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
The Tigers are riding high after edging #25 UCLA in a 48-45 shootout. For the first time this season, Memphis QB Riley Ferguson showcased his tremendous ability – he threw for 398 yards, six touchdowns, and only a single interception.
With only a game against the Southern Illinois Salukis before they play us, it’s clear the Tigers will be undefeated on September 30.
Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Caught a break against a bad MAC team in Miami (OH) and survived, 21-17, thanks to a pick six. Bearcats QB Hayden Moore continues to make mistakes, including throwing two second half interceptions of his own.
Cincinnati looks like the third or fourth best team in the (frankly not very good) AAC East.
ECU Pirates (0-3 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
In the latest of what’s been a trio of ugly losses, ECU was blown out by Virginia Tech, 64-17. A (very small) bright spot – the Pirates outscored the Hokies 17-7 in the first quarter.
I have confidence the Pirates are the worst team in the conference. Yes, worse than UConn. This will be a gimmie for the Knights.
Navy Midshipmen (2-0 Overall, 1-0 AAC)
Navy had a bye week, and resumes play on Saturday against a Cincinnati team they ought to soundly beat.
SMU Mustangs (2-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
The Mustangs suffered a 56-36 loss against TCU. It was a closer game than the score might suggest. The Mustangs were competitive throughout, but their defense collapsed in the fourth quarter, yielding two consecutive scoring drives. And then Mustangs QB Ben Hicks chucked a pick-six.
Pencil our game against in the Mustangs in as a likely shootout (a bit of a theme for our AAC West opponents, I’m thinking).
UConn Huskies (1-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Lost to Virginia by 20 points. Didn’t score in the first half. This is a poor Huskies team. Like the ECU game, I see this as an easy win for the Knights.
Temple Owls (2-1 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Beat a winless UMass team 29-21. And this was a week after squeaking past Villanova. Though the reigning conference champion looks like it will not be a force in the division this year, the Owls have at least found competent QB play in Logan Marchi.
USF Bulls (3-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)
Soundly beat their Big Ten opponent, Illinois. This was the Bulls’ first game this season in which it looked like they deserved to be a ranked team.
USF is fast and physical on defense. The Bulls clamped down on the Fighting Illini, who just could not get anything meaningful going offensively.
But it was also another slow and sloppy start for USF on offense and special teams. Eventually, someone might be able to make them pay for these errors. But it’s not going to happen any earlier than October 28, when the Bulls play the Houston Cougars. Maybe. There’s a pretty high likelihood USF will be undefeated when they visit Spectrum Stadium on Black Friday.
 Memphis’s game against ULM was played in heavy rain, prompting the Tigers to lean heavily on the run.