The Danny Barrett era, such as it is, begins at noon for UCF (0-8, 0-4 AAC) against the Bearcats (4-3, 1-2 AAC). The last time the Knights had an interim head coach, it was Alan Gooch, the year was 2003, and the Knights went 0-2 to end their season in the MAC (that'd be two conferences ago, of course).
Knights fans are hungry for some reason to be optimistic, but I hope no one is naïve enough to believe that George O'Leary's resignation will cause any meaningful immediate improvement. There are just so, so, so many problems with this Knights team. Expect the Bearcats to cruise tomorrow.
Start time: Sat., Oct. 31 at Noon EST
Location: Nippert Stadium - Cincinnati, Ohio
Radio: 96.9-FM & 740-AM - Orlando
Betting Line: UCF is a 27.5 point underdog. Ooof.
The Series: You're about to watch the start of it. UCF and Cincinnati have never played. Before the season, this looked to be one of the most interesting AAC east division games - both UCF and Cincinnati had been excellent in conference the past two years, with the Knights winning the conference championship outright in 2013 and the Knights sharing the title with Cincinnati (and Memphis) last year.
Unfortunately, the Knights have tanked this year and there's no end to the losing in sight. This once-anticipated match-up should be a beatdown in the Bearcats' favor.
Cincinnati Outlook: Cincinnati has been a bit underwhelming this season. Heck, our Underdog Dynasty preseason poll had them number one in the east (though we had UCF number two, so shows what we know). The Bearcats have shown that they're not in the AAC's top tier this year, having lost to both Temple and Memphis. But they're a fine team, and more than capable of blasting a bad UCF squad.
Expect Cincinnati's offense to standout in this game. Cincinnati is averaging 555.6 yards per game. Incidentally, that's more than double UCF's average offensive output (257.6 yards per game). While the Knights' defense has a pulse, Cincinnati should be able to contain the Knights' poor offense and quickly outpace them.
Unlike UCF's Justin Holman, Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel has been excellent after returning from injury against UConn last week. Kiel went 26/35 for 327 yards, two passing touchdowns, and added a third touchdown on the ground. I don't expect the result against UCF to be much different.
UCF Outlook: Last week, the Knights showed a glimmer of hope against Houston - moving the ball on offense, making plays and containing Greg Ward Jr. on defense . . . for a bit. Then it was a collapse to end the half, and things got worse from there. I hope I sound realistic and not pessimistic: but there are still no reasonable grounds to believe that Knights will notch a win (not just against the Bearcats, there's no particular reason they should notch a win at all this season).
Sitting at 0-8, it's hard to find good things to say about the Knights. But the defense has had some guys make plays this year - Chequan Burkett, Shaquill Griffin, and T.J. Mutcherson come to mind. Oddly enough, the Knights' defense is statistical very similar to the Bearcats, with the Knights only giving up a few more yards and points per game on average. But the Knights desperately need help from the offense to be able to stay in games, and no help seems forthcoming.
Interim head coach Danny Barrett is a Cincinnati alumnus, which should add some interest to what ought to be another painful game for UCF. Though Barrett v. Tuberville is a far cry from the more interesting O'Leary v. Tuberville match-up we had hoped to see.