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UCF Knights 2014 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2014-15 Football Previews – (American Conference) – Knights

The UCF Knights were outstanding last year under the stewardship of Blake Bortles, who was simply the first QB selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in this year’s NFL Draft.

With Bortles off to the pros, head coach George O’Leary and the Knights have major questions to answer under center in 2014.

After a 12-1 season in 2013 and a perfect record in the conference, the Knights are clearly still in the mix in the American. However, there are serious grey areas apart from the QB. To be fair, the team has some intriguing options in the mix, but you should still expect Central Florida to take at least somewhat of a step back in the conference this year.

UCF

AAC 2014-15 College Football Previews: Central Florida Knights
Head Coach: George O’Leary
2013 Record: 12-1
UCF Gambling Odds to Win 2014 BCS Championship: 500/1
UCF Gambling Odds to Win 2014 AAC Title: 7/4
UCF

It’s not like the Knights have zero valuable experience; the defensive back seven is loaded with returning starters and the wideout corps is also stacked for whoever wins the job under center.

Bortles obviously didn’t do it all by himself last year, so the returning elements of the team should keep the Knights competitive in the conference. Yet, turnover in the college ranks can always lead to drastic regression and Central Florida must hope that isn’t the case in 2014.

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With that in mind, let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of this year’s Knights team.

Team Strengths

Central Florida has the makings of a stellar defensive unit.

There are plenty of returning faces on that side of the ball, especially in the secondary. Cornerback Jacoby Glenn and SS Clayton Geathers are excellent football players. They join first-team all-conference LB Terrance Plummer as a group that will zip towards the ball.

There’s other defensive performers too: DE Thomas Niles had four sacks last year and FS Brandon Alexander is a ball hawk.

On offense, whichever player ends up throwing the ball will enjoy throwing to seniors Rannell Hall, J.J. Worton and junior Breshad Perriman. Hall had 57 receptions for 886 yards a year ago, and Perriman is a threat to take it to the house every single time he holds the ball.

The Knights also feature a great special teams unit, highlighted by steady senior K Shawn Moffitt and P Caleb Houston, who was a revelation as a freshman (42.2 yards per attempt) a year ago.

Team Weaknesses

The question over who will start under center has raged in Orlando the entire offseason.
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Sophomore Justin Holman is in the pole position. Holman backed up Bortles last year and coaches like his live arm and athleticism. Maturity may be an issue with Holman, which is rather worrisome.

Redshirt frosh Pete DiNovo – who is short on tools but long on smarts – is also a competitor. True freshman Tyler Harris is also interesting, he enrolled early and was highly touted coming out of high school. Finally, Nick Patti enters the mix as an immediately-eligible transfer from Boise State. Patti has the most game experience of the bunch.

On top of the QB questions, the Knights must replace all-conference RB Storm Johnson, who bolted to the NFL. Sophomore William Stanback will take his job and shows promise.

Central Florida also needs to plug in three new starters on the offensive line. The Knights should start three underclassmen on the O-line; center Joey Grant will be responsible for getting the unit to congeal on the field.

2014-15 UCF Football Prediction: 9-4

O’Leary’s kids start the season off with a fascinating match-up in both competitor and locale. Central Florida play Penn State in Dublin, Ireland on Aug. 30. The Knights also have a road game at Missouri and close out the season with road contests at South Florida and East Carolina. If one of the new faces at QB plays well this year, the Knights could grab another conference title. If it’s a notable drop-off from Bortles, however, there should be a corresponding dip in 2014 performance.

2014 Knights Schedule

  • 8/30/14 PENN ST. (in Dublin, Ireland)
  • 9/13/14 @ MIZZOU
  • 9/20/14 BETHUNE-COOKMAN (FCS)
  • 10/2/14 @ HOUSTON
  • 10/9/14 BYU
  • 10/18/14 TULANE
  • 10/25/14 TEMPLE
  • 11/1/14 @ UCONN
  • 11/14/14 TULSA
  • 11/22/14 SMU
  • 11/28/14 @ USF
  • 12/4/14 @ E. CAROLINA

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