Breaking Down the UCF Schedule

UCF's 2009 schedule is officially out and it is filled with plenty of intriguing matchups. With seven home games, the Knights should be able to gather some momentum in front of the always enthusiastic crowd at Bright House Networks Stadium. offers a sneak-peak at what to expect from the Knights this season.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered for the Knights this offseason, which isn't necessarily a good thing. However, if those questions are solved and the Knights develop an identity, the team should be competitive again in the conference. With that in mind, here is a tentative sneak-peak on how we see UCF's season going, game by game.

Samford, Sept. 5th- Win: Hopefully the offense isn't as anemic as it was in last year's season opener when the Knights struggled to put up 17 against S.C. State. UCF really needs to develop confidence early and both sides of the ball should come out inspired for this one.

At Southern Miss, Sept. 12th- Win:
The Golden Eagles have a lot of talent and normally they'd probably get the nod here, but there are a lot of question marks for Southern Miss, even more than there are for the Knights. Will DeAndre Brown be healthy after his horrific injury? Right now, Coach Fedora said he "has a long way to go." Will star running back Damion Fletcher even be on the team? He won't participate this spring. That's a lot of offensive firepower that may not be on the field for Southern Miss.

Buffalo, Sept. 19th- Win:
Turner Gill will bring his team down south after a magical 2008 season. Sorry, but Florida in September is a hard place for northern teams to play and the Knights should have enough raw talent to keep Buffalo at bay.

At ECU, Sept. 26th- Loss:
UCF suffers its first loss up in North Carolina. The Knights have struggled against the Pirates recently and the trend might continue here. The Knights blew their last two games against ECU and if they have momentum at this juncture in the season, a win is foreseeable but history dictates that it will be a challenge to get a ‘W' here.

Memphis, Oct. 3rd- Win:
A loss here would be disastrous. UCF has more talent than Memphis and the home crowd advantage, but that was the case several times last season. Still, the Knights have been able to handle Memphis as of late and this year should be more of the same, especially if the crowd gets into the game.

Miami, Oct. 17th- Loss:
Expect this game to be a slug-fest between two physical teams, but at the end of the day, speed will kill and Miami has more of it. This game should be a tight one much like last year and it could go either way, but the Knights must be able to generate points this time around.

At Rice, Oct. 24th- Win:
This won't be a waltz to say the least, but Rice has lost a lot of stars on its offense and it might take more than half a season to find eventual replacements. If UCF doesn't have a Murphy's Law game like it did last year at UTEP, this should be a win.

Marshall (ESPN), Nov. 1st- Win:
The Knights went up to Marshall last year and came away with the win. If the wheels are still churning smoothly here then UCF shouldn't have a problem when hosting the Thundering Herd.

At Texas, Nov. 7th- Loss:
The Knights will not have the luxury of one of the best teams in the nation overlooking them, as the Longhorns face conference doormat Baylor the week after. Fortunately for the Knights, the game was moved until later in the season so the untested defensive backs will have some time to gel by now, but it will take an awful lot of firepower for the Knights to pull off this upset.

Houston, Nov. 14th- Loss:
After a potential loss to Texas, the Lone Star state hands the Knights another one. The Cougars can score with the best of them and the Knights can stop the run, but the secondary must be on its toes this time. After a a down week against Texas, the season could go either way and this will be a huge game. If the Knights' offense continues to develop and be productive, this could be a win, but as of now the offense is a long way off.

Tulane, Nov. 21st- Win:
At this point, the Knights should still be in the race for the C-USA title. The team has been tested and if they are resilient, a win should come here. If they put their heads down like last year though, there could be an upset loss at hand. Behind an offensive line that is developing chemistry and the steadily improving Brynn Harvey, the Knights should be able to churn out a victory late in the season.

At UAB, Nov. 28th-Win:
The talent level between the two is drastic but it was last year too. However, if the Knights are in a position to play in the title game they will find the motivation to win this game.

After the controversy consuming the team from offseason events this past season, it was obvious that the team was unmotivated for a majority of the year, which was evident during numerous second half collapses.

8-4 might be a little ambitious, but the team will have more talent overall this year than last season. However, you have to assume that the offense will be better. The defense will be improved up front and the secondary will take a hit, although the talent level will be arguably as good, even without Joe Burnett.

So much of UCF's success will depend on the team getting a spark. Where that jolt comes from is up in the air right now, but if the team buys into what its coach is saying and believes, then 8-4 is viable. A lot will depend on the team getting off to a fast start and building confidence and if that does happen, the Knights could take some momentum with them for the rest of the season. If the team gets off to another bumpy start, we could see 4-8 again.

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