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UCF 2018 FOOTBALL PREVIEW

@UCF_FOOTBALL @UCFKNIGHTS @MAYORBURNSY @aXisOrlando | august 2018 | p11

5 Things to Expect

from the National Champion UCF Knights in 2018

Being right all the time isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. In this era of “FAKE NEWS!” bullshit, anyone can say they correctly predicted a

major event, and the majority of people won’t bother arguing or even looking it up. That leaves authentic psychics like yours truly burdened with the painful truth that we will never get the credit we deserve for calling it like it eventually is. But I’m going to brag anyway. One year ago, in this very publication, I declared that the UCF By God Football Fightin’ Fast Knights would achieve a perfect season. I predicted that the underrated, unappreciated Knights would overcome the laughably overrated USF Veal, and McKenzie “The Red Stapler” Milton would lead the UCFast program to heights never before imagined. And I also very accurately predicted the rise of Shaquem Griffin as not only the most beloved player in UCF history, but also a national hero. My only mistake was that I wrote, “UCF will probably never play for a national championship,” when the Knights did, in fact, become NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, BABY. So, my apologies for that unforgivable, ignorant mistake.   Enough about me, though. This is about the 2018 UCF football team, led by new and much, much better head coach Josh “Not a Hunk, but That’s Great Because He’s Just Like Us” Heupel, who makes me want to jump right into my first of five 100 accurate points about this season…  

We are fine. Everything is fine.

There are UCF fans out there who have still not come to terms with the fact that the previous head coach – I can’t recall his name… maybe something like Abandoned Us Before the Liberty Game – is gone. I won’t deny that he was beloved for his effor ts during his very shor t time in Orlando, but get the f*ck over it already and cancel the Go Fund Me account for his giant gold statue. Danny “Lifetime Contract ASAP” White did the best thing any team could do when it loses a young, offensive-minded, high octane coach – he went out and hired the next best young, offensive-minded, high octane coach. Plus, Heupel comes with the bonus that he isn’t clearly going to jump ship for his old program as soon as a shady AD shoves an underperforming coach into traffic. This dude could actually stay around for a long time! (Disclaimer : I wrote the last sentence like two minutes before the stuff about Urban Myer was repor ted, so it doesn’t count against me if Ohio State comes Heupel-hunting in one year.)

Return of the Mack

There are two ways we could approach Milton’s encore: i) We could be idiot spor ts fans and expect his numbers to be ungodly, just so insane that it’s like you’re playing a video game on the easiest setting. We could be arrogant about it and demand that the Heisman Trophy engraving begin immediately, while simultaneously saying it probably won’t happen because the committee is totally punishing us for our massive testicles. Or. ii) We could take him off the pedestal, ease off the gas, and remove the 2 trillion tons of pressure we’ve put on his shoulders. We could accept that he could be due for some regression, and he will most likely experience some bumps and setbacks with the transition of the new regime. Yes, he will still be great, but we cannot expect him to be impossibly perfect. Verdict: Let’s be idiots because it’s fun to be idiots, but let’s be loyal idiots and appreciate the fact that this gift from the island gods ever came here in the first place.

Long live Shaquem.

I don’t know about y’all, but I didn’t shed a tear when the previous defensive coordinator packed his bags for The Land that College Football Stopped Giving a Crap About. What was his name? Guy Who Probably Knew His Buddy Already Bailed on UCF Before the Liber ty Game? I think that was it. Anyway, the defense was running on fumes by the end of the season, and benefitted from the offense’s ability to outlast opponents in brutal contests of Rochambeau. HOWEVER! The defense still came up big when it mattered, and all the returning players should buy into Randy Shannon’s decent (not great, but decent!) system and improve upon last season’s numbers. The one lingering concern is the lack of the inspirational spark plug, Shaquem Griffin. Someone will need to step up and become the defense’s superhero, and it would be great if, like, 10 guys did it so we don’t have massive hear t attacks in the stands every week.

Nobody’s perfect twice.

There are two types of UCF fans: those of us who love what Danny White did with the whole National Championship circus, because we know why he actually did it (to prove a point about NCAA corruption, while also honoring a team that wasn’t allowed to play for the “real” championship because of the aforementioned corruption) and those fans who are somehow embarrassed by UCF doing what any other program in our place would have done, whether they admit it or not. The latter fans, in my humble opinion, are doodie faces and should never attend another game again. What us smar t fans need to understand, though, is that the ire of the committee is real. And the ‘Bama-ring-kissing dumbass fans, coaches, and players who think UCF needs to “know its place” and wait a hundred-f*cking-years to earn respect like the rest of these loser programs are all waiting patiently for that first L to pop up on this season’s schedule. Now, you’d think that everyone from Auburn to South Bend and Knoxville to Los Angeles would be fed up with Alabama and thrilled to suppor t UCF’s Colley Matrix loophole. But they’re all still blindly loyal to the stupid committee. That’s why even UCF’s former coach, the one who secretly agreed to a deal brokered by his best friend prior to the Liber ty game, dumped on UCF’s National Championship when he had the chance. Because he has to play the game.   So, to everyone on the outside – and a few of those aforementioned pearl-clutching, ashamed UCF fans – it’s a matter of WHEN.   WHEN is this team going to lose? And then it’s a matter of HOW, as in HOW much hell are these people going to hit us with? But I’m a man who believes in IF, as in IF UCF even loses in 2018, all we need to say is: National champions, baby. (NC, B if you’re in a hurry.)

Can it be done?

A lot of people are going to call me crazy or perhaps even blasphemous for this one, but IF it happens, IF UCF loses this season, the team that will do it will be… the FAU Hootin’ Owls. It’s just the trappiest of trap games, with the ultimate X-factor coach, Lane Kiffin, having nothing to lose and everything to gain, using every dir ty trick in the ‘Bama book to take advantage of the potential flaws of a new coach. That’s the only game that worries me this season. Don’t be shocked if it happens. But don’t be surprised when it doesn’t, because…  

Final Season Prediction: 15-0 American Athletic Conference Champs, Orange Bowl Champs, College Football Playoff National Champions, and OFFICIALLY undisputed (back-to-back) NATIONAL CHAMPIONS, BABY. Words by Ashley Burns @MayorBurnsy photos courtesy UCF Athletics

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aXis August 2018  

aXis August issue features the annual Back to Campus edition declaring UCF Nation is Back! The issue features the UCF Football Preview by As...

aXis August 2018  

aXis August issue features the annual Back to Campus edition declaring UCF Nation is Back! The issue features the UCF Football Preview by As...

Profile for axismag