UCF Knights Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the UCF season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
UCF Knights Preview
Head Coach: Gus Malzahn, 2nd year at UCF, 9-4
11th year overall, 86-42, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 9-4, Conference: 6-3
Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
UCF Top 10 Players | UCF Schedule
UCF Knights Preview 2022
Obviously the bar has been set higher now at UCF than to just go 9-4 with a bowl win, but all things considered, 2021 wasn’t all that bad.
Oh sure, there wasn’t an American Athletic Conference championship, and the program had to kick back and groove on someone else from the league breaking the ceiling and getting to the College Football Playoff, but really, how much fun did Cincinnati have being served up as a light scrimmage for Alabama?
And how much fun did UCF Nation have getting to chest thump after beating Florida 29-17 in the Gasparilla?
Again, it’s relative – and of course UCF would’ve loved to have been on the big CFP stage – but it was a bit of a transitional season, the offense was without its two backfield stars – QB Dillon Gabriel and RB Isaiah Bowser – for most of the season, and the team still found a way to win games.
But now the Gus Malzahn era has to kick in full-force.
Yeah, UCF lost two early road games to Louisville and Navy by less than a touchdown in each, but it also had to scratch and claw to get past East Carolina, and Tulane, and USF.
And it got blowtorched by Cincinnati and SMU. That can’t happen this year – especially with both of those battles at home.
This year’s team is loaded with veterans, ol’ Gus rocked the transfer portal for a whole slew of new parts to play around with, and the schedule is about as favorable as could be asked for.
So now it’s time to get everything in place in Year Two under Malzahn for when it really counts in Year Three.
The program that rose up into the FBS world in 1996, became a part of the MAC in 2002, Conference USA in 2005, and the American Athletic in 2013 will get a seat at the adult table in 2023 when it moves into the Big 12.
There’s no more Tulane, or Temple, or Navy. At least for a year, it’s going to be Oklahoma, and Texas, and Oklahoma State, and a chance to be a part of the system rather than have to rail against it.
But first, this year’s team should have the ability to close out its time in the AAC with one more championship.
There might not be the Notre Dame type of game like Cincinnati had last year to propel it into the College Football Playoff discussion, but it would be fun to be good enough to engage in that fight.
Don’t be shocked if this year’s team is able to do just that. But more realistically, getting to the AAC Championship game will do as a next step up under Malzahn.
No, 2021 wasn’t all that bad, especially if it sets everything up for a massive 2022.