clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here are Our 2018 Season Predictions for UCF Football

Black & Gold Banneret Staff Gives Their Forecasts on eve of opener

UCF head coach Scott Frost holds up the American Athletic Conference Championship Trophy as his team celebrates winning the title Saturday, December 2, 2017. (Photo: Derek Warden)
UCF head coach Scott Frost holds up the American Athletic Conference Championship Trophy as his team celebrates winning the title Saturday, December 2, 2017. (Photo: Derek Warden)

We're just hours away now from the opening game of UCF's 2018 football season against UConn.

As the Knights prepare to defend, er, attack (?) their undefeated 2017 National Championship, we are contractually obligated to provide you our predictions for the season. We will give you our guesses for the Knights' regular season record, whether they will win the division and/or conference, and which bowl the Knights will go to.

Hopefully, we will not bring great shame on ourselves for this come January.


Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy)

Regular Season Record: 10-2. Which is a really fine record and everyone should be OK with it. I know everyone will not be OK with it.

Win the East Division? Yes. It helps that UCF's top competitor in The American, South Florida, has to replace their quarterback from last season.

Win The American? Hmmmm, I'll say yes. This is a tougher call, but I think the conference overall is not as good as in 2017, and UCF still possesses the purest talent of any American squad.

Bowl prediction: Even at 10-2, I think UCF won't finish as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team this season. That could go to Boise State or FAU or Fresno State, etc. So that leaves the Knights ... where, exactly? In the Liberty Bowl versus, say, Texas A&M? Sure, whatever. This is difficult to do in August with any conviction.

Take: Can UCF go undefeated this season? Sure. Will UCF go undefeated this season? I have stated multiple times that I think not. Mind the difference between those two questions. After a season in which pretty much everything broke right -- they won games they should have lost; they stayed relatively healthy all year long; numerous players blossomed together at the right time -- it's only natural to expect some amount of regression, especially in the first season with an entirely new coaching staff. There's a reason why an FBS team hasn't recorded consecutive undefeated seasons in almost 25 years. It's just not something that happens often. I'm not trying to slight the Knights by saying they won't go undefeated. I'm just betting on history here.


Eric Lopez (@EricLopezELO)

Regular Season Record: 12-0

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: Peach Bowl

Take: That answers all your questions. UCF's talent is better than everyone else on the schedule and finally earns the national respect it's looking for that some like Boise State currently get.


Luke Sarris (@LukeSarrisSBN)

Regular Season Record: 11-1

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: Peach Bowl

Take: I think UCF has the best odds of going undefeated out of any team in the country. With that being said, history has shown us it’s almost in possible to go do that in back-to-back seasons. With the main competition in the conference being USF and Memphis, both of those teams having new QB’s leads me to pick UCF to repeat as conference champs. After the turnout and success UCF had in the Peach Bowl last season, I know they’d love to have us back. That is, of course, if we don’t see Boise or another wild card earn that G5 bid.


Chris Carter (@UCFKnightsNatn)

Regular Season Record: 12-0

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: New Year's Six

Take: The Knights' offense will pick up where they left off last year, and with Randy Shannon leading the defense, they will give up even fewer points that last year's team. The schedule will be improved, so going unbeaten again will give them 26 straight wins and the invite to a New Year's Six Bowl.

Read more of Chris' season prediction for UCF at Underdog Dynasty:

UCF Knights Football 2018 Season Preview: Schedule Breakdown, Predictions & Analysis


Chas Short (@CFBAsterisk)

Regular Season Record: 12-0

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: New Year's Six Bowl

Take: I predict a 12-0 regular season, necessarily winning the division. I like the Knights’ championship odds against any team in the West. Unlike many, I think the West division champ (and also the biggest threat) will be Houston. UCF goes on to a New Year's Six bowl (once again being denied a spot in the invitational).

I recognize that this prediction screams “homer.” Here’s the thing - when I look at each game in isolation, UCF “should” win. S&P+ is right to favor the Knights in every game. How am I supposed to say something like “11-1” or “10-2” if I can’t point convincingly to a specific game I think is likely a loss?

So homer pick it is.


Derek Warden (@_dswarden)

Regular Season Record: 11-1

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: Armed Forces Bowl

Take: Our lone loss will come at Memphis. I just can't see us winning 11 consecutive games against them. We will host the conference championship and win, again. We'll probably end up playing Houston. Boise State wins their conference but is ranked higher because the pollsters are still upset about UCF's National Championship.


Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall)

Regular Season Record: 11-1

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: Fiesta Bowl vs. Oklahoma

Take: The Knights have been gifted an easy schedule for head coach Josh Heupel's first season in charge, but an early-season matchup against Lane Kiffin's ferocious Owls could be too big of a test for UCF's rebuilding defense. However, that is the only game on UCF's schedule that appears to be one for concern.

Even with a loss on the year, the UCF Knights have notoriety on their side after being credited by the NCAA as co-National Champions with Alabama in 2017. Considering this and a projectably dominant season ahead, they will still qualify for a New Year's Six bowl, and Oklahoma is in a position to return to the NY6 without a playoff berth as star QB Baker Mayfield left for the NFL.

This would be an electric matchup, much like 2014's Fiesta Bowl between the Knights and OU's fellow Big 12 rival in Baylor, and one UCF can win. This would also be further proof that the Knights and fellow G5 schools should be considered to compete in the CFP going forward.


Jeremy Brener (@JeremyBrener)

Regular Season Record: 11-1

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? Yes

Bowl Prediction: Outback Bowl

Take: The only loss will come to either Memphis and USF. And the Outback Bowl because a Bloomin' Onion sounds very good right about now


Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon)

Regular Season Record: 10-2

Win the East Division? Yes

Win The American? No

Bowl Prediction: Birmingham Bowl

Take: Oh great. I get to be Debbie Downer. Thanks, guys.

Even though I think UCF has a greater-than-50% chance of winning each individual game on its schedule, I just think going undefeated again is too heavy a lift given the new coaching staff and the losses on defense. I do believe the speed and depth on offense will just overwhelm teams, but my concern is the defense, which seems to have a greater adjustment to make to Randy Shannon than the offense to Josh Heupel. I would not be surprised to see a shoot-out loss or two early as the team figures out the new scheme (likely against FAU and at Memphis). But they'll hit their stride, rampage through the east division, but get a tough test against either Navy, Memphis or Houston in the AAC Championship.

But the consolation would be getting the chance to wax another SEC team in a bowl.