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UCF Is Well Ahead of Last Year's Pace in the Rankings

Knights weren't ranked prior to this same week's poll last season

UCF charges on to the field vs. FAU (Photo: Derek Warden)
UCF charges on to the field vs. FAU (Photo: Derek Warden)

UCF football jumped three spots in the AP Top 25 to #13 and four spots in the Amway Coaches' Poll to #14 on Sunday. This huge jump comes as three teams ahead of the Knights lost while UCF defeated an FAU team that had won 12 of its last 13 coming in.

This is huge for UCF, as they are approaching the doorstep of the Top 10 in both polls before conference play even begins.

While it remains to be seen what the CFP rankings look like, UCF is in better position right now with the two traditional polls than it has been in quite some time, and assuming they keep winning, can make an argument for its postseason destination.

But it pays to look at how long it took UCF to even get ranked in the first place in years past to see how significant this year's trend is.

Let's look back at 2013 and 2017 to see how UCF progressed in the rankings. First, in the AP Poll:

Week 2013 (12-1) 2017 (13-0) 2018
Preseason - - 21
1 - - 19
2 - - 18
3 - - 16
4 - - 13
5 - 25 ?
6 - 22 ?
7 - 20 ?
8 21 18 ?
9 19 15 ?
10 19 14 ?
11 15 14 ?
12 17 13 ?
13 17 12 ?
14 15 10 ?
15 15 (No Week 15 Poll) (No Week 15 Poll)
Final 10 6 ?

And in the Coaches' Poll:

Week 2013 2017 2018
Preseason - - 23
1 - - 20
2 - - 18
3 - - 18
4 - - 14
5 - 25 ?
6 - 21 ?
7 - 10 ?
8 25 17 ?
9 22 14 ?
10 21 12 ?
11 19 12 ?
12 20 12 ?
13 19 11 ?
14 17 10 ?
15 15 (No Week 15 Poll) (No Week 15 Poll)
Final 12 7 ?

Notice: UCF didn't even crack the top 25 in either year until after what was this coming week of play. Right now, at 3-0, having beaten UConn, FAU and an FCS team, UCF is way ahead of its previous pace.

I'm trying really hard not to get my hopes up here, since now is when it will get tight, with a home game against 2-2 Pitt on Saturday, and Memphis looming in mid-October. Regardless of Pitt's record and performance, should UCF continue its 16-game winning streak, and teams ahead of them continue to fall victim to attrition, the Knights could end up in the top ten of each poll by October 30th, when the first CFP Rankings come out.

And if that's the case, it won't be so easy for the CFP Committee to simply dismiss UCF this time around.