UCF Could be College Football’s Next BCS Buster

It is a thought starting to come across the minds of more and more around the Orlando campus of the University of Central Florida.  The possibility of an undefeated season looms larger in 2011 than it ever has before for the Knights.

With the opportunity to sweep the schedule comes the potential reward of a BCS bowl game.  Even UCF President John Hitt got in the act of dreaming when he talked at the annual kickoff luncheon about how nice it would be to crash the college football party.

Sophomore quarterback Jeff Godfrey has his eyes on putting the Knights in position to be a BCS buster. When asked about this year’s goals, the Davey O’Brien Award candidate used one word, “Undefeated”.

However, after an 11-3 season, Conference USA Championship, and win over Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, UCF will not sneak up on anyone this year.

“We know there is a target,” said Godfrey. “Everyone is aiming for us and we just have to keep it up.  Last year is last year.  It is a brand new season and we just want to come out and do a great job this year.”

Depth is perhaps the strongest trait of the Knights program that has fans, media, and players alike hinting at the potential to have the best year in school history.  As they opened fall practice, longtime supporters gushed at the level of talent several improved recruiting classes have provided.

It seems that the first and second team athletes are as close to each other in skill as they have ever been.  With that comes competition for playing time, which is something head coach George O’Leary and others on his staff have pointed to as a big strengthening factor for the team.

Seeing a stocked roster has not been lost on junior cornerback Josh Robinson and that depth is precisely what he feels can build towards an undefeated season.

“Definitely, no doubt in my mind,” said Robinson about his team’s potential to reach a BCS game.  “We have a lot of talented players and we have a great coaching staff to get us ready.”

Certainly, Robinson leads a strong secondary along with safety Kemal Ishmael.  Godfrey controls a talented backfield that features three veteran running backs in Ronnie Weaver, Latavius Murray, and Brynn Harvey.

UCF’s defensive line has been lauded as the most talented in program history, with a deep pass rush highlighted by senior Darius Nall.

Despite a talented roster, much would have to break right in a year where Houston, SMU, and Southern Miss also have undefeated aspirations out of CUSA.  O’Leary will not embrace talks of BCS bowls just yet.

Instead he tries to measure expectations while acknowledging that UCF’s schedule gives them opportunity.

“Every game is winnable,” said O’Leary.  “We play 12 one game seasons, and the most important game to me right now is the first game. Everyone says, ‘No, it’s not; it’s the second game,’ but it’s the first game. That’s the way I talk to our football team because everybody else talks the other way.”