What Else Does UCF Football Have to do?

The UCF Knights, 2017 self-proclaimed National Champions want to prove you wrong. Courtesy: @UCF_Football

The UCF Knights have won 24 consecutive games dating back to the beginning of the 2017 season. A season in which they convincingly beat the team (Auburn), who convincingly beat the eventually College Football Playoff National Champions, Alabama, and the runner-up Georgia.

The self-proclaimed defending National Champions are once again undefeated and on the verge of winning another American Athletic Conference Championship and earning an invite to a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Still, they’re being ignored and on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoffs sitting at number 8, with two one-loss teams (Oklahoma & Ohio State) ahead of them and one two-loss team (Michigan) that was destroyed last time they took the field.

Barring a series of apocalyptic upsets in the conference championship games, they’ll be left out for the second straight season. Knight fans are left wondering what else they have to do to get the respect of the college football world and get an invite to the party. Here’s what they need to do.

1. Schedule home and homes series with middle of the pack teams from the Power 5 Conferences.

If the Knights could beat Kentucky or Vanderbilt from the SEC, Minnesota or Purdue from the B1G, Wake Forest or Pitt from the ACC, or Kansas or Iowa State from the Big 12, then the committee will have a common opponent to fairly judge UCF’s resume side by side against a one-loss Georgia, Oklahoma or Ohio State for an example.

While I don’t subscribe to transitive property in sports–I.E. UCF beats Purdue by 14 and Purdue beat Ohio State by 29, so that means UCF could beat the Buckeyes–but it would be a feather in the Knight’s cap to say “hey, we dominated one of their conference opponents who they lost to. That should prove we’re a more deserving team because we were better against them than they were.” We know the College Football Committee takes results against common opponents into account. They’ve said as much themselves.

In their defense, the Knights have had Georgia Tech (2017) and North Carolina (2018) on their schedules and those games had to be cancelled due to Hurricanes. If they would have played and won those games, I’m sure they would’ve had their ticket punched to the CFP already.

2. The entire American Athletic Conference needs to be more vocal in making a case for the Knights.

Michael L. Aresco is the commissioner of the American Athletic Conference, and he should bang the drum every chance he gets about how good this team is, but he shouldn’t be alone, each Athletic Director and Head Coach of each team the Knights beat should tout how good UCF is. It behooves them to. From a respect standpoint and financially. The payout for each conference in the CFP was $6 million in 2017-18, win or lose.

While it’s the Knights that keep getting overlooked right now, it’s also the entire conference that’s being disrespected. One day it could be Cincinnati, Houston or Memphis in UCF’s shoes. They certainly would hope they’d get a realistic shot at the CFP if they were undefeated. So they need to not wait until it’s them and speak up now before it gets to that point. An undefeated team in the Power 5 would NEVER be ignored. Hell, Notre Dame is a lock to get into the playoff with no conference title. Just past reputation.

Do I think the Knights can go undefeated if they played in the SEC, B1G, ACC, Big 12 or Pac-12? No!

Do I think UCF can beat Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma or Ohio State on any given Saturday with a month to prepare? Yes, it’s very likely. And they should get the chance.

If anything, last bowl seasons win over Auburn proved they can compete with the best and pull the upset. That’s what sports is about, it’s the ultimate meritocracy. Let the players on the field decide. Not the stuffy corporate suits that worry about television rating and ticket sales. I hope UCF gets a shot real soon. Just not over my Buckeyes. Lol.

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2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 12)

It’s a great week to be associated with Buckeye Football. It started on Thanksgiving Day through the weekend when a few Buckeye alumni set the tone for the current Bucks.

Ezekiel Elliott went over 100 yards rushing for the third consecutive game to take the NFL lead for rushing yards. Zeke ran for 121 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a 31-23 win over Washington to tie atop of the NFC East division. He also caught 5 passes for 22 yards. Rod Smith carried the ball twice for 7 yards. Noah Brown caught one pass for 22 yards.

New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas was held in check by the Atlanta Falcons. He only caught 4 passes for 38 yards in the 31-17 win over their NFC South division rivals. Eli Apple led the Saints defense with 10 total tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Vonn Bell was second on the team with 7 total tackles, one for a loss and a fumble recovery. Marshon Lattimore totaled 5 tackles and 2 pass breakups, while Kurt Coleman made 2 total tackles in the win.

Joey Bosa looks like he hasn’t missed a beat since missing most of the 2018 season with a foot injury. Bosa made 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss and a total of 5 tackles for the LA Chargers in a 45-10 beat down of the Arizona Cardinals.

Malcolm Jenkins intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards to help the Philadelphia Eagles defeat their NFC East rival New York Giants 25-22. Jenkins also made 6 total tackles and broke up another pass to help the defending champions keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Punter Cam Johnston kicked 4 times for a total of 201 yards (50.3 avg.) and downed 2 inside the 20.

Gareon Conley broke up two passes, one that was intercepted in the end zone on the tip drill and collected 2 total tackles for the Oakland Raiders in a 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins registered 3 total tackles.

The leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the year, Browns cornerback Denzel Ward registered 4 tackles and one pass break up in Cleveland’s 35-20 domination of the Cincinnati Bengals. Sam Hubbard collected 4 total tackles in the loss for Cincinnati.

Jeff Heuerman caught 2 passes for 44 yards; his longest for 29 yards in a 24-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, he broke three ribs during the game that will end his season. Bradley Roby made 6 total tackles and broke up a pass, but gave up a 97-yard touchdown pass in the win. However, he did redeem himself by forcing a key fumble on James Conner in the red zone that thwarted a Steelers scoring opportunity. Cam Heyward made 3 total tackles and was credited with half a sack in defeat.

Carlos Hyde rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries in a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Darron Lee made 6 total tackles for the New York Jets in a 27-13 loss to the New England Patriots.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett caught 2 passes for 22 yards in a 30-27 win over the Carolina Panthers. Curtis Samuel also caught 2 passes, one for a 7-yard touchdown, for a total of 17 yards and rushed once for 25 yards in the loss.

Raekwon McMillan totaled 7 tackles, while his linebacker partner Jerome Baker totaled 3 for the Miami Dolphins in a 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Malik Hooker made 2 tackles and broke up a pass for the Colts in the victory.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 11)

Hopefully Buckeye Nation was able to recover from the “great escape” at College Park, Maryland and enjoy week eleven of the NFL season and the amazing performances of several former Bucks.

Ezekiel Elliott led the way once again for the Dallas Cowboys with 122 rushing yards on 23 carries and a 23-yard touchdown run in a 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Elliott also caught 7 passes for 79 yards. His backup Rod Smith caught 2 passes for 8 yards in the victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro defensive lineman Cam Heyward had a game sealing fumble recovery, 2 tackles for loss, a sack and 5 total tackles in a 20-16 come from behind win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Carlos Hyde was apart of a monster rushing attack by the Jags that racked up 179 yards on the ground. Hyde chipped in 44 yards on 8 carries for an average of 5.5 a carry in defeat.

Michael Thomas had a ho-hum day–by his standards–for the New Orleans Saints in a 48-7 win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. @CantGuardMike caught 4 passes for 92 yards and a 23-yard touchdown. The Bayou Buckeyes on defense suffocated the Eagles offense. Marshon Lattimore led the team with 4 total tackles; 2-pass break ups and an interception. Vonn Bell collected 3 total tackles, Eli Apple 2 total tackles and Kurt Coleman one tackle. The Saints are now 9-1 and in first place in the NFC South and hold the tie-breaker for the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. On the Eagles side, Malcolm Jenkins made 9 total tackles and Cam Johnston punted 4 times for 159 yards (39.8 avg.) downing 2 inside the 20-yard line.

Curtis Samuel found the end zone again for the third time this season in a 20-19 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver caught 5 passes for 55 yards and the 12-yard touchdown reception from Cam Newton.

Gareon Conley picked off a pass and returned it 28 yards and collected one tackle to help the Oakland Raiders get their second win of the season over the Arizona Cardinals 23-21. Jonathan Hankins also made 2 tackles to aid the victory.

Joey Bosa returned to the LA Chargers lineup from a foot injury that caused him to miss a majority of the season and collected one tackle, but it wasn’t enough to lift the team to victory. They lost to the Denver Broncos 23-22. Jeff Heuerman caught 4 passes for 20 yards and Bradley Roby collected 3 tackles and broke up 2 passes in the victory.

Cincinnati Bengals rookie Sam Hubbard collected 5 total tackles and sack and a tackle for loss in a 24-21 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Nick Vannett caught one pass for 17 yards for the Seattle Seahawks in their 27-24 win over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 10)

Week ten of the 2018 NFL season kicked off on with a matchup of two hot teams in the Carolina Panthers riding a three-game winning streak against the Pittsburgh Steelers on a four-game win streak. What was expected to be the best matchup of the weekend turned out to be a TKO.

Cam Heyward collected two of Pittsburgh’s 5 sacks of Cam Newton. He also registered two hits on the QB, two tackles for loss and 3 total tackles in the 52-21 win. Curtis Samuel saw plenty of action. He caught 4 passes for 18 yards, one rush for only one-yard and 5 kickoff returns for 107 yards with a long of 31. However, he also had a crucial fumble on a kickoff return that set up Pittsburgh for a touchdown.

New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas followed up his career day in week nine by catching all 8 passes Drew Brees tossed him for 70 yards and two touchdowns in a 51-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The second touchdown catch helped Brees pass Brett Favre for the most touchdown passes in NFL History (509). The Bayou Buckeyes on the defensive side shutdown Cincy. Eli Apple intercepted Andy Dalton and took it back 29-yards to go along with 3 total tackles and 2 pass break ups. Vonn Bell made 2 tackles, while Kurt Coleman and Marshon Lattimore 1 in their return to the Buckeye State. Sam Hubbard and Adolphus Washington each tallied 2 total tackles in the loss.

Ezekiel Elliott ran wild for the Dallas Cowboys in a 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Elliott rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and caught 6 passes for 36 yards and a touchdown to help Dallas improve to 4-5 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Rod Smith carried the ball twice for 8 yards and caught one pass for 14 yards to spell Zeke. Wide receiver Noah Brown was activated from injured reserved and played several snaps. Malcolm Jenkins racked up 7 total tackles in defeat. Punter Cam Johnston, who leads the NFL in net rating, kicked twice for a total of 88 yards, downing both inside the 20-yard line.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett caught one pass for an 8-yard touchdown, his 1st of the season, in a 36-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Malik Hooker recovered a game-clinching fumble and made 4 total tackles and broke up one pass to help the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 29-26. Carlos Hyde rushed for 5 yards on 3 carries in his second game with the Jags.

Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley made 6 tackles in a 20-6 loss to the LA Chargers. Jonathan Hankins made 2 tackles in defeat.

Denzel Ward returned to the Cleveland Browns lineup after missing the second half of last week’s game with a hip injury. Ward collected 2 total tackles and 1 pass break up in a 28-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Terrelle Pryor was target 3 times, but didn’t catch a pass for the Buffalo Bills in a 41-10 win over the New York Jets. Darron Lee led New York with 11 total tackles in the loss.

Raekwon McMillan collected 7 total tackles and Jerome Baker only registered one for the Miami Dolphins in a 31-12 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

1st-year Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel went up against the team and coach he won three Super Bowl titles with, the New England Patriots and destroyed them 34-10. The Titans are 5-4 and in second place in the AFC South.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 9)

Former Buckeye pass catchers were the stars of the day around the NFL in week 9.

Michael Thomas set a career high and a New Orleans Saints franchise record with 211 receiving yards on 12 catches to hand the Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season 45-35. Thomas also caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees and celebrated by pulling out a cellphone he hid under the padding of the goal post pregame, recreating the celebration by former Saints legendary wide receiver Joe Horn from the 2003 season against the New York Giants.

The rest of the Bayou Buckeyes of Marshon Lattimore, Vonn Bell, Kurt Coleman and Eli Apple were charged with trying to contain the high-powered Rams offense. Bell and Apple each collected 4 total tackles, Lattimore 2 and Coleman one to help the Saints improve to 7-1.

Curtis Samuel got in the end zone twice for the Carolina Panthers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The first, a 33-yard reverse where he covered 101 yards weaving from sideline to sideline while eluding Tampa defenders. The second touchdown was a 19-yard reception to help the Panthers win 42-28.

Denver Broncos Tight end Jeff Heuerman caught 10 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown in a 17-19 loss to the Houston Texans.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett caught 6 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in a 25-17 loss to the LA Chargers.

Terrelle Pryor made his debut with the Buffalo Bills, his fourth team in three seasons, and caught 2 passes for 17 yards on 5 targets in a 41-9 loss to the Chicago Bears. One of those targets bounced off his hands and turned into an interception for the Bears.

Miami Dolphins rookie linebacker Jerome Baker picked off fellow rookie Sam Darnold and returned it 25-yards for the only touchdown in a 13-6 win over the New York Jets. Baker also collected 5 tackles. His running buddy, linebacker Raekwon McMillian registered 2 tackles and one for loss to help get the win. Jets linebacker Darron Lee made 6 total tackles and one for loss in defeat.

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro defensive lineman Cameron Heyward registered one tackle and two hits on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in a 23-16 victory for the Steelers, helping to run their win streak to four. Heyward’s impact can’t be measured by only looking at the box score. He was a key factor in getting pressure on Flacco causing several errant passes.

It was another tough day for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. He ran for 61 yards on 17 carries and caught 4 passes for 51 yards in a 28-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football to fall to 3-5. Elliott only touched the ball 6 times in the second half. That gives Buckeye fans nightmares of the 2015 home loss to Michigan State.

Denzel Ward made one tackle against the Kansas City Chiefs in a 37-21 loss before having to leave the game with a hip injury.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 7)

The current Buckeyes embarrassing performance on Saturday night against Purdue must’ve really hurt a few of the alums in the NFL, because they had some rough days of their own on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 33 yards on 15 attempts in a 20-17 loss to Washington. The 33 rush yards are the second fewest he’s rushed for in a game in his three-year career. He also caught 2 passes for 9 yards.

Bradley Roby picked off a pass, broke up 4 more and made 2 tackles for the Denver Broncos in a 45-10 route of the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

Nate Ebner made one tackle on special teams for the New England Patriots in a dramatic 38-31 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

Malik Hooker made one tackle for the Indianapolis Colts in a 37-5 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Rookie Sam Hubbard made 2 total tackles for Cincinnati in a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward made 4 tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up 2 passes in a 26-23 loss in their fourth overtime game of the season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple led the G-Men with 6 total tackles in a 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Apple was traded the day after the game to the New Orleans Saints for a 4th round pick.

Speaking of New Orleans, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas caught 7 passes for 69 yards and a 5-yard touchdown in a 24-23 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens. On the defensive side, Marshon Lattimore made 3 total tackles and broke up 2 passes, Vonn Bell registered 3 total tackles, and Kurt Coleman added 2 tackles to aid the victory.

Curtis Samuel scored his first career-rushing touchdown on a 14-yard carry to start the Carolina Panthers 17 point comeback against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also caught one pass for 16 yards in the 21-17 win over the defending Super Bowl Champions. Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins collected 7 total tackles and broke up 2 passes in the loss. Cameron Johnston punted 3 times for a total of 135 yards (45.0 yard average) and pinning one inside the 20-yard line.

New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee registered 2 tackles, one pass breakup and one hit on the QB in a 37-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Friday the Cleveland Browns traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn’t play in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, but is expected to suit up next week.

On the injury front, the New Orleans Saints placed Ted Ginn Junior on injured reserve with a knee issue that’s caused him to miss the last 2 games. The New York Jets released Terrelle Pryor with a tear in his groin. He’s expected to miss the next two weeks. New York would like to resign him then.

2018 NFL Buckeyes (Week 6)

Week six of the 2018 NFL Season saw a former Buckeye running back return to form and a couple of linebackers lead their team to a come from behind victory.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and caught one pass for 11 yards against the vaunted Jacksonville Jaguars defense in a 40-7 victory. Rod Smith also carried the ball 5 times for only 4 yards in the win.

Carlos Hyde rushed for only 34 yards in 14 carries and Denzel Ward made 3 tackles for the Cleveland Browns in a 38-14 loss to the LA Chargers.

Raekwon McMillan made 6 total tackles and Jerome Baker made 2 tackles to help the Miami Dolphins come from behind to defeat the Chicago Bears 31-28 in overtime.

Jets wide receiver Terrelle Pryor caught 5 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown in New York’s 42-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Linebacker Darron Lee picked off his 3rd pass of the season and led New York with 8 total tackles in the win. Colts’ safety Malik Hooker collected one tackle and broke up one pass in defeat for Indianapolis.

Bengals rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard registered one tackle and was credited with a half tackle in a 28-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Queen City. Cam Heyward lined up for the Steelers, but did not register any stats.

Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman caught 3 passes for 23 yards in a 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Bradley Roby made one tackle and registered another one for a loss and broke up a pass in defeat.

Week 6 kicked off with the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the New York Giants in the Big Apple. Malcolm Jenkins collected 6 total tackles to help the Eagles become the first road team to win on Thursday Night Football, 34-13. Eagles punter Cameron Johnston punted 5 times for a total of 240 yards for an average of 48 yards per kick. Two of them were down inside the 20-yard line. On the other sideline, Eli Apple made 8 total tackles and broke up 3 passes in defeat.