A new sheriff is in town as UCF looks to a future under Gus Malzahn. It’s been a few years since the folks in Orlando have had anything to get excited about, but the Gus Bus has made a pitstop at UCF, and the hype has reached an all-time high as the Knights look to kick off the 2021 season with a bang.
Unless you live under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, you have heard about UCF Football. Under Scott Frost, UCF won several bowl games, a few conference championships, and even have claimed a National Championship. Under Heupel, UCF hit a bit of a rough patch, steadily finishing with worst records than the year before. But, all of that is in the past as the former Auburn Head Coach makes his way to Orlando looking to bring a legitimate National Championship trophy home to UCF.
So where does UCF go from here now that the Gus Bus is rolling full steam ahead? When you compare UCF to the other programs within the American Athletic Conference, UCF has one of the best chances to win a National Championship. It might not happen in year one under Gus Malzahn, but the future is bright, and there’s a major upswing for this program now that the right guy is in charge.
From a roster standpoint, 2021 could be the year where teams across the AAC take UCF for granted, and the Knights could surprise some folks and find themselves in the AAC Championship game against either Cincinnati or Memphis.
Defensively, the Knights could be lacking after only returning three starters from last season, but if UCF has taught us anything over the years, it’s that somebody or some unit will step up and answer the call to action. All eyes will be turned to the one senior starter remaining on this UCF roster. Middle Linebacker Eriq Gilyard will be the leader for this defensive unit.
On the other side of the ball, UCF returns eight guys from one of the most explosive offensive units in the entire country from 2020. It might be a system change for the Knights under Gus Malzahn, but fans can expect Dillion Gabriel to adjust just fine under the new system. UCF fans can also get excited about a receiving core that returns both Jaylon Robinson and Ryan O’Keefe, behind a brick wall on the offensive line that returns all five of their starters from last season.
Overall, if the UCF defense can find a way to step up in a big way, then the Knights could easily find themselves in the driver’s seat to compete for an AAC Championship and maybe just, maybe, a spot in a New Year’s Six Bowl in year one of the Gus Bus.
UCF will welcome Boise State to the Bounce House to open the 2021 season on September 4th.