Previewing Central Florida

Previewing Central Florida

Number 15 Central Florida comes to town this Saturday, bringing with them a up-tempo spread attack and a 27 game regular season win streak.

UCF Lineup - Recruiting RankingsThe good news is that Pitt has absolutely nothing to worry about because the UCF roster is populated by two-and-three star talent, and we all know that you just can’t win consistently without four-and-five stars.  Also UCF has five transfers in the starting lineup.  (Nixon – Ole Miss, Boudreaux – ND, Hescock – Wisc,  Gowan Miami OH, and Robinson – Bama).  We all know that bringing in transfers is a band-aid mentality that shows just how bad recruiting has been.

And believe me, it’s been bad.

  • 2015:  18 signed.  Class rank 63.
  • 2016:  21 signed.  Class rank 57.
  • 2017:  22 signed.  Class rank 53.
  • 2018:  20 signed.  Class rank 57.
  • 2019:  22 signed.  Class rank 55.

Wait…Didn’t I say UCF is in the midst of a 27 game regular season win streak?

Oh yea.  Well then who the hell cares about transfers?  Certainly not the 12,000 students who line up three hours before kickoff in 90 degree heat.

The only team they’ve lost to since 2017 is #11 LSU, and that was in the Fiesta Bowl.  UCF scored 32 and lost by eight, against one of the best defenses in the SEC.  They haven’t scored less than 31 points in 28 games.  Yes, UCF has done this mostly against American Athletic Conference competition, but they’ve also knocked of Maryland, Auburn (Ranked #7 at the time), Pitt and Stanford (just last week).  Combined margin of victory against these P5 Foes:  162 – 78.

So much for two and three star talent…

Maybe it’s coaching.  Maybe it’s the uptempo offense that forces the opposition’s offense to be one-dimensional (UCF is getting a play off every ten seconds).   Maybe they are over-investing in strength and conditioning.  Maybe there is just something in the water.  Whatever the reason, UCF has clearly cracked the code on how to win without recruiting like the big boys.

Narduzzi didn’t mince words about it:

It’s called of state of Florida, okay, and it’s one of the reasons we go down there and recruit.  You look at a Vince Davis you can pull out of there, they’ve got a bunch of Vince Davises down there. They’re in the backyard, they’re all coming to camp. It’s population.  It’s playing the sport year-round.  It’s an advantage down there.  They can get guys to walk on that a lot of people are scholarshipping.  They’re just laying there. It’s like, ‘Oh, look at that guy.’  It’s an advantage.

One heck of an advantage.  If Narduzzi posted five consecutive recruiting classes ranked in the fifties, you can be assured the Pitt fanbase would run him out on a rail.

Enough about recruiting though, lets look at what UCF has done this year on the field.  In short, they’ve scored a lot of point.  62 against Florida A&M.  48 against Florida Atlantic.  45 against Stanford.  I’d be willing to bet Stanford’s defense looked a lot like Pitt’s defense last year.  Lost and bewildered.  I’d be surprised if Pitt’s Defense is caught off guard again.

We’re getting prepared differently,” Said Pitt DC Randy Bates, “Let’s put it that way.”

Lets hope so.

If there is an area to exploit, it has to be UCF’s defense, right?  Especially the defensive backfield.  All 5.3’s and 5.5’s.  Well if you believe the numbers, sure.  They’re experienced though, all juniors and up.  Also… per an infamous Pitt POV alumni: “UCF has a #4 ranking in Pass Eff. defense at holding the opposing QBs to a 77.97 ranking which is amazing.  I think we see some UCF INTs on Saturday.”

Maybe.  Here are the passing stat lines for each game so far.  Only one INT so far… but also not a lot of opposing-team success through the air.  I’m not terribly worried about our line’s ability to protect, but Coach Whip is going to have to dial up some scheme if he wants to move the ball, and Kenny Pickett is going to have to stay as good was he was last Saturday.

Florida A&M 14/36 92 0 0
FAU 8/20 262 2 0
Stanford 24/49 233 1 1
We are probably also going to need about five or six touchdowns.  In case you are keeping score at home, that would be  double Pitt’s production so far this season.
Kessman is also going to have to be perfect on his field goals.  (He’s currently got a 50% success rate…)
So yes, if there was ever a time for the Pitt offense to break out, that time is now.  Otherwise we are going to be set up for a nationally-televised embarrassment.
Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone