UCF at Texas Preview
The second-ranked Longhorns, however, know very well not to take the Golden Knights lightly.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made Texas –36.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Texas –36.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
Texas (8-0) moved past Alabama into second in the BCS standings after last week's 41-14 win over then-No. 13 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns picked the Cowboys off four times, nearly a year after their defense faltered in a stunning last-second loss at Texas Tech that cost them a shot at the national title.
Defensive backs Curtis Brown and Earl Thomas, who allowed the Red Raiders' Michael Crabtree to score the winning touchdown in last season's only defeat, returned interceptions for TDs last Saturday.
"That was a bad feeling, and I think (Texas coach Mack Brown) kind of put it on the seniors' shoulders and said, 'Hey, this is your team. You control your destiny. Don't let it happen again,''' said Colt McCoy, who threw for 171 yards and his 100th touchdown.
Since winning the national title in 2005, November has been the Longhorns' most treacherous time. Two defeats in the month in 2006 kept them out of the conference title game, as did last season's loss in Lubbock on Nov. 1.
Texas missed out on a chance to share the Big 12 South championship in 2007 after a loss to Texas A&M.
For the first time since their championship season, the Longhorns will play all of their November games in their home state. After hosting the Knights, they travel to Baylor, host Kansas and face Texas A&M on the road.
Texas had been scheduled to face Texas Tech this week, but that game was moved up to Sept. 19.
"We've got a lot at stake now, and we understand that," Brown said. "When you get past OU at our place, there's some more stuff out there for you. When you get past Oklahoma State, this was a game everybody was looking for, so we can't say now that it's over, we're there.
"We have to restart and make sure that we keep our foot on the gas and make sure we move forward."
The Longhorns begin the month against a team that nearly upset them two seasons ago.
In the only meeting between the schools, Texas pulled out a 35-32 road win Sept. 15, 2007, rallying after trailing by one in the fourth quarter. Central Florida scored a touchdown with 35 seconds left and forced Texas to recover the final onside kick.
"We've got to be prepared for them," said McCoy, who was 32 of 47 for 259 yards and a touchdown in that game. "I just remember we didn't finish it like we wanted to. We got up a little bit and never put it away. We just let them hang around and hang around. We had to make some plays at the end to actually win that game."
Central Florida (5-3) could again prove to be a tough opponent. The Golden Knights boast the nation's seventh-best rush defense at 87.8 yards per game and are sixth with 3.3 sacks a contest.
Two of their losses, road defeats to Southern Miss and East Carolina, came by a combined 12 points. Central Florida, though, needed a last-minute touchdown to beat Marshall 21-20 on Sunday night.
With 23 seconds left, Rocky Ross caught a 1-yard score from Brett Hodges, who finished with a career-best 325 yards and two TDs.
"These kids have a lot of fight in them," coach George O'Leary said. "They don't worry about mistakes. They worry about making the next play, and that's what we did. When we needed a play, somebody stepped up and made it."
Central Florida will face the top-scoring team in the nation and third-best defensive squad this week. Texas is averaging 41.0 points and giving up 240.8 yards per game.
The Longhorns also own the country's best rush defense, giving up 52.9 yards a game on the ground.
Posted: 11/3/09 5:37PM ET