UCF Win Total Prediction
After a pair of strong seasons, UCF has been hit by the injury bug early into the 2019 season. Will the Knights be able to still put together a 10+-win season this year?
After an unbeaten season in 2017 with Scott Frost, the Knights managed to go 12-1 last year under first-year coach Josh Heupel. The Knights have went 8-0 in the AAC the last two years. According to oddsmakers, the Knights are listed with an over/under of 10 wins for the 2019 regular season. The over is listed with +100 odds, while the under is set at -120.
The Knights were one of the most prolific offenses again in 2018, average 43.2 points and 522.9 yards per game, both of which ranked top six in the nation. The QB position has been injury-plagued for UCF over the last year. McKenzie Milton was injured late in the 2018 season, handing the reigns over to Darriel Mack Jr.. Mack threw for 522 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 340 yards and six scores. Recently, he suffered a broken ankle that will hand the QB role over to Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush threw for over 2,500 yards with the Irish during his time in South Bend. Good news for Wimbush is he has a lot of skill position players back for UCF. Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins Jr. rushed for a combined 1,800 yards and 13 touchdowns while Gabriel Davis and Tre Nixon combined for 90 receptions, 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Knights also return three starters on the offensive line.
The UCF defense wasn’t terribly stellar, but the pace of the offense played a role in that. The Knights gave up just 22.7 points per game while allowing 435.5 yards per contest. Their run defense ranked 117th nationally, allowing 222.4 yards per game. The defense has five starters back this year, led by safety Richie Grant, who led the team with 101 tackles and six interceptions in 2018. Establishing a pass rush will be key, as Brendon Hayes had just three a year ago and is the leading returning pass rusher from the 2018 team. That could come from linebacker Nate Evans, who had 90 tackles and 2.5 sacks a year ago.
The Knights have some intriguing non-conference games this year. While hosting Florida A&M in a breeze, the Knights travel to FAU then host Stanford and then travel to Pitt. In conference play, UCF will host UConn, East Carolina, Houston and USF. The Knights will hit the road to face Cincinnati, Temple, Tulsa and Tulane.
The Knights had a perfect regular season before getting edged by LSU in its bowl game. UCF managed to play very well despite a QB changed late in the year, so the injury in the preseason shouldn’t have too much of an impact. Wimbush is a veteran QB that can do his part and help a team that should be led by the ground game anyway. The Knights should stay tough on defense as well. While Stanford could be an interesting battle, UCF showed it can best Pitt and I think it can run through the AAC again. I will take my chances on the Knights getting to 11 wins once again.
College Football Prediction: UCF Over 10 Wins +100