Greetings Tech Fans,
Our second game of the season is still scheduled against the University of Central Florida Golden Knights. Known as UCF, they are a dominant program in the American Athletic Conference. They are one of the best Group of 5 teams in the country (they call it Power 6, *eyeroll ) and they’re a sure bet to win the AAC.
However, first let’s look at the current landscape. Even if the ACC moves forward with the season, there are questions marks in Orlando. Besides the fact that smaller conferences and even big ones like the Big Ten and Pac-12 are cancelling or postponing til spring. UCF football players have begun a protest against playing and allegedly made a list of demands:
What does this mean? Nothing really, as of this writing, the season is still on for UCF and Georgia Tech and this game should take place as scheduled on Saturday, September 19th. But again, nothing is certain.
Overall, Georgia Tech and UCF have played 3 times, all GT wins in Atlanta as recently as 2000. Georgia Tech was on the schedule for 2017 when the game was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. It was a nasty storm that affected Orlando and Atlanta. UCF actually went on to finish a 13-win undefeated season and win in the Peach Bowl against Auburn. Despite not being selected for the College Football Playoff, UCF claimed a championship (elected by a lone Orlando beat writer) and even raised banners and made shirts. I wish this was satire.
Apollos on CBS⁉️— KNIGHTMARE (@UKNIGHTMARE) February 10, 2019
More like UCF 2017 National Champions Banner on CBS
Thanks for the zoomed in shots. We like to remind those Gator fans which team is the best in the state of Florida pic.twitter.com/Ielsk02eVX
UCF entered last year with high hopes. Ranked #17 and having not lost a regular season game since 2016, UCF was the Group of 5 team most strongly positioned to upset the blue bloods of college football. The team started strong including a win at home against Stanford but ultimately lost 3 games on the road en route to a 9-3 regular season and a bowl win against Marshall.
They ended the season ranked at #24 and 2nd in the country for total yards per game. All told, this was a good result for UCF as they regressed closer to the mean. Remember, they had a winless 2016 season so despite not contending for the National Championship. They did win Civil ConFLiCT and beat rival USF. Fans must have been pleased.
Departing Impact Players:
Gabriel Davis (WR)
2019 Stats: 72 receptions | 1241 yds | 12 TDs
Gabriel Davis was the team’s leading receiver and 2nd in yards per game in the AAC. His best game came in the Civil ConFLiCT game against hated rival UConn. He had 119 yards and 3 touchdowns. Davis was selected in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Returning Impact Players:
Dillon Gabriel – Sophomore QB
2019 Stats: 236 for 398 | 3653 Passing | 29 TD | 7 INT
Gabriel emerged as the starting QB after Mckenzie Milton did not recover from his gruesome 2018 knee injury in time for the 2019 season. Gabriel led the team to the aforementioned 2nd in total yards per game but also 8th in passing yards per game (316 ypg). The Hawaiian was also recognized by multiple outlets as Player of the Week for his heroic performance vs Stanford.
Richie Grant – RS Junior Safety
2019 Stats: 78 Tackles | 4 TFL | 1 INT | 8 Defl | 1 FF
It’s difficult to quantify defensive contribution but it’s safe to say that Grant is a team leader. He has collected back-to-back first team All-Conference selections and should be a top draft pick. Grant regressed a bit in 2019 but so did the whole team under second year DC Randy Shannon. He received an Impact Player of the week award for his performance against Stanford (8 tackles and 3 deflections).
Aaron Robinson – RS Senior Nickel Cornerback
2019 Stats: 54 tackles | 5.5 TFL | 3 INT | 10 Defl | 1 FF
Robinson is second fiddle on the secondary but he’s no slouch. He found himself at starting Nickel halfway through the season and racked up a few INTs before getting a second-team All-Conference selection. PFF actually ranked him first but that’s splitting hairs. His 2 INTs at Temple probably made the difference against a squad that shellacked the Yellow Jackets just 1 month earlier.
Tre Nixon – RS Senior Wide Receiver
2019 Stats: 49 Rec | 830 rec yds | 7 TD
Nixon is a two-year starter and transferred from Ole Miss in 2017. He has big shoes to fill in a big-time offense. As the Dark Lord William Belichick would say, “Next Man Up”. He showed potential as the 2nd receiver in yards and even received an honorable mention All-Conference. His big game last year came against Houston as he hauled in 6 catches for 123 yards and two scores. Look for his numbers to come closer to that of the departed Gabriel Davis as his targets are sure to increase.
When a 10-win team returns a top Quarterback, 5 of 6 Secondary, and a platoon of runningbacks, expectations are high. Their main challenges on the schedule include at Georgia Tech and at North Carolina. Honestly, UNC are more likely to give them trouble but if they can get past the Heels, another undefeated season is possible.
UCF is actually the highest ranked team in the AAC, just ahead of Cincinnati. Beat Cincinnati and they are playing in the conference championship. Lose and you’re watching from the couch. If this season goes off, circle that game as an exciting late season matchup.
As the FTRS in-house pessimist, we’re gonna get annihilated. Something miraculous would have to happen. We have to beat FSU to get momentum and someone needs to make a statement at QB early. Any form of last years QB carousel isn’t going to beat a dangerous team like this.
Maybe our new defensive contributors make a difference and maybe make this game close. It’s unlikely. Grab your favorite high-gravity beer and feel free to keep another game on standby.
Georgia Tech 6 – UCF 26
32 days to kickoff