Another 10-win season for Central Florida? Knights have easiest football schedule in AAC
Central Florida has been arguably the best Group of 5 football program in the country the past three years – a case perhaps can be made for Boise State of the Mountain West – with a 35-4 combined record, two American Athletic Conference titles and two New Year's Six bowl appearances. The Knights could be set up for another big season in 2020 as they have the easiest overall schedule in the AAC per rankings by CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli.
One thing to note about the AAC this year is that the league is down to 11 schools after losing Connecticut to independence, so the divisional setup is gone. AAC schools will still play eight conference games, and then the top two finishers in the standings would meet in the AAC title game. Basically, it's set up just like the Big 12 now.
UCF is the +130 favorite on the moneyline odds at William Hill sportsbook to win the conference title for the third time in four seasons. The Knights didn't make the title game last year, though, finishing a game behind Cincinnati in the East Division.
Coach Josh Heupel brings back 16 starters, including stellar quarterback Dillon Gabriel – he's +12500 on the Heisman Trophy odds. In leading one of the nation's top offenses in 2019, the Hawaii native threw for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns despite not technically opening the season as the starter. UCF finished No. 2 in total offense nationally (540.5 yards) and fifth in scoring (43.4 ppg). Gabriel did lose star wideout Gabriel Davis (72 catches, 1,241 yards, 12 TDs).
As for the schedule, UCF opens with a very tough home game against likely Top 25 school North Carolina on Sept. 4. Early projections have the Knights as 3-point favorites. Also out of conference, they host Florida International and Florida A&M while visiting Georgia Tech (which is rebuilding).
In conference, Central Florida does have to visit Memphis on Oct. 16 and hosts Cincinnati on Nov. 21 but avoids Navy and SMU (both from the former West Division). One reason that Fornelli ranks UCF's schedule as the conference's easiest is that the Knights don't have to play themselves.
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