User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
UCF gets ranking, new expectations after W

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - UCF came into this season used to being overlooked nationally as it chased meaningful attention in a football landscape that includes three more tradition-rich in-state programs.

Advertisement
Now, following an upset of a top-10 team, the Knights must quickly get used to a new life with a target on their backs.

UCF entered the national rankings Sunday at No. 21 in The Associated Press poll and No. 25 in the USA Today coaches' poll. It is the Knights' first rankings since the final polls in 2010.

But more importantly, at its halfway point UCF (5-1, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) is now the front runner to capture the league's at-large berth to the BCS, armed with a relatively soft schedule the rest of the regular season. They host winless Connecticut on Saturday.

''(The players) probably think they should have been ranked at the beginning of the year,'' Knights coach George O'Leary said Sunday, smiling. ''But I won't make a big thing about that, because they know the ultimate goal hasn't changed. I keep waving in front of them that it's to win the conference. That's what we're concerned about, and wherever we end up in the rankings if we win the conference, it'll be great.

''But the conference and to win the conference championship is the No. 1 goal in this football program each and every week.''

UCF is 4-0 away from Orlando this season, its best road start in program history. The Knights chances to secure the AAC's BCS berth will come mostly in friendly confines, though. Four of their final six games at home.

Also, with the exception of Houston (at UCF on Nov. 9) and rival South Florida (at UCF on Nov. 29), who both are 2-0 in AAC play, the remaining four opponents on Knights' schedule are just 1-6 in conference play.

The new attention and BCS projections are all flattering, sure, but it is not a daydream O'Leary is particularly interested in entertaining at this point.''

''Not really,'' O'Leary said. ''I spoke to the team last week (and) said this is a conference game and if you win this one you control your own destiny. You don't have to worry about someone else beating somebody; you just got to take care of business each week. The players understand that. They really do.''

The Knights are the second-youngest team in the country with only eight seniors, but have gotten lots of leadership so far from a junior class that includes quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson, who both came up big in the Louisville victory.

Likewise, a win at Penn State and three-point loss to South Carolina has helped his team grow up in a hurry, O'Leary said. He expects them to take on the new challenge well because of that experience.

''It's a young team, but it's a very mature team as far as taking what they read and taking what they see on TV, and understanding that not every team is the same,'' O'Leary said. ''And every team handles things different. And we have to handle it a certain way, because we're young at certain positions that play need to be overachievers right now in this program.''

About 200 fans greeted the Knights when they arrived just before 4 a.m. Saturday after the Louisville victory, a reception not previously seen to that extent by a fan base that was enjoying the program's first victory over a Top 10 team.

It's ushered in a new reality, though, and one O'Leary has already spoken to his assistants about reinforcing this week.

''It was a great win, but you got to build on the win,'' he said. ''We played one game at a time and that game's over. We've enjoyed the win, but now you've got each week (where) you're the target. So you better understand that.''

---

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: 2014 ACC Predictions
Nelson: September Situations
Edwards: 2014 Big 12 Predictions
Marshall: Team to Watch - Marshall
Edwards: 2014 Pac-12 Predictions
Lawrence: 2014 Sun Belt Preview
Blankenship: Fade Alert - Ohio
Edwards: 2014 SEC Predictions
Marshall: Team to Watch - UNC
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks-
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!