When the season started back in August, everyone assumed that the Louisville Cardinals would walk through the AAC to a BCS bowl game on their way out the door for the ACC in 2014. But the Central Florida Knights threw a wrench into the Cards’ farewell tour when they upset Louisville on their home turf and took control of the conference race for themselves. And now after a hard-fought win over a tough Houston Cougars squad last week, it’s all but a lock that UCF will be in a BCS bowl in 2013.
Looking at the standings, the Knights sit alone at the top of the AAC with a perfect 4-0 record in conference play. Three teams are one-game back of the Knights in the loss column as Louisville sits tied with Houston and the Cincinnati Bearcats at 4-1 in conference play. The logjam for second place will sort itself out in the coming weeks, however, as Louisville has games remaining against both Houston and Cincinnati over the final month of the regular season in addition to Houston and Cincinnati squaring off themselves.
UCF, meanwhile, has passed all of their major tests securing wins over Louisville and Houston (and missing Cincinnati on the schedule this season) and just needs to avoid suffering a major upset in their final four games. On paper, that won’t be too difficult as the remaining four teams on the Knights’ schedule have a combined record of just 11-22 this season and only the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-3) sporting a winning record.
Even if UCF stumbles once, however, they sit in a great position to win any tie-breakers for the conference title. Only one of the three teams currently at 4-1 can finish the season with one conference loss but none of them own the tie-breaker over the Knights. Both Louisville and Houston lose out in head-to-head matchups while Cincinnati would lose out since they are ranked lower than UCF in the BCS standings. The Knights moved up to No. 17 in the latest rankings while Cincinnati remains unranked.
Not many would have thought that Central Florida would be running things like they are in their first trip through the AAC, but the Knights have taken care of business in 2013. If they can avoid a monumental collapse over the final four games, UCF will be playing in a BCS bowl game this season.