John Denton's Knights Insider: Plenty of Reasons For Football Fans to be Excited

Feb. 10, 2010

By John Denton

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Coming off a recruiting period in which UCF football just landed its most dynamic collection of talent ever and interest in the program is at an all-time high with hopes soaring for next season, season ticket packages for the 2010 season have been unveiled by the school.

For a fourth consecutive season, there will be no increase in the per-game season ticket pricing. Packages start as low as $99, making them extremely affordable to families and fans in Orlando and the Central Florida area.

UCF has been among the leaders in attendance among its Conference USA peers each of the past three seasons, and the goal now is to push the season-ticket base back higher than 20,000.

With its state-of-the-art facilities and dramatically improved talent base, UCF seems to be on a collision course with greatness in the near future. Head coach George O'Leary has tried to spread the message that UCF is a program on the rise and he hopes the fans and the season-ticket base understand their important role in the building process.

``I think good news travels and with the exposure that UCF has gotten a lot of kids out there are seeing how great UCF really is,'' O'Leary said recently. ``Our facilities and the school sell themselves. The only thing we lack now is tradition because we haven't been playing Division I that long. But I think people are starting to realize that it's hard for a school of our size to not take off and just start dominating.''

UCF is expected to be among the favorites to win Conference USA next season after a 2009 year in which the Knights won their final six league games in convincing fashion. UCF also reached the third bowl game in school history last season, but lost to Rutgers in the St. Petersburg Bowl.

A shot at a Liberty Bowl berth as the league champion certainly seems within reach next season considering the talent that UCF has returning and coming in from the recruiting haul.

The Knights return most of a defense that was the league's best in almost every major category last season, and the offense will again be anchored by a group of receivers, backs and top linemen who are returning.

Defensive end Bruce Miller will be back for his senior season after winning Conference USA's Defensive Player of the Year award last season. He might have some competition for that award this season with the continued improvement of UCF cornerback Josh Robinson, who tied for the freshman lead in the nation in interceptions with six. Robinson said recently that he is working hard this offseason to improve his strength and stamina levels in hopes of returning kickoffs and punts next season and hopefully follow the path of former UCF All-American and current Pittsburgh Steeler Joe Burnett.

And what makes the prospects of next season even more exciting is the influx of talent from the elite skill players that UCF landed in recruiting. After signing Miami-Dade County's all-time leading passer (Jeffrey Godfrey) and two of the Southeast's most sought-after wide receivers (Joshua Reese and Jordan Akins) and an Under Armor All-American lineman (Torrian Wilson), the future couldn't look much brighter for a UCF football team that is most certainly on the rise.

UCF's success at Bright House Networks Stadium, where the Knights were a sparkling 6-1 last season including three come-from-behind victories, will be critical in the upcoming season. An early-season showdown against Atlantic Coast Conference foe NC State will be played at Bright House Networks Stadium. The Knights stunned the Wolfpack 25-23 in Raleigh, N.C., to open the 2007 season.

UCF also hosts perennial C-USA powers East Carolina and Southern Miss at home this season, giving them a chance to make a bold statement in league play with home victories against Southern Miss and an ECU team that won the C-USA title last season.


John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.