UCF was picked to finish last in the Eastern Division with East Carolina. Currently, UCF is 4-3; .500 ball gets them bowl eligible. UCF is tied for first place with Southern Miss in the Eastern Division. UCF's last four games are East Carolina, Houston, UAB and Rice. This team could easily finish 6-5 or 7-4.
Maybe I read too much into this, but I think Watkins is trying to make a point.
Want to learn how to rebuild a football program? Watch Central Florida.
The key to the turnaround was coach George O'Leary's ability to get younger players to make an impact. A total of 23 freshmen or sophomores have started this season. UCF has only 10 seniors on its roster.
And then there is this:
The Golden Knights also didn't look for some fancy offensive scheme like the spread to score points. UCF runs a basic multiple offense that uses the running game to establish itself.
"We've been as balanced as the defense allows us to be," said O'Leary, whose team is 4-3 overall and 3-1 in conference. "I still believe you have to run the ball on any down and that's pretty much what we like to do."
Can a sharper contrast be made? Watkins starts the article with a question that he knows the average SMU reader has been asking for 15 years. The last two years' were explained away by youth and inexperience and overall lack of talented upperclassmen. A year ago, SMU switched to a trendy spread offense ( a fancy offensive scheme).
Now a note on George O'Leary. O'Leary, if you recall was the coach hired and fired three years ago by Notre Dame for lying on his resume. I don't think any body disputed that he was a solid coach. But O'Leary had to take a less than prestigious job to rebuild his reputaton. No doubt, he will leave soon, but I don't think anyone at UCF would say it wasn't worth it.