Glass Half-Full, Half-Empty: University of Central Florida

builderofcoalitions's picture
September 3, 2012 at 11:50p

We Buckeye fans are a conflicted lot. We see our glasses as half-full or half-empty, rarely exhibiting a nuanced, even sensible perspective on our football team’s chances of winning a game. Sometimes, we even see things both half-full and half-empty at the same time. That’s why I’ve decided to predict every game this season with this mindset so as to not get too high or too low heading into the weekend.

What's really interesting is how one's perspective can be tempered a bit after one week, even with a 56-10 thrashing of Miami on Saturday. Last Week, my glass half-full projections for Miami's passing yardage (~300) was spot-on, but I only thought they would muster -74 yards on the ground. My numbers for Braxton Miller were pretty close (200 yards passing on 17/23, 100 yards rushing), but I was ten off in sacks for the Buckeye defense. Cory Brown ad Carlos Hyde both led in their respective categories, but I was way off in yardage. (Oddly enough, I predicted Hyde would get the 17 carries he actually had on Saturday.) Thankfully, I was way off in the glass half-empty department.

This week’s opponent: University of Southern Northern Key West Central Florida Knights

Half-Full Perspective: Buckeyes 52 Knights 6
The Buckeyes don't suffer a slow start this week and jump out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter. Braxton Miller notches five touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing) on 200 yards passing and another 100 on the ground by halftime. Leading Meyer to call on equipment manager Lewis VanHoose to hide Braxton's helmet for the entire second half so that he doesn't see the field again.

Still, the offense puts up fifty again as they build on last week's slaughtering of the RedHawks. Hyde gets his 100 yards with a 150-yard performance to go along with two short yardage touchdowns, both on fourth-and-goal. The receiving corps continues their ascension as they make the UCF secondary look silly all day long. Not to be outdone by Devin Smith's amazing one-handed grab, Cory Brown and Jake Stoneburner both haul in one-handed touchdowns of their own. Stoneburner's just seems unnecessary as he is completely wide-open and Miller's pass is perfect.

With UCF's starting running back out with a shoulder injury, the Silver Bullets pin their ears back and destroy the Knight offense, recording six sacks in the process, two more by freshmen Spence and Washington. John Simon records five TFL and Ryan "Damn" Shazier corals Knight runners ten times himself. Trevor Howard gathers two more interceptions while Roby gets his first. The rest of the defensive backfield shows that they have learned from last week's mistakes and mean to make amends.

Meyer concludes that it was a good win, but he needs the team to compete more on both sides of the ball.

Half-Empty Perspective: Buckeyes 12 Knights 21
After watching the game tape from last week's game, UCF QB Blake Bortles comes out chucking it all over the field. They don't even run a play on the ground until their third possession when Latavius Murray takes in a draw play for a long touchdown, giving the Knights a 14-9 lead they carry into halftime.

In the meantime, the hangover from last week's first quarter struggles seem to linger a bit longer as the offense never can get on-track. Continually, the Buckeyes have to settle for field goals. Hyde is completely ineffective, only managing 40 yards on 17 carries. Miller is convinced Devin Smith can make unbelievable one-handed catches on every play and throws several Bauser-bombs into C-deck. On the day, Miller goes 6/25, completing all six passes to Zach Boren. He does rush for over 100 yards, but it equates to 50 after lost yards on sacks is figured-in.

Somehow, the Buckeyes make it close in the fourth quarter as they pull within two, but all hope is lost when the Knights run out the remaining ten minutes of game time on a drive where they run it on every down, catching a tired defensive line on their heels. The final blow comes as Murray breaks a Sabino arm-tackle and trucks Christian Bryant for the final score of the game.

Game of the Week that’s not a Buckeyes game: Georgia vs. Missouri
The second week's slate is a little weak. So, I figured I'd predict the game happening just down the street from where I currently live while trying to put a Buckeye-centric slant on the outcomes. Missouri enters its first-ever SEC game with a strong cast of returners from last year's squad, including the second-best QB in the conference in James Franklin. He'll be throwing to all-world #1 recruit Dorial Green-Beckham who plays a slot position in maybe the deepest receiving corps in the SEC. The defense is anchored by defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson who could start on any team in the country.

Missouri has two players from Ohio to Georgia's none. One of those players is Maty Mauk of Kenton. Mauk set several national passing records while at Kenton. Last fall, Mauk recorded 5,413 yards yards and 68 touchdowns while running for 1,768 yards and 24 touchdowns. Those are real numbers, not video game statistics.

Half-Full Perspective: Georgia 24 Missouri 37
Missouri confuses Georgia with its creative spread passing attack and squadron of receivers. SEC speed is present, but it's the newcomer Tigers who run circles around Georgia. DGB has his breakout performance with a 10-catch, 200-yard, 3-TD performance, continually taking advantage of slower Bulldog linebackers matched up with him in the slot. Basically, Mark Richt loses control of an 18-year-old from Springfield, MO.

Half-Empty Perspective: Georgia 42 Missouri 13
Georgia dispatches of Missouri the way in which the rest of the SEC expects to dominate all Midwestern, land-grant universities. Maty Mauk takes a break from riding scooters with girls to play some meaningless minutes at the end of the game, registering two sacks, a fumble and an incomplete pass.

Comments Show All Comments

Ann Arbor Buckeye's picture

Can someone tell me why we are so worried about a team with this record from last season??
2011 UCF Football Schedule - University of Central Florida Knights
Overall Record: 5-7   C-USA Record: 3-5   Coach: George O'Leary   NCAA Division I   2011 UCF Football Roster
Date Opponent Location Time
9/3/11 vs Charleston Southern Buccaneers Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida W 62-0
09/10/11 vs Boston College Eagles Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida W 30-3
09/17/11 at FIU Golden Panthers FIU Stadium - Miami, Florida L 17-10
09/23/11 at BYU Cougars LaVell Edwards Stadium - Provo, Utah L 24-17
10/08/11 vs Marshall Thundering Herd Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida W 16-6
10/15/11 at SMU Mustangs Gerald G Ford Stadium - Dallas, Texas L 38-17
10/20/11 at UAB Blazers Legion Field - Birmingham, Alabama L 26-24
10/29/11 vs Memphis Tigers Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida W 41-0
11/3/11 vs Tulsa Golden Hurricanes Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida L 24-17
11/12/11 at Southern Miss Golden Eagles M.M. Roberts Stadium - Hattiesburg, Mississippi L 30-29
11/19/11 at East Carolina Pirates Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium - Greenville, North Carolina L 38-31
11/25/11 vs UTEP Miners Bright House Network Stadium - Orlando, Florida W 31-14

Yes there are two Buckeyes in Ann arbor on this site!

cplunk's picture

We went 6-7 last year. Don't you think we're substantially better?
other teams can do that too.
Think about everything that's changed for us over the summer. All the news you read about scheme changes, practices, players improving, etc, etc. Now imagine reading all that same stuff about UCF. Those of us that have think last year's record doesn't tell the whole story. They have a tough veteran team chock-loaded with seniors and with more athleticism than most teams on our schedule. They're very well coached (they got lucky coach wise- if he hadn't lied on his resume when Notre Dame was going to hire him, he'd be the kind of coach that a little school like UCF could never get).
On the other side, we're in a brand new offense and changed defense. The first quarter of last week showed you what that can mean- ineptitude on offense and broken coverages leaving wide open guys on defense. We got rolling after that, but with only one game in the system it is fair to say there is the possibility we play more like that first quarter on an off day.
I think there's about an eighty percent chance we crush them and all the warnings look silly. But there is a twenty percent chance we struggle to implement our plan, they operate well and are fired up, and we panic a little because that isn't supposed to happen. Once it's close in the fourth quarter literally any single play can make the difference. 

builderofcoalitions's picture

I tend to agree. I'm not sure why so many starters from a mediocre Conference USA team should get so much attention. I mean, if you're returning the same guys who struggled in that conference, why will they be so much better this season.
That said, the venerable Phil Steele picked them to win this game or at least challenge. I suspect this week's results will end up being somewhere in the middle of my predictions, but it will be a competitive game in the second half.

Because we couldn't go for three.

jarheadbuckeyefan's picture

Um...because we would like to avoid our own version of AACC vs App St?

"The only meaningful statistic is number of games won."~ Woody Hayes

btalbert25's picture

They probably are the best non conference team on the schedule after seeing how great of a fight Cal put up Saturday.  I don't know that anyone is "worried" but it's probably the best test this team wil get til the 29th when they go to East Lansing.

builderofcoalitions's picture

What he said.^

Because we couldn't go for three.

gobucks96's picture

Love that we get a power running team to test the defense line and linebackers (better to test them out for the first time now now than later). Also, another very adequate defense that should be a significant step up from last weekend...
Face it. As much as we want to win, this is about getting this program up to speed on the new system, for next year and beyond. I  like this challenge. The tougher the opponent, the more they can learn about this team... I hope they are everything everyone else wants them to be.. Course, I want the boys to smoke their doors off too.