Five Takeaways from UCF’s 34-27 Win Over Auburn in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl


I wonder if the University of Central Florida has a case of buyer’s remorse for hiring Josh Heupel over someone on the 2017 UCF coaching staff.

You see the UCF team play and act like a family on the sidelines. With every single coach going to Nebraska, UCF loses the Frost Blueprint and culture. The new Heupel coaching staff is going to be starting everything in the program from scratch, from creating a playbook and practice schedule to evaluating the entire roster and scouting unfamiliar opponents.

Heupel comes to the University of Central Florida with impressive credentials. As a player, he won the Heisman Trophy Award winner and led Oklahoma to the only national championship under Bob Stoops. When he arrived at Missouri as offensive coordinator, he took over a Tigers offense that ranked 127th in scoring offense in 2015, and improved them to 15th in the nation in 2017.

But the way he left Missouri left a bad impression on at least one of Heupel’s former players. Missouri senior defensive lineman Marcell Frazier took issue with the staff departures.

“Realistically, Heupel left us in a bad position,” Frazier told reporters after the game Wednesday. “It is what it is. And Elarbee left us in a bad position. As men, they have to look in the mirror.”

This makes what Scott Frost did in December even more impressive.

While Heupel shirked his offensive coordinator duties with Missouri, Scott Frost handled both the University of Central Florida and Nebraska head coach duties with a tireless work ethic, insane travel schedule and tremendous sense of purpose. As Nebraska head coach, Frost improved the recruiting class at NU from #87 to top 50 while galvanizing the fanbase

At UCF, he proved that the Nebraska job and its duties were not a distraction. Make no mistake, if UCF laid an egg in the Peach Bowl, he possibly would have come under scrutiny from the media.

Right now, you could say Scott Frost is the savior of two programs simultaneously.

The Huskers will receive votes (and could possibly be ranked on the fringes of the Top 25) when the 2018 AP and Coaches preseason polls are released in August 2018.

Coaching matters. I could see both Nebraska and UCLA hovering around the preseason Top 25 based upon coaching alone. The day after the CFB National Championship Game (1/9/18) will see the release of several way-too-early preseason Top 25 rankings for next season.

Don’t be stunned when you see the 4-8 Cornhuskers forecasted for the fringes of the Top 25 just based on Frost and his staff’s remarkable performance over the past two seasons.

Props to the 51 UCF Players who went both 0-12 and 13-0. This is the stuff movies are made of.

This speaks to Scott Frost and staff making the most of what they had and bodes well for Nebraska in 2018. It also speaks to the importance and difference-making quarterbacks can make. McKenzie Milton was second in the nation in passer rating, only behind Baker Mayfield. While the UCF story is great, it is not possible without the dual-threat ability of Milton and some real quarterback-whispering from Scott Frost, Troy Walters, and Mario Verduzco.

What has impressed me most about Frost at Nebraska is he isn’t lowering expectations based on the players he’s inheriting.

“I had a good meeting with the team,” Frost said. “I saw a lot of fire in their eyes. I saw a group that’s excited. I let them know that there’s going to be a lot of hard work to be done, that things are going to change — a lot of things are going to change — but it’s going to be a really fun process. I’ve seen it happen before and I know it can happen here.”

Frost is here to coach them, not throw them under the bus to lower expectations. You can despise Urban Meyer all you want, but he was dead-on when he called out his former assistant Tom Herman for saying he can’t  “sprinkle fairy dust” on the players he inherited from Charlie Strong. This comment came after a disappointing week one loss to Maryland. That is clearly throwing the players under the bus while also reducing their confidence.

Under Mike Riley, the Huskers lost too many games not because of lack of talent, but because of game management and game planning. And that is just what we could see on gameday.

I’m not ready to give a win-loss prediction for 2018, but one thing you can expect is that Frost will maximize the talent currently on the roster.

Classy Scott Frost interview by ESPN’s Allison Williams at the end of the game.

I personally cringe at the thought of Nebraska intruding and distracting from the amazing accomplishments of the University of Central Florida Knights, particularly in a postgame setting. I can understand some of the frustration among UCF fans about the attention Nebraska receives, but the attention they are receiving is great for the UCF brand.

Kudos to ESPN’s Allison Williams for keeping the focus on Central Florida and their incredible season.

While the future is bright in Lincoln, this New Year’s Day belongs to the UCF Knights and their passionate fans. Enjoy!


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