The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 10, 2013

UCF Knights headed to first ever BCS bowl

(Continued)

ORLANDO, Fla. —

The appeals’ process allowed the Knights to participate in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in 2012

Then, departing from their usual track record toward such appeals, the NCAA sided with UCF in April and threw out the football ban. Had UCF’s appeal not been successful, it would have served the ban this season and wouldn’t be eligible to play in the BCS.

It was gamble, but one that O’Leary said is glad they made.

“I thought it was a big decision and I guess a lot of people jumped on the bandwagon after we won it,” he said. “But I thought we had a legitimate shot at winning that because of some of the things that took place (and) why we got restrictions as far as it wasn’t much of a football deal.”

The outcome has now left the Knights with a chance to join the ranks of established in-state programs at Florida, Florida State and Miami as BCS bowl winners.

It’s also brought an instant national attention to UCF that many thought wasn’t possible after conference realignment completely reshuffled the Big East Conference that UCF originally signed up to join.

That spotlight has also included the rapid rise of junior quarterback Blake Bortles’ NFL draft stock in recent months.

While that kind of buzz could be a distraction for a young team in this position for the first time, O’Leary said he met with Bortles and his parents Sunday night and that he doesn’t anticipate that being an issue during their preparations.

Still, UCF offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe, who is in his fifth year as an assistant at the school, said that doesn’t mean there isn’t a recognition that the program must take advantage of the position it’s in.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

  • Isner wins another Atlanta final

    ATLANTA — Top-seeded John Isner overpowered Dudi Sela on Sunday to successfully defend his Atlanta Open title, blowing serve after serve past the 5-foot-9 Israeli player in a 6-3, 6-4 victory....

    July 28, 2014