NEW (8/10): Watch our video interviews of O’Leary and players like QB Calabrese here.

On December 18, 2007, star running back Kevin Smith held a news conference to announce he would return for the 2008 UCF Knights football season.


On January 6, 2008, he broke our hearts and Knights fans questioned if the Mayans’ 2012 “End of the World” prediction happened four years earlier.


As many of you know, the 2008 football season was one to forget and as the season progressed moods changed from “I can’t wait to beat Southern Miss” to “How much do I have to drink to make our inept offense work?”


Nevertheless, after researching our past and current off-season, I have predicted that this year will be a success for Knights football fans.

Once upon a time, we were the Golden Knights and other than being able to drink at the Citrus Bowl, things were not so golden.

For most UCF students, excluding us super seniors, you may be unaware that UCF had a winless football season in 2004. That dismal season made 2005 even more special for Golden Knights fans. UCF football found a place in many fans’ hearts the moment the goal posts hit the ground after the Marshall game.

The next few years had its ups and downs. In 2005 we were 8-5 (bowl game), 2006 4-8, 2007 10-4 (bowl game), 2008 4-8, so conventional wisdom says this year we are definitely packing our bags for a bowl game.

A busy off-season has improved those hopes as Rob Calabrese and Joe Weatherford both had impressive performances in the spring game creating a healthy QB competition.

In an unfortunate turn of events, an injury to projected playmaker RB Latavius Murray has opened the door for LB/S Jonathan Davis to move to RB. Now, Davis may split carries with starting RB Brynn Harvey.

For some of you who may not know, the heartbreaker himself, Kevin Smith, made a similar change to land him a pro career. Can someone say Déjà vu? UCF also returns 10 starters on offense — along with what could be our best recruiting class ever.

Although we will be a better team than last year, we arguably have a much tougher schedule.

Some key games include away games at Southern Miss and East Carolina and home games vs. Buffalo, Miami, and Houston. Three of our toughest games are in the first quarter of the season, as we play a consistently tough Southern Miss (who will likely be without their playmaker WR Deandre Brown), the up-and-coming Buffalo Bulls, and CUSA Champs East Carolina.

The Knights record after the first four games will be a telling sign to the fate of our season. Yes, we do play at Texas this season but whether we win or lose is not as important as how we react against Houston the following week.

When the time comes for our first game Sept. 5, bring just a six pack this time — you shouldn’t need to drink an entire keg by yourself to be able to get through game. On game day this year, UCF football will be worth worth watching and remembering.

UCF Knights 2009 Season Schedule

09/05/09 vs. Samford Bulldogs Bright House Network Stadium TBD

9/12/09 at Southern Miss Golden Eagles M.M. Roberts Stadium 7:00pm ET

09/19/09 vs. Buffalo Bulls Bright House Network Stadium TBD

09/26/09 at East Carolina Pirates Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium  3:30pm ET

10/03/09 vs. Memphis Tigers Bright House Network Stadium TBD

10/17/09 vs. Miami Hurricanes Bright House Network Stadium 7:30pm ET

10/24/09 at Rice Owls Rice Stadium  3:30pm ET

11/01/09 vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Bright House Network Stadium 8:15pm ET

11/07/09 at Texas Longhorns TBD

11/14/09 vs. Houston Cougars Bright House Network Stadium TBD

11/21/09 vs. Tulane Green Wave Bright House Network Stadium 1:30pm ET

11/28/09 at UAB Blazers Legion Field 1:30pm ET