Love them or hate them, UCF has taken the college football world by storm. The Black Knights not only achieved a perfect 13-0 season, but a 25 game win streak. Although certain questions about strength of schedule come up, you can’t deny the Black Knights as a talented football program, as of late. But who’s the next UCF? Who’s is the next Group of 5 powerhouse? Let’s look at a few possible candidates:
1. Cincinnati Bearcats
Coming out of the American Conference, alongside UCF, the Bearcats finished with an 11-2 record in 2018. Cincinnati notched the best 2018 recruiting class in the AAC, as well as the third best in conference recruiting class in 2017. They also offer plenty of upside with head coach Luck Fickell at the helm. Fickell took a 4-8 team and turned them into an 11-2 team in one year. Look for the Bearcats to have a breakout season in 2019.
2. North Texas Mean Green
The Mean Green are coming off of back-to-back 9 win seasons for the first time since 1978. UNT’s “It-factor” is their senior quarterback Mason Fine, (Pictured). Fine was easily the best quarterback in the C-USA last, as well as a Davey O’Brian Award finalist. North Texas is also led by a talented offensive mind, in Seth Littrell. Look for North Texas to possibly dominate the C-USA next year.
3. UAB Blazers
The Blazer’s capped off an impressive season in 2018, going 11-3 and winning a conference championship. But here’s the most impressive about the Blazers, UAB’s football program was shut down in 2016. 2 years later, they’re already conference champions. UAB is a team that’s here to stay, notching the 34th best recruiting class in 2020. Look for the Blazers to be a dominate force in the C-USA for years to come.
4. Army West Point Black Knights
Last season, the Black Knights put the college football world on notice. The Knights took a playoff bound Oklahoma to overtime, in Norman. Although Army was unable to topple to Sooners, West Point capped of an impressive 11-2 season, with a dominate 70-14 win over Houston, in the Armed Forces bowl. Army has consistently improved from year to year as of late, and I expect them to continue that trend.
5. Houston Cougars
After acquiring former West Virginia head coach, Dana Holgorsen, Houston seems to be in a good spot. As previously mentioned in our article on the Top 10 Quarterbacks for 2019, the Cougars have one of the best players in college football at the helm, D’Eriq King. In 2018, King threw for nearly 3000 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions. If Houston’s offense plays to it’s potential, the Cougars are a serious NY6 contender.
Disclaimer: This article is not in any specific order. This is all only speculation, and my opinions, until the season starts. All images used belong to their respective owners.