This week, UCF's 2009 Homecoming Week begins, featuring nights of movies, comedy, concerts, the famous spirit splash, and the Knights homecoming parade, culminating with an extremely important C-USA match versus the Houston Cougars.
Despite the excitement and pride the Knights football team has at this time each year, a gray cloud will be silently hovering over Bright House Stadium until the lights come up Saturday night.
Houston, who is currently ranked 15th in the BCS, has lost only one game this season. Does UCF have what it takes to conquer a team that took down, at the beginning of the season, a No. 5 Oklahoma State?
Keys to a win
The Knights simply have to push the beatdown by the Texas Longhorns out of their minds, and move forward to a crucial three-game C-USA match-up stretch. The Knights are 3-2 in conference play so far in 2009, and they definitely have the ability to beat their conference foes, including Houston.
Besides psychological fortitude and a sense of urgency and intensity, the Knights will have to do the following to keep the Cougars at bay:
Stop Case Keenum
The Houston quarterback is quite the force, and not just for Conference USA—Keenum is the nation's most productive passer. Additionally, Keenum made way for a Houston comeback in this past weekend's Houston-Tulsa game to make way for an in-the-last-seconds field goal by Matt Hogan.
The Cougars are used to such wild finishes, and will not hold the intensity to please the Knights for their homecoming game. The Knights must play 100 percent from quarter one to four, never letting up.
The Knights defense has to make sure they have Charles Clay's number—he scored four touchdowns against Tulsa on Saturday.
Play Knights Football
The Knights know they can do it—heck, Tulsa nearly did. They would serve well to look at Houston-Tulsa tape, take a look at how hard Tulsa was working, what plays were made, and adjust from there.
To UCF's Offense—give both Hodges and Calabrese the confidence they deserve and pump them up.
The Good News
This past weekend, Tulsa almost squeaked out a win against Houston, 46-45. Tulsa is 4-5 overall and 2-3 in C-USA, which is not as impressive as UCF's 5-4, 3-2 record. "So you're saying there's a chance..."
And so the Knights come to a fork in the road: One side says NEXT 3 GAMES: 3 WINS and the other says NEXT 3 GAMES: with a big question mark.
UCF football must choose which one of those roads to follow, stick to it, and grind through the next three match-ups. Only 180 minutes will shuffle out those who will go to bowl games, and those who will watch them on their folks' TV.
What will it be, UCF?
Additional Information: Tailgating Time Change for Homecoming
UCF Athletics has informed us that there will be an early tailgating kickoff time due to homecoming festivities this Saturday, November 14 only. Tailgating activities will be allowed at 7 a.m. For the Tulane game, the tailgating time will go back to 8 a.m.
Following normal game day policy, the campus tailgating area alcohol ban will be lifted until game time, which is 12:00 p.m. Tailgating activities must end two hours after the game is over.
The Gold Zone, areas closest to the Bright House, will close starting at 8:30 a.m. Vehicles entering the Gold Zone after 8:30 a.m. must have the appropriate Gold Zone parking pass.
Other lots on campus may be used at a first come, first-served basis.
Homecoming Parade: Nov. 14, 9:30 a.m.
Fans are encouraged to join the Knights for the 9:30 a.m. Homecoming Parade start. If you plan to watch the parade, be on campus by 9:00 a.m.
The parade will begin on Greek Park Drive and will travel clockwise along North Gemini Boulevard before ending in front of UCF Arena.
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