UCF enters offseason with new national respect

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm •  Published: January 2, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — UCF was supposed to be an afterthought this season as part of a new conference that already featured a reigning BCS darling in Louisville.

But after its upset win over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, the 15th-ranked Knights made the 2013 season their national coming out party.

UCF posted its first 12-win season in program history and may have finally poked a hole in an in-state paradigm perennially dominated by Florida State, Florida and Miami.

The Knights lose only seven seniors, and should be mostly intact heading into 2014. But a lot will depend on whether junior quarterback Blake Bortles decides to put his name in for this year's NFL draft.

Bortles says for now he remains undecided, but faces a looming Jan. 15 early entry deadline.

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