With expansion likely on the horizon, the UCF Knights should be added to the Big 12 to provide schools like Kansas State bigger revenues and more exposure.
Central Florida is a breeding ground for top athletes and an area Kansas State would love to sink their recruiting teeth into. UCF has cultivated their program with 3-star athletes, some JUCO transfers, and hand-fulls of high school recruits that aren’t on any national radar. Does any of this sound familiar Kansas State fans?
imagine what could of been if Kansas State had established recruiting grounds in the Southeast
Long before he was the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Blake Bortles was recruited by UCF as a 3-star quarterback out of Oviedo, Florida. Likewise, the Knights recruited Breshad Perriman from a small town outside of Atlanta. Perriman was completely unrated coming out of high school and four years later, he was selected as the 1st round pick of the Baltimore Ravens. Just imagine what could of been if Kansas State had established recruiting grounds in the Southeast. We aren’t suggesting Bortles and Perriman would have instead been Wildcats, but playing UCF once a year would certainly be that foot-in-the-door Kansas State needs in the region.
Getting Kansas State football into the city of Orlando is actually the much bigger deal when it comes to adding UCF to the Big 12. One of the top tourist destinations on the planet, there’s a lot of revenue to be gained and of course, more money for the Big 12 equals more money for Kansas State. By the way, the Big 12 is the only conference of the “power 5” that does not have a school located in Florida.
Many fans may not realize this but Orlando is a big college football town. The Florida Citrus Bowl recently underwent a $207.7 million reconstruction project and is now home to three college football bowl games. Orlando will host the 2016 Florida State spring game and an opening weekend, neutral site clash between the Seminoles and Ole Miss. Its also worth noting Orlando boasts the 18th television market in the country, an important metric considering the recent rise of conference television networks.
The UCF Knights still aren’t considered major players by some but there’s certainly nothing minor about a school that is the 2nd largest in the country in student enrollments. George O’Leary has done an immaculate job taking UCF from Conference USA obscurity to a 2014 Fiesta Bowl upset over Baylor. The Knights are coming off back-to-back American Athletic Conference titles and are proving ready to move onto bigger and better teams.