The good: George O'Leary hasn't built a flash-in-the-pan kind of program in Orlando. The Knights have won 10 games or more in three of the past four seasons, and they went 22-5 the past two.
The past season, UCF proved it's one of the best non-Power Five conference teams out there and finished with a 12-1 record. The Knights beat Penn State and Louisville on the road and upset then-No. 6 Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. UCF's only loss was a 28-25 defeat at South Carolina, in which it had a 10-0 halftime lead.
The bad: The Knights are going to have to move on without star quarterback Blake Bortles, the No. 3 pick in the NFL draft, and tailback Storm Johnson. Bortles passed for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns the past season, while Johnson ran for 1,139 yards with 14 scores.
On Sunday, O'Leary named redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo as his team's starting quarterback. DiNovo, from Tarpon Springs, Florida, hasn't taken a snap in a college game and beat out sophomore Justin Holman for the starting job.
William Stanback, who ran for 443 yards with six touchdowns on 105 carries the past season, takes over as UCF's primary runner.
The ugly: Like Cincinnati, the Knights are going to be fighting the perception that the AAC isn't any good. Much like the Bearcats, UCF will have to prove its worth out of conference. The Knights open the season at home against Penn State on Aug. 30 and play at Missouri on Sept. 13. The Bearcats and Knights won't play during the regular season.
The good: Quarterback Chuckie Keeton is back for his senior season and might be a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The past season, Keeton was well on his way to a fantastic campaign, until he tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in a 31-14 loss to BYU on Oct. 4. He has fully recovered from the injury and is expected to start under center in the Aug. 31 opener at Tennessee. Even better: Backup Darell Garretson went 6-2 in Keeton's absence last year and helped the Aggies finish 9-5 in coach Matt Wells' first season.
The bad: The Aggies lost four starting offensive linemen, including All-Mountain West selections Jamie Markosian, Eric Schultz and Tyler Larsen. Larsen was one of the country's top interior linemen in 2013 and was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy as the country's top center.
Senior left tackle Kevin Whimpey is the lone returning starter, with 26 career starts, and has emerged as the leader of the unit. Seniors Joe Summers, Bill Vavau and Bryce Walker have combined for playing time in only 28 games in their playing careers; the other candidates have played even less. Protecting Keeton is going to be a point of emphasis this coming season, even while breaking in a new offensive line.
The ugly: The Aggies will play 13 regular season games this season, and their final month might not be easy. Heck, the first six weeks certainly won't be a cakewalk. Along with the trip to Rocky Top, Utah State plays at Arkansas State on Sept. 20 and at BYU on Oct. 3.
After playing at Hawaii on Nov. 1 (the reason for the additional regular season contest), the Aggies travel to Wyoming the next week, play New Mexico and San Jose State at home, and then close the regular season at Boise State on Nov. 29.