Other than California, Ohio State's non-conference football schedule this season look light. But maybe Central Florida, the team's Week 2 opponent, shouldn't be taken lightly.
The Knights may have finished 5-7 last season, but only one loss came by more than seven points. But turnovers plagued the offense throughout the year and the Knights failed to repeat as Conference USA champions.
Another issue on offense came despite a quarterback position that fluctuated between Blake Bortles and Jeff Godfrey in 2011. In the spring, head coach George O'Leary said that UCF was Bortles' team. The sophomore played in 10 games last season, often coming in for Godfrey. After the season, Godfrey quit the team, but is now back as a receiver.
The run game could become a focus of the UCF offense this season. After spending a season on the scout team, Miami transfer Storm Johnson is eligible to play this season. A true blue chip recruit, Johnson will test the Ohio State defensive line. The Knights also bring back senior running backs Brynn Harvey and Latavius Murray. The Knights also have another eligible transfer in offensive tackle Phil Smith. He should help improve an offensive line that has some experience.
Six starters return on a defense that was ninth nationally in scoring defense in 2011. Among those gone, however, is cornerback Josh Robinson. He passed up his senior season for the NFL, and became a third-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. Senior A.J. Bouye is moving into Robinson's spot and the other corner job is a three-man race with sophomore Jordan Ozerities expected to win out. He redshirted last season with a back injury, but was on the Conference USA All-Fresman team in 2010.
The Knights have a fast defensive line and have led C-USA in rush defense each of the last four seasons. The unquestioned best player on defense is senior Victor Gray. He'll see time at both tackle and end and vowed in the spring to be the conference's defensive player of the year. The Knights also have 355-pound Jose Jose. You read that correctly. He's 355 pounds and named Jose Jose.
As much as they're trying to improve on the field, UCF is facing trouble off it. The university received sanctions from the NCAA due to recruiting violations. The school is in the process of appealing a one-year postseason ban. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports has more on that here.