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  • Kevin Scarbinsky

Happy for Gus Malzahn as he gets his bus in gear at UCF

We've been over this before. Ole Miss fans don't want to hear it, but it bears repeating as we wait for two more weekends of crazy from Cadillac Williams and radio silence from Lane Kiffin on the subject until he makes up his mind. Coaching football at Auburn can be a pretty sporty gig.


It's coaching football after Auburn that tends to be a drag. At least that used to be the case until Gus Malzahn retrieved his clipboard from the cupboard, retooled his bus and gunned it toward Disney World, where he is reminding people that, when he puts his mind to it, he's a pretty fair country ball coach.


Who's the second-year head coach of the first-place team in the American Athletic Conference … the highest-ranked team in the Group of Five … the team most likely to earn the G5 New Year's Six spot in the Cotton Bowl?


That would be Malzahn. Despite Auburn's generous parting gift of $21.45 million - with half in the bank and half still to come - he clearly did not move to Central Florida to retire and count his money. It's not just that his Knights are 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the AAC, with the head-to-head tiebreaker over Cincinnati and Tulane. Or that they're No. 17 in the latest AP poll and No. 20 in the College Football Playoff rankings.


He's doing things Central Florida has never done before. Example: UCF has beaten two ranked teams in a single season for the first time with victories over No. 20 Cincinnati and just last Saturday night over No. 16 Tulane.


Malzahn also is doing things he used to do when he was at his best at Auburn. He's getting the most out of a transfer quarterback in Ole Miss refugee John Rhys Plumlee. Despite playing wide receiver for Kiffin and the Rebels a year ago - because Matt Corral was the man behind center - Plumlee is doing a wonderful job running Malzahn's downhill read-option. ...


Read the rest of Kevin's look at a coach living his best life after Auburn compared to others who couldn't say the same. Only in The Lede.


Gus Malzahn has Central Florida in first place in the AAC and in position to reach a New Year's Six bowl. (AP photo)