The feelings are mutual. In the coaches' weekly press conferences, both Ohio State's Urban Meyer and UCF's George O'Leary praised the successes of their upcoming opponent, dropping the word "respect" time and again. O'Leary and the Knights visit the ex-Gators head man at his new digs, Ohio Stadium, this Saturday.
"You give respect because they certainly deserve it," said O'Leary on Tuesday, "I think they've had a long history of winning, winning championships up there, great fan base. Everything you want in a program, they have."
The Buckeyes are ranked 14th in the latest AP Poll after their 56-10 thrashing of Miami (OH) in Meyer's OSU debut. Before he left the University of Florida at the conclusion of 2010, Meyer's Gainesville office was a mere 120 miles from the UCF campus.
"I know this team. I know this coach. I know this coaching staff and we have great respect for everything they've done," said Meyer on Monday, "This will be a war. This will be something we'll have to be ready for and we will."
The Knights will be more than a two touchdown underdog when they kick off in Columbus on Saturday at 3:30. They've never beaten a non-conference opponent ranked in the top 25.
"I think they're eager to play good competition. I think most competitors are like that," said O'Leary, "I always say 'You respect everybody. You fear none.'"