Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stand By Your Maaaannnn... ahem Alma Mater

I'm writing this post a couple of days late, but my point is still valid and the topic is absolutely worthy of discussion. What, you may ask, could be so relevant to everyday life to warrant such an untimely post?

The University of Central Florida's football season and the potential of this year's team to blow away the stereotypes created by past records and establish a reputation worthy of an inevitable  conference upgrade.

There has been talk of UCF moving to the Big East for years, from Conference-USA where they currently sit. But, it has always erred on the side of negativity, with many touting the idea as a pipe dream for a school whose football team has been around less than half a century. I am a UCF alum. I was on the spirit team.

I worked in the sports communication department.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of UCF victory and defeat. I have been a student cheering on a losing team, and an alumni watching my alma mater beat the University of Georgia in last year's Liberty Bowl. I have heard the rumors, the good and the bad, and the opinions of many who like to brush the program off in a state with one of the biggest SEC opponents out there (at least for most seasons - the 2010 season may have said differently.)

But with last year's recruiting class already pulling rank, and QB Jeffrey Godfrey at the helm of a growing team, I only anticipate the next decade to be a strong opportunity for UCF to prove its worth among not only conference rivals, but among some  of the nation's highest ranked teams.

The first two games of the 2011 season have already demonstrated the hunger that these boys have for if nothing else, a bowl win this year. With a 62-0 season opening win against Charleston Southern (admittedly not the toughest team they will face all season), the Knights were just getting started. Last Saturday, they took on Boston College, a team whose decision to leave the Big East for the ACC in 2003 and subsequent conference realignment in 2005 sent shock waves through at least the Northeast. They took them down 30-3.

Again, Boston College is no Auburn, but for UCF, who has been clamoring for national recognition and an invitation to join the Big East, beating the team who decided to leave seemed fitting to put doubters in their place.

It's not just Godfrey that is standing out on the field this season. UCF has one of the best defensive lines (dare I say it?) in the nation. They haven't allowed one touchdown yet this year. In fact, going back to last season, the Knights  didn't allow even Georgia to score a touchdown in the Liberty Bowl last year. Games are being won on the line of scrimmage, and the Knights are exquisite at they way they are putting the pressure on the opposing offense.

My point to all of this is to say that everyone out there should make note of UCF and the growth they are not only making now, but are inevitably bound to make over the next couple of seasons. Never overlook the underdog (is that even still applicable for a team who hasn't allowed a touchdown in 12 consecutive quarters?) Keep your eye on the Knights.

Who are you rooting for this football season? 


  1. Ok as an alum of a different C-USA school, Rice, I would like to respond in defense of our tiny but respectable little conference. C-USA has been posting up some huge numbers this year, UH beating UCLA anybody? And Stephanie, you are right that UCF has indeed been improving. However, the biggest issue for UCF moving to the Big East is not football, it is basketball. With Memphis is C-USA it is often a struggle for any team to make a showing, but with recent recruits UCF has the potential to really put the ball in their court, excuse my puns. UCF football would, no doubt in my mind, be able to hang with the likes of the Big East. However, with their other sports moving at a more glacial pace, I think a new conference with the renovations to the Big-12 and Pac-16 is more likely than any kind of conference move for UCF in the near future. But hey, stranger things have happened. It is afterall the NCAA :-) Oh by the way, I pull for my Florida Gators <3 But would love to point out Rice's HUGE win over Purdue! Ok that's it from me!

  2. Ashten, UCF's other sports are hardly moving at a glacial pace. Baseball is consistently pretty high up the list - although Rice usually is tops in that category. Our basketball team has been making some noise with a top 25 ranking last year before the wheels kind of came off a bit in conference play. Our men's soccer is currently ranked #12, and women's soccer has always been pretty competitive. Let's not forget our water ski team, golf and tennis teams that regularly earn high rankings. I almost forgot bowling - you don't read about it much, but I think we were actually number one a couple of years ago.

    Personally as far as conference affiliation is concerned, I would love to see us in the Big 12, ACC or SEC (not happening), but nobody cares what I think. All I really wanted to say was great post Stephanie.

  3. I agree with the optimist. UCF is really coming along in the big 3 and this, as a post, is wonderfully informative and a great read.


  4. I feel like I just got more of an education in sports in 3 minutes than the whole 31 years before. =)

    I have, over the years, tried to watch sports, "get" sports, LOVE sports, okay, and even bet on sports, but the skill escapes me. It is something I am still very interested in, but I think I need to understand the nuances of fine motor ability better.