I had the opportunity to go down to ESPN’s College Gameday, Live from the University of Central Florida before last night’s game between #11 UCF and #24 Cincinnati, and asked the students and fans what they we’re hoping for from both the show and the game later that night.
What struck me right off the bat was the dedication of the fan base. I arrived before 6 AM, still over 3 hours before the show started, and the crowd was already completely full and about 6-7 rows deep. And good luck seeing over them. It was a sea of signs, both serious and comedic.
“The committee is BS. They don’t care about anything but Bama vs. Clemson #3561,” one undergrad student said when asked about his thoughts on the CFP Committee and their process. “And if you aren’t in the Power-5, you literally don’t exist. We could win TWO HUNDRED-22 games in a row and we still won’t make the playoff.”
This sentiment was shared by most students and fans that I spoke too, so I asked about UCF’s strength of schedule and how much that mattered. Allen, 37 from Oveido, said that S.O.S was “f$#king stupid”. “How can you get big schools to schedule you if they know they’ll lose? We tried to get into the Big 12. They said no. We tried to schedule Alabama. They didn’t even return our calls. Instead, they want their own cakewalk schedules because strength of schedule only applied to teams the committee doesn’t want.”
I asked if they had anything to say to Kirk Herbstreit and the others that won’t give UCF a second look.
“Kirk, how many more of these do we need before we get the respect we deserve. 22, about to be 23 straight wins. 30+ points in every single game since Obama was president. How many do we have to win before you stop saying we’re nobody? 30? 50? 100? How many?”
“You’re so confident we don’t belong. That we’d get destroyed if we played Bama. Well I believe your exact words before the game were ‘no team in the American can compete with Auburn.’ It was a double digit spread. You didn’t give us a chance. We already proved you were wrong once. We’re gonna prove you wrong again tonight. And we both know if they put us in the playoff, you’d be wrong a 3rd time.”
“Man, they don’t know what they’re talking about. The Knights would kick anyone’s a#$ anytime, anywhere. We won a Natty already, and we’ll keep on winnin’ ’em.”
There was another guy that didn’t say anything. It was kind of weird. He just stared at me for like 20 seconds. Looked a little like this.
Anyway, you could see on TV how the Knights have felt disrespected for years now, and how they’re fighting to earn the slot they feel they deserve. The blowout win 38-13 over #24 Cincinnati last night should at least get them into the top 10. The defense didn’t allow a single point until garbage time and the offense was as explosive as ever.
I could go in depth on the arguments for and against UCF getting into the Playoff, but I’ll save that for before the final vote in just a few weeks. For now, I feel really sorry for whoever draws the short straw and has to play UCF in their bowl game. Ask Auburn how it went for them.
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Photo Credit: ESPN, Ian McCulloch (GCSN), UCF