UCF Shocks Louisville to Put Themselves in BCS Race
Every year it seems we have a “BCS Buster.” Last year it was the Northern Illinois Huskies. In past years it has been the Boise State Broncos and the TCU Horned Frogs. This year’s BCS Buster is the UCF Knights.
UCF will be a team fans will be saying “where did these guys come from” as this season winds down. But to those of us who follow this program (I am a UCF alum from the Class of 1999) the question is “what took so long?”
For 20 years the Knights program has been coming close to pulling off a shocker. There have been many close ones with teams like the South Carolina Gamecocks, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Ole Miss Rebels, Arkansas Razorbacks, Miami Hurricanes, Clemson Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, Kansas State Wildcats and on and on and on. Somehow it was always the same story that let one of these giants off the hook. Fans around the country may have looked at these scores and thought “wow, Georgia almost lost to a nobody” or “what was wrong with Miami today?” The thought that UCF might be pretty good barely crossed their minds.
But, listen to this list: Duante Culpepper, Asante Samuel, Brandon Marshall, Josh Sitton, Bruce Miller, Mike Sims-Walker, Kevin Smith, Atari Bigby. If you watch NFL football, you know these names. What you might not have known is all these guys came from UCF. But the Knights have been by and large unable to get that big win.
Yes, they did beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2000. That was a big win for the Knights, but the Tide was 3-8 that year. Yes, they did beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the Liberty Bowl in Aaron Murray‘s freshman year. But the Dawgs were 6-7. There was a win over the #13 Houston Cougars a few seasons back. But Houston does not have that big name.
Even this year when the Knights went to Happy Valley and won a huge game over the Penn State Nittany Lions, there are people who are saying that this is not Penn State at full strength due to the NCAA sanctions.
But when the Knights went to face the #8 unbeaten Louisville Cardinals with their Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater on the road in a nationally televised game of Friday and came from a 28-7 third quarter hole and beat them, there is nothing else to say about that other than UCF is pretty darn good. To pull it off after giving up the lead with 3:00 to play and scoring with :23 seconds to go just makes it that much better.
The Knights have the win over the Lions and Cardinals and a narrow three-point loss to the Gamecocks on their resume. If they can win out against teams like the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, USF Bulls, SMU Mustangs and Houston, they are going to be in either the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. For the casual college football fan, they will say the Knights came out of nowhere. But the Knights fans know better.
Jim Folsom is a regular contributor at www.bettingsports.com