Yesterday was the official beginning of fall, it was the first Saturday of college football!
For as long as I can remember, my Saturdays have been spent waking up to College Game day, flipping back and forth on tv between all the noon games, and tailgating on campus. Growing up in the Midwest, college football is like a religion. I watched as Michigan State University struggled to break .500 a few seasons, and then I watched the triumph in the Rose Bowl and when they earned a bid to play in the first ever college playoffs.
Michigan State had a successful start to their 2016 campaign with an easy victory over Furman University. After losing our quarterback in Connor Cook, Tyler O’Conner had a great showing in his first career start. We had way too many penalties, but hey, it was the season opener. We’ll figure it out by the time it really matters.
When I first came to UCF, we were just coming off a successful season which landed us a top-25 ranking, and an upset win over the Baylor Bears in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
My freshman year, we had a decent season..not the greatest, but okay. We played in the Bitcoin bowl, a joke of a bowl game, and we lost to NC State. Thus began our downfall.
In 2015, two NCAA football teams went 0-12, UCF was one of them. We were the laughing stock of the country. A local bar gave out free beer until we could win a game. Uber gave us free rides home from the bar after we consumed one too many free pity beers.
But then, we hired a new coach. We got new Nike jerseys. We upgraded our stadium. We rebranded the program. There was nowhere to go but up, literally. We could do no worse.
It’s been 639 days since the last time UCF celebrated a win on the football field, but yesterday, we finally won. We beat South Carolina State at home and it was the beginning of a new era.
Justin Holman held it down in the pocket, our defense looked strong, and the offense showed the influence of Coach Frost and his Oregon style aggressive game plan. Finally being able to win a game was a great feeling, it was a relief that was long coming. The weight has been lifted off our shoulders, we got that first win in the books.
Don’t call it a comeback, but its our comeback. It’s gonna be a long and slow road, but it seems like we have the pieces we need to make it work.
Toast to the beginning of the 2016 College Football season, this will be legen-wait for it-dary.