When UCF landed Duante Culpepper in the mid 1990s, right before making the jump to D 1-A (FBS), it was not long after the Knights were scaring SEC, ACC, Big 10, and Big 12 teams to death. Looking back on that team and that time, if someone had asked, “where would UCF football be by the year 2013″, what would you have said? Is UCF making progress? In many ways of course we have. We have a stadium on campus with a nice new basketball arena too. The game day experience for Knights home games is two or three times better than those days. Back then we might have seasons with four home dates, five tops, and none of them against a team you’ve ever heard of. Now we get some tradition rich programs like Missouri, NC State, Miami, Boston College and South Carolina to come into town. Now we are in the same conference as USF, so they cannot duck us anymore. So things are progressing. Here is what we need to ask ourselves:
1. Have we as a program gotten far enough to this point?
2. Where should we be as a program in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years from now?
Because, here is the thing. When we got Culpepper and we were hanging with the “big boys”, I was still a young man. There was plenty of time to start beating those teams, get to bowls, and even rise to national prominence. But that was nearly two decades ago and guess what? We’re still not there. Oh sure, we did beat NC State once and BC once. The bowl win over Georgia was awesome and the win over Alabama was sweet. But that is really about all we have to show for over 15 years. I thought we’d have more by now. When you look at the guys we’ve put in the NFL, these guys are stars. Asante Samuel, Brandon Marshall, Josh Sitton, Bruce Miller…etc. And plenty of guys who had their moments too like Sims-Walker, Kevin Smith, Culpepper, Bigby, etc… it seems like we’d be further along. For me, time is not on my side as much as before. I’ll be old soon. I already can’t remember a day when I wasn’t it pain. How much longer am I going to be able to get to the games? 15? 20 more seasons? I look at the last 15 to 20 and look at where we were on the field then and where we are now, and I see a little difference, but not enough to make me think that if the administration does not get serious about this, I will live long enough to see UCF and National Championship mentioned in the same sentence.
That is what all UCF football fans should be hoping for. That before we die, we will see the day when the football world is watching UCF play for something big. For those of you in your 20s and 30s, no big rush. You’ve got plenty of time. But one thing you will soon find out id, it speeds up on you. Football seasons come and go faster and faster as another 4-8 or 5-7 goes by. And one day you look in the mirror at your mom or dad and realize you don’t have all the time in the world and yet your team is still going to the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl on a good year. So even for you, it would be a good idea to start putting the heat on the administration to get this thing cranked up full blast.