Amidst expectations, team must prepare to weather storm
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2011
Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2011 16:08
This past Saturday went by just as most Saturdays have the past few months on campus.
There were not thousands of people strewn about campus. There were not students, alumni and families alike tailgating all day. There was no game at Bright House Networks Stadium this past Saturday.
No, that all happens this Saturday.
This past weekend, though, and the next few days leading up to kickoff, represent the quiet before the storm.
And, if nothing else, this season promises to be some storm.
Think about it: whatever happens for UCF football this season, it's going to be a big deal.
Win a bunch – it's a big deal. Lose a bunch — it's a big deal.
The reason is simple enough; there have never been expectations or anticipation for the Knights' program like there are for this season.
Therefore, win or lose, this season promises to be a wild ride, because more people than ever before expect the Knights to be winning this year. And judging by the quiet confidence of the team's leader, sophomore quarterback Jeff Godfrey, the same quiet confidence that seems to pervade the locker room, they wouldn't have the expectations any other way.
The big home game for UCF this season is Boston College. The matchup, against a BCS program, is an important game for the Knights to win. But it's not the kind of matchup that will excite the community the way playing Miami or South Florida has in the past.
But, given the context of what this season could be, that's sort of the point, isn't it?
For the first time, the Knights would like to sell out the stadium just because they're playing there, regardless of opponent. Assuming UCF wins its first few games and climbs higher from their preseason ranking of No. 33, the sales pitch for the athletics department should get gradually easier:
"Hey, folks, come out and see the top-25 program in your backyard!"
There are all sorts of possibilities for coach George O'Leary and his program this season, ranging from disappointment and failure to BCS-busters. And for five more days, they're going to remain just that – possibilities.
It was quiet this weekend. The Knights took the day off Saturday. On Sunday, they did not practice but focused on the game plan. This week, installation and preparation for Charleston Southern will continue. The coaching staff, which probably doesn't sleep much to begin with, will probably sleep even less. It's the kind of tedious preparation, crossing the "t's" and dotting the "i's" that theoretically could make all the difference on Saturday.
But for right now, it's all just part of the quiet before the storm. Starting Saturday, things get real. Starting Saturday, the storm that is the 2011 college football season, begins.