Great things come to those who wait. It's been a long time coming since its inception in 1979, but UCF is definitely on the map now, credit to the American Athletic Conference.
The AAC has done wonders for the Knights' brand awareness. George O'Leary said this week that the conference move has been great for the the program, mainly because of the TV exposure. This season the Knights play a total of seven regular season games on ESPN and three on other national networks. That's a lot of facetime for a team that has shown, most times, that it can and will pull out the win.
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This time last year, UCF and Blake Bortles were hardly household names outside of Central Florida. Now, the black and gold, which is 11-0 all-time in conference play and have the 10th-ranked defense in the country, is recognized as a quality team, even without Bortles. Going 12-1 last season and now on a five-game winning streak, UCF didn't struggle to acclimate itself into a more challenging conference, but rather came in and dominated.
Players, without hesitation, told me before the season started that their goal was to repeat as conference champions. That may not have seemed likely to happen to some, but they are proving each week that they have the potential to do it. Although they hadn't played a complete in-conference game this season until their homecoming win over Temple, each week the chemistry and will to win seems to develop and strengthen.
The AAC has given UCF the chance its been waiting to have — to show its talent against quality opponents. O'Leary also said earlier this season that when you're on TV, you either get exposure or you get exposed. UCF has to be happy with the broad exposure it's gotten in just year two in the American.
Follow Jazmyne on Twitter @AsToldByJLee.