As a graduate of the University of Central Florida and Ball State, I realize I will probably never see a college football or basketball championship until I’m old and gray – if ever. Fans of mid-major programs must set the bar lower.

Enough with the cheerleading trophies, UCF needs one of those shiny trophies they give to those teams that win bowl games.

Enough with the cheerleading trophies, UCF needs one of those shiny trophies they give to those teams that win bowl games.

When I moved up here from Florida in 2004, things couldn’t have been worse for my two programs. I attended arguably the worst DI college football game of the decade when 1-8 Ball State hosted 0-9 UCF my first semester in Muncie. Ball State won and UCF went winless that season. I recall checking the ESPN Bottom 10 ranking each week, hoping UCF hadn’t climbed to the top. Not a good feeling.

Fast-forward to 2007. Both programs found their way to bowl games. For UCF it was the second time in program history, and for Ball State the first time in more than a decade. The end result was a loss for each squad, but as a fan of two lowly mid-major teams, just getting there was an accomplishment.

Now, foolishly, I have set my expectations far too high. For UCF, I expect a repeat as Conference USA Champions and a bowl win. To do that, the Knights will have to get by ECU, this year’s Cinderella Story and a team currently ranked in the Top 15. So what if Kevin Smith is in the NFL and we have a shaky quarterback? It must be done.

For Ball State my expectations are far more ridiculous. Sure, a bowl win or Mid American Conference championship would be nice, but undefeated is the goal. There’s no reason they won’t do it, except that they’re Ball State. Nate Davis is a Top 5 NCAA quarterback, Dante Love is one of the best receivers in the country, the team returned all 11 offensive starters. Besides, the hardest game on their schedule comes Saturday – at Indiana University. That’s right, their most difficult game is at IU.

More than likely, I won’t be posting about college football for a while after this. I have a funny feeling IU deflates Ball State and Boston College thumps UCF this Saturday. But a mid-major fan can dream, can’t he?

Advertisements