This one, UCF 31 SMU 10
Why not the 2016 CCG? Or USF? Or other miscellaneous upsets? Because in 2016, when UCF went 12-3 to win the AAC and make the playoffs, the team was already put together for me. Buzz Etcheverry, James Mitchell, everyone was already there from previous coaches, all I did was pick a scheme that actually used a RB and ran with it. Literally.
This game, four years later, is a different story. Yes, DNJ and Kevin McQueen and Justice Pierre and the rest of the (Sr) class were all recruited before I got here, but they're players I developed, that I have a real connection to. The rest of the team minus those ten, including future stars like James Munnerlyn and the best damn defensive line in the American, are all me. This year I really feel like UCF is where it is because of me. Yes, not 100% because of me, but still.
After the 2016 season UCF floundered for a bit. 2017 we went 8-0 before losing out the rest of the season, missing the American CCG in a heartbreaking loss to USF in rivalry week (which, by the way, is the loss that was hardest to take). The next two years UCF put up back-to-back mediocre 7-5 seasons, essentially winning the games we were supposed to and losing the games we were supposed to (and others we weren't)
I'm a very anxious person in real life. I worry about every little thing going on, no matter how minuscule, so UCF has been a ride. I'm never confident about playing a team, including the "easy" wins like Eastern Michigan or Cincinnati. EMU played me close in our bowl game in 2018, and in my first game against then-coachless Cincy they blew me out 3-35. Every win is exhilarating, every win means something.
It's great to see UCF in a position it's never been before. The team just beat the #7 conference favorite on the road. The team has more draft-eligible players (I believe it's five?) this year than ever before. We have a legitimate Heisman candidate (and Week 8 OPOTW) who is set to become a household name in the NFL. The team has it's highest ranking ever, and the first in the Top 10. And while this graduating class is going to sting, the team is in a good position for the future. There are a few defensive and offensive pieces that are going to be missing next season, but once those are filled our current Sophomores and Juniors are set to dominate once again.
This is a team that was 3-9 when I joined December 31st, 2014, right before the first game of the 2016 season against Stanford. Since then they have gone 43-17, won four straight bowl games, lost a playoff game, won a conference championship, and made it to the Top 8, at least now. The SMU game proved that this team isn't just a fluke, it's a real program, and the heart and effort I've put into it has been worth it.
I love it here.