UCF heads to SMU for conference finale after qualifying for BCS bid
No. 19 Louisville's win over Cincinnati 31-24 sends Knights to BCS bowl for 1st time
Thanks to Louisville's Thursday night win over Cincinnati, No. 15 UCF qualified for the school's first BCS bid.
The team boarded the buses on Friday to head to its last regular season game at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Saturday in hopes of becoming the outright champions and keeping an undefeated conference record.
"I think for all the players all the people that stayed with the program, school itself, I think it's a really big deal and I think we'll find out how big a deal when we see how much support we get as far as the games concerned," said Head Coach George O'Leary as the team headed off campus.
"You gotta kind of live in the moment. Enjoy it take advantage of the fact that this is going to be such an exciting time," said Chris Gros, a UCF senior.
For many, the BCS bid is a dream fulfilled.
Former quarterback Daunte Culpepper will be at his restaurant on Saturday with a group of his old teammates, cheering on the Knights as they finish their historic season.
"These football players have been there from the beginning from Daunte Culpepper's day, going to Division 1, to now getting into the MAC, the conference USA, now the American, and now it's a BCS Bowl game that's right there -- what it is, it's a family," said Tony Comas, a managing partner at Culpeppers.
As for the cold weather in Dallas, O'Leary said you can't change the elements, it's for both teams, and that means it becomes a game of attitude. O'Leary said the Knights need to go out and play the game no matter what the weather is.
The Knights wrapped up at least a share of the first American Athletic Conference championship last week. The league's automatic BCS bid was locked up Thursday night when the 19th-ranked Cardinals beat the Bearcats 31-24 in overtime.
UCF (10-1, 7-0) finishes the regular season Saturday at SMU (5-6, 4-3). If the Knights lose to the Mustangs, they will tie Louisville for the conference championship. UCF has the tiebreaker after beating the Cardinals 38-35 in October.