It was a 14-hour trip from Cincinnati, OH to Orlando, FL; but I made the drive. For what reason some may ask, but for any college football fan it was an obvious answer. College GameDay was being hosted by the University of Central Florida, located in Orlando. They would be playing the Cincinnati Bearcats on ABC primetime. As a student of the University of Cincinnati, I was hyped for the announcement. I bought my ticket to the game less than 30 minutes after the GameDay location was confirmed.
My 3 friends and I hopped in the car the Friday morning before the game and drove all the way down. We arrived in Orlando around midnight Saturday and took a quick power nap before getting up at 5am to get ready and arrive at the GameDay site to get a good spot. We had our signs ready and we were pumped. This was the first time GameDay came to an AAC matchup and we were not going to miss it.
What GameDay was like:
Like I said we got up at 5am so we got to the site around 5:30am, 3 and a half hours before the show even started, and almost 6 and a half before Lee Corso makes him famous weekly pick! We wanted a good spot to hold up our signs and to hear/see the set. We heard people were camping out since the Monday before the GameDay crew was set to arrive, so we figured we should get there early.
For the 3 and a half hours we were there before the show it was a mix of getting booed (because we were decked in Cincy gear not UCF gear), trash-talk back and forth, interviews from local news stations and ESPN radio stations doing a preshow, and a lot of waiting around. I think I guaranteed victory for the Bearcats on 2 different radio stations and one news station but that all took place within the first hour of us getting there. When the show finally started the sun had come out and so had all the people. 20,000 people is a lot more than it looks like on TV. They were loud, and they were ready.
One thing I learned was that Lee Corso really knows how to rile up a crowd. Every chance he got he would get the crowd pumped up. We all knew when he was making his pick that he was going to pick the Knights, and I fully expected him to be dressed up, and on a horse to announce the pick. But when that curtain dropped and revealed him in the Knight’s mascot costume, the whole place erupted in excitement. Believe me when I tell you it was LOUD!
One thing that I was disappointed in and so were all the UCF fans around me, was the guest picker. This week it was Maury Povich, and he got booed. Many of the UCF fans expected Tosh.O or Daunte Culpepper. But then Tosh came out on twitter saying that he wasn’t even offered. Povich doesn’t have any connection to the university. ESPN had a chance to hype up the crowd on Memory Mall but failed to do so. The Griffin twins would have also been a great way to make the crowd go nuts.
What the game was like:
The short way to describe the game: LOUD! The stadium was packed and loud until the final second of the game. It was atmosphere that I have never seen in a football game ever. The fans were bouncing up and down and screaming in unison on every chant. The UCF nickname for the stadium “The Bounce House” is a very accurate description of the place. The way the stadium is built, whenever the crowd gets hype and starts jumping around the stands start to shake and bounce, making it feel like you are in a bounce house. It might be the coolest thing about the stadium, and maybe the coolest thing about any stadium.
As a Bearcat fan the game was rough. UCF was just faster than us on offense and played better than us on defense. It was disappointing to see them score so quickly and was ease. Although every time they scored the stadium would start to bounce and I felt less sad. The stadium specifically started bouncing when the loud speakers started playing Zombie Nation’s song “Kernkraft 400” and the crowd when chant ” UCF Knights.
Driving back to Cincinnati after a tough loss like the one we suffered against the Knights would usually be tough, almost insufferable. But this time it wasn’t that bad. I mean of course 14 hours in a car is not something anybody would want to do but knowing that I had such a great time on Saturday at GameDay and at the game itself was something that was helping me stay positive.
A big shout-out to everyone at UCF. The atmosphere was amazing, the campus is beautiful, and the stadium was rocking. This was a big weekend not only for UCF, but also for the Bearcats and the entire AAC. And you guys hit the ball out of the park.