By Dominique Smith
The lawn at Memory Mall looked a little different on Friday afternoon.
On one side of the lawn, fans hung out around the pitched tents near the ROTC building. In the middle of the lawn, fans played cornhole, while the rest of the fans gathered near the large College GameDay setup on the right side of the lawn.
Having ESPN’s College GameDay on campus ahead of the No. 11 Knight’s matchup against the No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats is a wonderful experience for fans.
“It’s surreal, it’s so surreal seeing everyone out here the way it is, it’s more than I could ever dream of,” Ricardo Elizondo, senior environmental engineering major said.
This is the first time that College GameDay has come to UCF in its 25-year history. While different analysts have had conflicting opinions as to if UCF should be considered as a College Football Playoff contender, alumnus Daniel Selvia, class of 2017, hopes that GameDay crew feels welcome at UCF.
“I hope it’s a welcoming and hospitable environment to the crew,” he said. “Obviously they haven’t been great towards us in the past, but this is a time for us to be the bigger people and step up and show what UCF is all about.”
Troy Bennett graduated from UCF in 2002 and is a season ticket holder. He said that the coolest thing about having GameDay on campus is seeing how the growth of the program.
“We were here at games when there was a couple thousand people and now we’re packing the house,” he said. “All the little steps growing to this point is really neat to see over the years.”
Early bowl season projections do not have UCF making the College Football Playoffs. However, Bennett hopes that UCF gets the chance to prove themselves.
“Whenever we’ve been tested, we’ve done what we needed to do,” he said. “As a UCF fan and obviously a realistic person, yes, it would be a very tough challenge and there is a larger chance that we would lose, but there’s still that chance. And that would be really cool to see.”