FIU vs. UCF Actually Matters

Unless you're an Owl or an Ibis, you're probably pretty happy with your Division I FBS Florida football team right now. UF, FSU, USF, FIU and UCF all enter week three with a 2-0 record, and all but one has big game this weekend.

Sure, you might be revved up as the Gators take on their first SEC challenge of the season against an undefeated Tennessee. FSU (#5) vs. Oklahoma (#1) is undoubtedly the marquee game of the weekend, and the "Ineligibowl" between Miami and Ohio State certainly has its drama and history.

Yet, we're in the strange times that a match up between the FIU Golden Panthers and the UCF Golden Knights is not only a tempting proposition, but it actually matters. 

Both teams are coming off some of the best seasons in their respective history. UCF snagged the C-USA title for the second time ever and then went on to defeat the SEC's Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. That secured not only the team's first-ever bowl victory, but their first season with a spot in the final national rankings at 21.

The story of FIU last season is strikingly similar. The team became Sun Belt Conference co-champs, and also secured their first bowl victory ever against Toledo.

Neither teams have shown signs of slowing down this season either. Both scored big upset wins against automatic qualifying conference opponents last weekend. UCF embarrassed the ACC's Boston College Eagles with a 30-3 flattening. FIU rolled over the Big East's Louisville Cardinals 24-17. Sure, clipping the wings of two of the weakest AQ conference's low flying birds isn't necessarily a recipe for national prominence, but it's promising.

What's more is that Saturdays game at FIU is the first in a four-year series that could kick off a new rivalry between two Florida schools.

The matchup also features two players who make a good case as some of the best in the state: UCF QB Jeffrey Godfrey and FIU WR T.Y. Hilton. (They attended Miami Central and Miami Springs respectively.)

So, yeah, despite the a jam-packed weekend of big Florida games, you might want to take to time to check in on UCF vs. FIU. It's on ESPN3, and kick-off is at 6. The game actually has significance in state recruiting circles, and not to mention which school joins USF as the next Florida school to join a better conference. (Or, you know, have their coach picked off.)

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