UCF has built a new football stadium and opened a new basketball arena, joined Conference USA, ended a 17-game losing streak (against Marshall, of course), won two C-USA football championships, hired away MU's basketball coach, won acceptance into the Big East, appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions twice, and has been hit with seven years worth of probation. One athletic director has moved on to another conference school and has since been fired there; his successor resigned amid the recent infractions case.
And most of today's players have risen from youth football and middle school to become major-college athletes. Even Marshall offensive lineman John Bruhin, that sixth-year graybeard, was just a sophomore in high school.
He has lived through most of the Herd's futility, so he "appreciates" it better than most. He has witnessed such lowlights as the 2008 game in which the Herd made every conceivable miscue, the 2009 game in which UCF rallied to win in the final minute and the forgettable 2010 midweek game featuring a thunderstorm delay.
And the 2011 slosh-around in Orlando. "UCF's always left a bitter taste in our mouths every time we've played them," Bruhin said.
And it leaves a bitter taste around Huntington. Some players interviewed Monday haven't picked up on that, but defensive end Alex Bazzie has - though he didn't realize the streak has gone back to his freshman year in high school.
"We have great fans, and I think they're looking forward to this week more than we are," Bazzie said. "Shoot, we could put up a sign that we're hosting a tryout this week for people who want to beat up UCF guys. The whole city would come."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.