Marc Daniels' From the Pressbox

GO KNIGHTS Torrel Troup and the Knights will meet both Miami and Texas in non-league play.
Torrel Troup and the Knights will meet both Miami and Texas in non-league play.

Aug. 25, 2009

By Marc Daniels

You play to win the game.

Herm Edwards, the former coach of the Jets and Chiefs, made the line famous when explaining the goal of any game was to win. For Conference USA, the time has come for its fraternity to take Herm's advice in regards to games against BCS schools.

Last year the league was just 2-21 in games against BCS teams. Both of those victories came early in the season when East Carolina beat Virginia Tech and West Virginia in back-to-back weeks.

Over the last three seasons, C-USA has had just five teams win double-digit games, with the Knights winning 10 games in 2007. Over the same three years, the WAC has also had five teams reach at least 10 wins and the Mountain West has produced six. But these two leagues have done a few things C-USA has not seen in recent seasons.

In 2008, Utah went 13-0 and won a BCS game. The Mountain West had two top-10 teams and three in the top 25. Teams from the conference went 8-5 vs. BCS schools and an amazing 6-1 vs. schools from the Pac-10. The WAC had Boise State go unbeaten in the regular season and saw teams get to BCS games in 2006 and 2007. And while not great, the league did win 5-of-17 games against BCS schools.

That is where C-USA has to step up. The conference needs to not just play, but win games against schools from those six leagues. And the conference needs its top teams to win those games and get into and stay in the top 25. It's good for the league. It's good for future television deals and it's great for the debate about the best teams in college football.

George O'Leary has preached it and knows the significance of games against Miami and Texas. While winning the conference title is the goal of all league teams, O'Leary knows respect around the country is earned by winning some of these big games.



Every team in the league has games that go a long way in earning respect points. It can no longer be about the paycheck for playing the big games; it has to be about how you won the big games.

When that happens, the BCS berth will follow and the top-25 rankings will become the norm, but as Herm Edwards preached... you don't play for the heck of it.

You play to win the game.

Marc Daniels' From the Pressbox runs several times per month on Listen to Marc during UCF football, men's basketball and baseball radio broadcasts on the UCF-ISP Sports Network. Each weekday, Marc hosts "The Beat of Sports" on ESPN 1080 in Orlando from 9-11 a.m.

Fox 35 Reliable One