A frenzied college football weekend saw seven Top 25 teams go down — including four in the Top 10 — while five other AP-ranked teams were pushed to the brink in razor-thin victories.
Florida Citrus Sports members were on hand for much of the action as they visited ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 games all across the country, and on Monday the Team Selection Committee convened in the newly-renovated Varsity Club at Camping World Stadium to recap the wild Week 7 that was.
First on the list of presenters was new member Brian Murphy, who followed up an exciting trip to Gainesville for Florida-LSU with another one-point thriller, as he and Alex Fumagali took in Miami’s last-second victory over Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium. Murphy was followed by Troy Sands, who made the trip to Durham with Tom Siceloff for Florida State’s heart-pounding victory over host Duke.
With the loss, the Blue Devils dropped to 4-3 on the season (and 1-3 in the ACC), leaving them with an uphill battle to potentially reach the Camping World Bowl. But Sands said representatives from both Florida State and Duke — whose athletic director, Kevin White, is the father of UCF AD Danny White — were hopeful that a visit to Orlando could be in the cards.
“I think the FSU fans would probably be excited if they could keep winning and come to Orlando,” Sands said of the ‘Noles, who improved to 2-3 (2-2, ACC) on the season. “So that’s definitely something to watch as the season goes on.”
Elsewhere, Jim Gertsch and Matthew Kanarick were on hand in Louisville for Boston College’s 45-42 upset win over the Cardinals, a scene Gertsch described as “one of the most exciting games I’ve seen — just nonstop action the whole time.” Bill Staiger and Rich Singer also saw a high-scoring affair as West Virginia rallied from 18 points down in a 46-35 homecoming win over Texas Tech.
“If you guys have never been there, it’s a tremendous atmosphere,” Staiger said of the scene at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown. “I was reminded of Iowa, another state with no professional teams. Everyone comes to the games. I met a lot of alumni who came to the (Camping World Bowl) last year, and the ones that didn’t come were bitterly disappointed that they couldn’t make it.”
Weather was also a factor for several Florida Citrus Sports representatives, who had to wait out rain delays at TCU-Kansas State and Michigan State-Minnesota, among others. The only weather issue at the Cotton Bowl was heat — but that didn’t stop Milton Carroll and Sterling Harrell (shown in the header photo above) from having an incredible time at the Red River Showdown during Harrell’s first official trip since becoming a member.
“The State Fair was just immense — there were car shows, deep fried everything you could think of,” Harrell said of the pregame festivities before Texas-Oklahoma, noting deep fried Jell-O, cheesecake and Twinkies among the offerings. “Fans of both teams were extremely nice. They were extremely nice to us, they were extremely nice to each other, and it was a really great family atmosphere.”
Some of the other Week 7 highlights came from Purdue-Wisconsin, where Badgers head coach Paul Chryst spoke glowingly about Florida Citrus Sports and the Citrus Bowl when talking with members Bob Korducki and Randy Cox.
Meanwhile, at Alabama-Arkansas, Jeff Purinton, the Crimson Tide’s senior associate AD for external operations, spoke at length with Gary Walton and Allen Monroe about LIFT Orlando and said he was eager for the ‘Bama program to get involved with the program when it visits Camping World Stadium for its 2018 Camping World Kickoff game against Louisville.
“I’ve been to a lot of games (with Florida Citrus Sports), and I’ve been to a lot of games just as a fan all over the country, but I’ve never seen a spectacle like fans in Alabama on homecoming,” Walton added of the game, a 41-9 Tide win. “It was a sea of people that were just so excited, so vibrant, and it was just an exciting time to be there. I’d highly recommend going to Alabama for a game.”
Following the recaps, Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan took to the dais to answer member questions and break down the conference standings and bowl possibilities as the second half of the season gets rolling.
Hogan stopped short of making any predictions for the Citrus Bowl, stating that, “it’s going to be a bit of a race to the finish” to see whether Notre Dame, a Big Ten team or an SEC team fills the Orange Bowl’s open spot before the Citrus Bowl can make its selection. As for the Camping World Bowl, Hogan said he “feels like everybody in the ACC can beat anybody else” right now and noted that, “like every year, the top two-thirds of the Big 12 is in our selection window,” but added that the Camping World Bowl wants to “keep our eyes on teams that want to be here.”
The next Team Selection Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 30, in the Varsity Club. The Team Selection Committee is an all-volunteer community that represents Florida Citrus Sports at games across the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12, and participation is open to all active members. To learn more about membership options, visit our information page.