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Coming Down from Birmingham

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It’s been a long ride for the football-loving seniors in the USF student body, and it ended in a place no one ever would have imagined after their first game in 2013.

Freshman year, I never thought I'd get to take a picture like this, celebrating a bowl win
Carl Zee

So the caffeine/alcohol haze has finally lifted, and I can really register what the hell happened on Thursday.

USF won a bowl game. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a nice thing. We have a nice thing, guys. WE HAVE A NICE THING. But that’s about all it is. It’s just a bowl game.

I’m not going to focus on the grand scheme of things. I’m going to talk about how this feels from my perspective.

USF won a bowl game. This is the program that introduced itself to me and this year’s senior class by losing by 32 to McNeese State (Yes, I am going to bring that up again). In my four years, USF has been exceedingly average. 25-25, in fact. A perfect .500.

But what a .500 it was. After my sophomore year, I was pretty much done with football. I honestly have no idea why I kept going to games my junior year, but I did. My faith (or stupidity, jury still out) rewarded me with the reverse flea-flicker vs Syracuse, a field storm vs. Temple, and a party in Miami.

This year’s freshmen and sophomores have no idea how good they have it. I never thought I would ever get to see USF go to a bowl game during my time as a student, let alone two. I didn’t think, during my time as a student, that I would be standing with 2,000 of my classmates, in the heart of SEC country, mockingly chanting “S-E-C.” I didn’t want to see overtime, ever, but I got to see it anyway, and it was every bit as tense as I thought it would be.

I was standing on one of the stone barriers during the defensive series in OT, and I have absolutely no idea how I got off it without busting my face open. I remember seeing Love make the hit, then...nothing. All I know is I have never felt happier in my life. I’ve described things as pure ecstasy, but this went beyond that. Pure magic. A moment gifted to us from the gods.

It almost felt like it was a personal gift to me. I was introduced to USF football with the lowest point in program history (ok, UCF 2014 might have been that, go argue about it below), and they send me off with the highest point the program has ever been (2007 couldn’t finish the job despite showing they had the talent. Come. At. Me.)

I remember watching my parents take pictures at their bowl win several years ago. I’ve seen the ones they have on the walls at home. It’s just a bit unbelievable that I got to take my own finally. It’s about as close as you’ll ever see to seeing a look of pure joy.

So I guess this is a thank you to the football team. It’s not over between us, but the days of watching USF football won’t quite be the same from now on. One last game as an absolute nutcase, and they delivered the best memory I will have as a student.