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October 11, 2013
Joey Grant doesn't need to be told the importance of next Friday's game at Louisville.
The eighth-ranked Cardinals extended their undefeated record to 6-0 with a win against Rutgers on Thursday night. Louisville was the consensus pick to repeat as conference champions, but standing in their way is 4-1 UCF, possibly the best team they'll face the rest of the season.
The winner of the game will have the inside track to winning the league title and along with it the American's automatic berth to a BCS bowl.
Though similar words were spoken a couple weeks ago, the rewards that could come with a victory make this quite possibly the biggest game in UCF history.
"We understand we have to win this game," said Grant, UCF's starting center. "It's the sixth season we're in this year. We need to come out and practice hard. Prepare extra hard this week. Come out, know our assignments and be accountable. Do what we do every week. Prepare to win."
Thursday was their first day back on the practice fields, but it's not like they took it easy in the early part of the week. Grant said he watched the Memphis film "three or four times" to "clean up what wasn't clicking" and then they jumped right into studying Louisville.
"They have a very good scheme defensively," Grant said. "They also run a 3-4 (like Memphis). A lot of the Okie stuff we saw last week, so we've been getting some good work on that. They have a lot of moving parts and they hit their gaps very hard. They do a good job of penetrating the offense and getting disruptive. We'll have to move our feet and not let them penetrate us."
Earlier in the week, Grant had a starring role on ESPNU's "All Access" episode that gave a behind-the-scenes look as UCF was preparing to face Memphis. The show included a segment from the off-campus house he shares with Blake Bortles, J.J. Worton and Billy Giovanetti.
After a brief tour, Grant and Bortles were shown playing ping-pong. No winner was named in the episode, but apparently Bortles is unbeatable in ping-pong.
"Sometimes I think Blake takes ping-pong a little too seriously," Grant said.