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Ahh yes, September 2017. What a summer it was. Hell, what a year. At least up until that point.
UTSA and Frank Wilson had just finished a wonderful honeymoon together in Albuquerque, and despite not pulling off the bowl win, fans were more energized than ever before about Roadrunner Football. You had literal coach buses full of people spend more than 24 hours trekking I-10 to watch the boys compete.
The recruiting season was top notch that spring, with Wilson hauling in the giants of this year’s September glory with the likes of Frank Harris, Jaylon Haynes, Tariq Woolen, and Dominic Pastucci. We were riding high through July, ready to prove our stake atop C-USA West.
And in September, stars began to align.
Our contest with then-G5 sweethearts Houston was canceled after Hurricane Harvey submerged their campus, and we instead went to Waco in week two and earned our first Power 5 win.
Follow that with a tune-up against Southern and the famed I-35 SHOWDOWN in its first year of corporate sponsorship. The first time playing in San Marcos and we crush the Bobcats.
Express-News, ESPN, pundits, analysts, personalities, your grandmother, ALL talking about the red hot Roadrunners going 11-0.
Then Southern Miss steals a nail-biter in the Alamodome. And then NORTH TEXAS RIPS OUR HEARTS AND SOULS OUT OF OUR BODIES.
And even though we ended with a respectable 6-5 record, that hardly told any part the real story.
That record didn’t reflect the real makeup of up that team. That team couldn’t finish football games when the going got tough.
We went from starting 3-0 in 2017 to ending 3-9 in 2018.
But none of that applies to this 3-0 team.
Thankfully nobody has those expectations right now, and whether that’s because our fan base has become (A) smarter and more objective or (B) less optimistic about the program, that’s the right expectation to have.
So let’s understand what this 3-0 team is.
Jeff Traylor is in his first year. He didn’t step onto campus with his team or even see any of his recruits in the flesh for the first five months of his tenure.
With limited time and off-field issues to navigate, he and his staff managed to rearrange the roster and fill out a depth chart. The athletics department managed to rearrange the schedule and keep a majority of the roster healthy amidst COVID.
And through most of the summer, only a small minority of fans were confident any football would be played.
But then September arrived and we got football. Not only did we get football, we got winning football. Not only that, but we got winning football on national television.
And unlike the three September wins of 2017, where two were blowouts against inferior teams, two of these games so far have been battles. Battles against comparable competition, and games that required us to will ourselves to victory.
This month has been more important for UTSA Football than many people are realizing.
The trajectory of this team is tangible; you can see it. Three years ago as we sat at 3-0, we only thought we could see that trajectory, but those weren’t valid samples.
This team – no – this program is actually headed in the right direction this time around. It’s not just Traylor, either.
It’s Lisa Campos. Guiding this department through a regime change, a pandemic, a new athletics facility construction, the works.
I don’t think it’s Fool’s Gold this time.
October 2020 is going to be way more difficult than the October 2017. We lost tight contests to teams we were equally matched up against then. Instead, this year, we face far superior teams.
But we won’t get smacked around. We’ll continue to improve on the upward trajectory. It’ll be a much more impressive month than it was three years ago.
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