The Real Reason UCF-Florida Aren't Playing Anytime Soon


Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Central Florida v Marshall

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Central Florida v Marshall

Image. That's it. Nothing more. It's not that complicated. 

You can make into a Twitter thing and spend time yelling in capital letters at each other but it's about image.

Florida AD Scott Stricklin went on Twitter to let UCF fans know he offered his counterpart, Danny White at UCF, a series. The supposed offer was for two games in Gainesville and one game in Orlando. Stricklin did not deny that. He just added that he assumed the one game in Orlando would be played at UCF's on-campus stadium and not at Camping World Stadium. Many UCF fans were trying to say that even the one game would be played in downtown Orlando and not at UCF.

Ok, so Stricklin tried to clear that up. But that's not the reason the two schools are not playing anytime soon. Image is.

Stricklin has stated his scheduling philosophy is that he will do a home-and-home with any Power 5 school. And to his credit, he has done just that with scheduling announcements in the last year with future games against Colorado, Utah, Arizona State and Texas. That is a change from Florida's strategy of the past. The Gators had not left the state for a non-conference game in decades. But Stricklin has also made it clear, Florida will only do a 2-for-1 for a school like UCF and other Group of 5 teams or even offer a 2-for-none or just a one game deal in Gainesville. And you know what's wrong with that? Nothing.

Scott Stricklin's job is to do what is best for his school and athletic department and the mission of most football programs is to build a schedule that allows their team to win as many games as possible. And when your team is playing in the SEC, Stricklin knows the debate of his team's strength of schedule will likely not be a negative by the time a season ends.

UCF's Danny White has seen his football program grow into a national brand and also has a fan base that now fills his football stadium for every home game and that means millions of dollars each home game. But White also believes his team has outgrown the label of Group of 5. UCF may play in a league that is not considered a "power" conference but it's product over the last four seasons has grown into a top 25, or even a top 15, team that has played in two major bowl games the last three seasons and has gone 37-4 its last 41 games.

White's position is if he has a top 25 team with a national image because of its style of play why should it be lumped into the same category as Louisiana-Monroe and Ball State.

And just like Scott Stricklin is right in doing what he thinks is best for his program, so is Danny White in doing the same for his Knights.

Some can argue that the image of Colorado and Arizona State is better than UCF but the Knights performance on the field in recent years more than holds up against those "Power 5" teams.

So for now, and the foreseen future, the argument over whether UCF-UF will play will remain on the Twitter battlefield where no one ever wins...

Notes:College football polls are wacky for many reasons. Pollsters are ranking teams that won't play for another 5 weeks and it's just part of what is odd about 2020. But no team has gotten the early season love more than Miami. The Canes sit 8th in the Coaches and AP Poll. It was December 26, 2019 when Miami lost to Louisiana Tech in a bowl game 14-0. Manny Diaz was considered by many as the wrong man for the job. Diaz hired a new offensive coordinator and the Canes added D'Eriq King to play quarterback after he transferred from Houston. Three wins to start a season the U is back, at least that's what some thing. King is exciting and Miami is playing a style on offense it should have been playing 10 years ago. The Canes have wins over CUSA's UAB Blazers, a now 1-2 Louisville team and FSU that might finish middle-of-the-pack in CUSA. Clemson will be the real test in two weeks. Miami doesn't have to beat the Tigers to prove they are much improved. A competitive game would be more impressive than naming the score against the Seminoles...Ed Orgeron can't coach any more. It took one game for some fans to question what the defensive minded head man is thinking after KJ Costello threw for 623 yards as Mississippi State went into Baton Rouge and beat the defending national champs. LSU lost a ton of talent from last year's team and sometimes people are fooled by the brand. LSU has plenty of five and four star players on the roster, but experience matters and the Tigers lost a lot of experience which can be an equalizer in college football. Meanwhile, Mike Leach is fun and a great quote. He may be a brilliant offensive mind but let's give it a little time before we conclude the SEC has a new boss. Leach has had many quarterbacks fling it for 400, 500 yards a game and lose. But the Bulldogs become must-watch, at least for now...

Final thought: The fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco