athletic director Scott Stricklin is open to the idea of playing during the regular season, but there’s a catch. While speaking at a Peach Bowl event on Friday, Stricklin said Florida would be open to a series against the Knights, but it that had UCF playing two games in Gainesville to entice Florida to head to Orlando.
“I’d be OK with scheduling them in the right situation,” said Stricklin, who also went on to say he hasn’t had any contact with UCF AD Danny White about scheduling such a series.
White issued a statement of his own after hearing of Stricklin’s comments on Friday, but he didn’t seem that eager about the idea of a 2-for-1.
“I’m encouraged to hear that UF is open to the idea of playing us in football,” said White. “Since I’ve been here, it had been made clear to me there wasn’t much hope of that. Our scheduling philosophy has been transparent since I arrived at UCF — that we’re open to a home-and-home series with any nonconference Power 6 opponent.
“Top-10 programs don’t schedule 2-for-1 series where the balance is not in their favor. Our growing fan base and our student-athletes deserve better than that.”
In other words, I wouldn’t expect an announcement between the two schools to be imminent.
I can see the logic behind both sides of this debate, however. If I’m a top program in a Power Five conference, I’m probably not trying all that hard to schedule UCF either. It hasn’t won 25 games in a row because it’s terrible at football; the Knights are 3-0 against Power Five teams during their win streak, and have had games against, and canceled due to weather events — and I’m not sure the risk would be worth the reward on my end.
If I’m UCF, why should I have to play two games at your school to get you to play one at mine? That doesn’t seem fair, though perhaps this is what SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was talking about when he said College Football Playoff. Maybe by “look inward” he meant “capitulate to our demands to increase your disadvantage.” The problem is only furthered by the fact UCF would be risking quite a bit itself if it were to accept such terms. Either UCF would go to Gainesville and lose to Florida (or whichever P5 school it made a deal with), and everyone would say “told you so,” or it would go to Gainesville and beat Florida, guaranteeing nobody ever schedules it again.” to solve its problems earning respect from the
In the end, the status quo might be what’s best for both sides.