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UCF AD White once again defends scheduling

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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UCF Athletic Director Danny White faced more criticism on Sunday night, after it was reported that the Knights had agreed to a new home-and-home series with FIU beginning in 2020.

Stadium reporter Brett McMurphy broke the news on twitter:

UCF be at home first, when the Panthers come to Orlando in 2020, and the Knights will head to South Florida in 2022.

However, the announcement made waves, when USA Today reporter Dan Wolken expressed his disapproval of the move, sarcastically saying it “makes sense.”

White’s been on the record for the last two off-seasons that UCF does not want to engage in the “2 for 1 practice” to give away out of conference games on their schedule simply for large paydays. Particularly, when the second road game, is simply a smaller payday to play the bigger school.

White publicly responded to Wolken’s tweet, expressing his disappointment in the reporter, and suggesting he made the comment as clickbait:

Wolken responded back to White and others that criticized his sarcastic comment, saying that he wasn’t doing it for attention, rather, he disapproves of UCF’s scheduling strategy. Further, if they want to be regarded as a powerhouse school, that it could impact making it into the CFP.

Wolken believes that if you want to be respected like a P5 school, you’ve got to take risks and play P5 schools.

Many other schools in the AAC have taken the 2 for 1 approach, including UCFs “War on I4” rival, USF.

The Bulls received a lot of praise when they announced their 3 game series with Alabama back in May. USF also has already had Florida State and Miami agree to play them in the past in “one for one” home and away game situations. The Bulls, in fact most recently hosted Florida State just back in the 2016 season.

Further, USF previously played a road game in Gainesville and has since landed a deal with the Gators to play Florida twice at the Swamp and get a home game at Raymond James Stadium.

What this translates to is: that despite all of the posturing by UCF, their media and fans, the Bulls will have hosted: Florida State, Miami and Florida (the three most prominent programs in the state) at Raymond James Stadium.

All this before UCF will have ever hosted any of them in a home game in Orlando.

There are points for this on both sides, but the bottom line is: USF has gotten much more important opponents already lined up on their out-of-conference schedules than the Knights do, because their athletic director Michael Kelly has been doing savvy negotiating the past year on the job.

In total, the Bulls have 17 “Power Five” opponents for out of conference games in the next 10 seasons.

The point UCF has been trying to make is: since they’ve proven to be a strong team, undoubtedly the best in their conference and among the top 25 in the country, they shouldn’t have to agree to unequal deals with teams they view as equal. The Knights are playing Stanford at Spectrum Stadium and at Pitt out of conference this year on 1 for 1 deals.

What Wolken and many others who’ve criticized the Knights in the past are trying to say is:  you can’t be regarded like a power 5 school without playing power 5 schools, and the best way to make those games happen with the best of P5’s is through 2 for 1 deals.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

UCF Knights

UCF holds strong in our latest power rankings

Jamil King

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

A tough loss for the Gators, a big comeback home win for the UCF Knights and a rivalry road win by the Hurricanes are all part of our latest power rankings. Here goes:

Florida Gators- The Gators did lose, but to another top 10 opponent keeping them in the top spot. The Gators dropped this one to the Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators inability to get off the field on third down along with the non-existent running game led to the defeat. Florida rallied twice in the fourth quarter to make it a once score game, but in the end, just couldn’t get off the field.

Now, the Gators need a lot of help to claim the SEC East crown. Even if they don’t, they could still end up in a New Years’ Six bowl game. The Gators will next take on Vanderbilt.

UCF Knights- The Knights continued their winning ways last week by knocking off the Houston Cougars 44-29. QB Dillon Gabriel stayed hot by tossing three touchdowns with 298 yards in the air. Running back, Bentavious Thompson led the team in rushing with 65 yards and two touchdowns. It was Tre Nixon who had the best day of the wideouts, not Gabe Davis.

Nixon (photo above) had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Next up for UCF is a trip to Tulsa. The Knight’s chances of going to the AAC title game are getting slimmer and slimmer as Cincinnati keeps winning. UCF will look to keep doing their job and control the controllable.

FAU Owls- The Owls secured a big win over Western Kentucky. QB Chris Robinson led the offense with 208 yards passing and two touchdowns. The defense came up big when the Owls needed it the most. With six minutes left in the 4th quarter, James Pierre came away with his second pick of the game.

The Owls are now tied with Marshall for the top spot in the C-USA Eastern division. The Herd won the head to head meeting so they would need to lose again for the Owls to take the crown. Next for FAU is a game against rival Florida International.

Miami Hurricanes- The Canes beatdown on Florida State 27-10 in Tallahassee. In the prosses, they put the icing on the cake for former coach Willie Taggart. Jarren Williams took back the QB1 role and didn’t disappoint. He threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns.

Jeff Thomas came back with a bang with 84 yards and a touchdown. Dee Wiggins and Brevin Jordan were the other two leading receivers. The Canes will look to make it three in a row when Louisville comes to town.

Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags came back down to earth in London. The Texans took tamed the Jags with a 26-3 drumming across the pond. Deshawn Watson was on fire, only throwing six incompletions and two touchdowns. “Minshew Mania” may be over in Jacksonville, as he was 27-47 with two picks and two fumbles and now they will go back Nick Foles following the bye week.

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UCF Knights

UCF coach Heupel sidestepped FSU interest questions Monday

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The UCF Knights have certainly gotten back on track with a three-game win streak, including burying houston 44-29 Saturday. And, as the season is rapidly coming to a close, conversations about job flirtations for second-year Coach Josh Heupel has heated up.

This includes former Oklahoma QB turned instant offense coaching guru being linked to the brand new Florida State opening after the Seminoles fired coach Willie Taggart Sunday.

Huepel met with the media prior to UCF’s practice Monday and was asked about the flattery of being mentioned for high-profile jobs:

“Man, I love where I’m at (UCF). I love the guys that I am with. My wife and kids absolutely love living here and being a part of this University and this program. I think this may be the most unique job in college football just because of how young a program it is. And, being able to continue to build something.”

It is a typical tactic for coaches under consideration for other high-profile jobs. to use the standard “I’m happy where I am,” and  “why would I want to be anywhere else?” approach that Heupel did with that answer to the Orlando media.

But, the fact is the ACC would be a huge step up from the American Conference in terms of profile, budget and pay. And, obviously Florida State is one of the iconic programs of the last 30-plus years of college football.

So, the intrigue continues.

Heupel came to UCF two years ago replacing Scott Frost, who was wooed to his alma mater, Nebraska. This was after having lead the Missouri offense, as coordinator and quarterback Drew Locke to a record-breaking 2017 season.

And, in year one Heupel followed up what Frost/UCF had done the previous year by the Knights having a perfect regular season in 2018 and winning the American Conference Championship Game for the second straight year at home over the same opponent, Memphis.

Unfortunately, the Knights did not complete the perfect season as LSU beat them in the Fiesta Bowl.

Heupel also agreed to a new five year contract at the end of last season, and the terms of that deal are not fully known. However, his previous contract had a massive $10 million buyout in the first two years. It’s not clear on what the number is now, on the new deal.

This year the Knights have taken two losses at Pitt and to Cincinnati. And currently, UCF is on the outside looking in to three-peat as Conference Championship game winners.

However, led by freshman left-handed quarterback, Dillon Gabriel their warp speed offense has continued to riddle American Conference opponents. And, he would be very attractive for FSU or anyone else that’s been watching Heupel successes.

So, now we wait to see how interested FSU or others will be in trying to lure him

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