The rivalry known as “The War on I-4” is not just USF and UCF doing battle on the football field. No, it stretches into all aspects, including the Knights being unhappy, as the Bulls continue to land big name prominent football opponents for their upcoming out of conference schedules.
As we wrote earlier this week, USF successfully got Alabama to agree to a three-game series and will even have the Tide play the first game in Tampa coming in 2023.
They’ve done so, by offering to play two road games in exchange for the one home game or a “2 for 1,” as it’s known in college scheduling. This is something that the Knights, and in specific, their athletic director, Danny White, disdain.
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.
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 savy 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.
Further, USF has already had Florida State and Miami agreed 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.
And further still, 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.
As national sports radio vaven Jim Rome often echoes on his shows, “That’s called Scoreboard,” for the Bulls.
Now, you take into account the deal with Alabama and the Crimson Tide agreeing to play USF in Tampa first, and it’s obvious that it will enhance USF’s national notoriety and schedule strength.
This subject is one that noted Orlando Sports columnist and radio host Mike Bianchi wrote about in the Orlando Sentinel on Saturday. Bianchi centered his piece on how UCF makes more, currently, on their home games than USF does due lesser attendance, etc. for the Bulls.
However, what UCF and their media members conveniently leave out is the Knights had an 0-12 football program in 2015. That year UCF “announced” their per game average at 26,000. However, at the end of that disastrous year, including the Knights blowout loss to conclude it to, USF, they had 30,000 or more empty seats on several occasions.
And even with Scott Frost getting them back to a six and six respectable season the following year, they still played frequently in a half empty Spectrum Stadium. And, they weren’t making anywhere near the revenue that Bianchi cites from the last two years of their winning streak and national attention.
No, the larger point is that while the Bulls and the Knight’s winning and losing may come and go over the next few years (and so too will attendance), there’s only one program, USF, that is doing deals to play the best teams in the SEC and the ACC, right now.
Yes UCF can declare themselves “National Champions,” like they did two years ago, and “hem and haw,” about trying to get one to one scheduling concessions with the biggest programs in the South.
However, hemming and hawing isn’t getting it done.
USF getting the bigger schools to “put pen to paper” and come to play them in Tampa, is.
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