UF athletics director Scott Stricklin spent part of his Sunday sparring with UCF football fans about when and where the Gators were open to playing the Knights.
Stricklin posted on Twitter he offered a true two-for-one series — with two games in Gainesville and one in Orlando — in response to Knights fans saying the Gators were not willing to play on UCF’s campus and instead asked to play at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.
“Actually, UF did offer a true 2-for-1. I never said anything about the 1 having to be a neutral … not sure where that came from,” Stricklin posted on Twitter. “Sometimes schools' scheduling priorities just don’t match up.”
Discussions are not in the works for a series between the two nationally ranked programs, but it did not quell a debate over the details of what was said nearly two years ago when the topic most recently arose.
Stricklin went on to write if the two schools had reached a a two-for-one agreement, he expected the game would be played at the Bounce House on UCF’s campus.
“We would have played those in the Swamp just as I’m sure UCF would have played [theirs] on campus,” Stricklin tweeted. “Just wanted to clear up that misperception.”
Stricklin emphasized his point during a later reply, writing, “I always have assumed that if UCF had communicated to us that they were open to a 2-for-1 that the 1 would be in their regular home stadium.”
The back-and-forth with Stricklin and UCF faithful came on the same day the Gators rose to No. 3 in the national polls, their highest ranking since 2012, and UCF reached No. 11.
UF opened the 2020 season Saturday with a 51-35 win at Ole Miss featuring 642 yards of total offense for the Gators, their most during an SEC game. UCF, meanwhile, has averaged 50 points during its wins against Georgia Tech and East Carolina.
In the lead-up to Saturday’s game with ECU, Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel said, “You saw what happened last week; you can say we’re the best team in Florida.”
The QB’s statement and the statement wins from each program seem to have reinvigorated the debate and interest in the Gators and the Knights squaring off on the field.
The notion of a head-to-head series pitting the Knights and the Gators emerged following UCF’s unbeaten 2018 regular season and UF’s renaissance during coach Dan Mullen’s first season.
Shortly after 12-0 Knights earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl and the 9-3 Gators to the Peach Bowl, Stricklin told the Sentinel he would be open to discussing a series with UCF, but only if it were a two-for-one series.
“We haven’t done any home-and-homes with non-Power 5 teams,” Stricklin said. “I don’t think we would start that.”
Stricklin added UCF athletics director Danny White had never raised with him the idea of scheduling a football series.
White subsequently responded UCF would be interested in discussing the idea, but only for a true home-and-home series.
“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,” White said. “Top 10 programs don’t schedule two-for-one series where the balance is not in their favor.”
The conclusion to one of Stricklin’s replies implies a Gators-Knights series in football still remains wishful thinking for the two fan bases.
“We’ve both moved on … no hard feelings. Good luck to UCF this year and beyond,” Stricklin tweeted.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Edgar Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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