- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Are you people crazy?
I’m talking to you, UCF fans.
Or at least that vocal faction of UCF fans who seem to be upset that new athletic director Terry Mohajir has agreed to a future 2-for-1 football series (two games in Gainesville vs. one in Orlando) against the Florida Gators, seemingly going against the scheduling philosophy of popular former AD Danny White. It’s no secret White, for competitive and financial reasons, refused to schedule inequitable 2-for-1 series against Power 5 programs, even marquee opponents such as the Gators.
Question to the vocal minority: Why would you be upset about finally getting a chance to play the big, bad Gators? This is something you’ve been dreaming about for years. Who cares if it’s on their terms?
I’m with new UCF coach Gus Malzahn, who has said many times since taking the job that he wants to play in big-time games anytime and anywhere. If need be, Malzahn says, “I’ll play in the parking lot.”
Said Mohajir shortly after replacing White: “To be the best, you have to play the best and you have to beat the best. Sometimes you have to play people on their terms if you want an opportunity for that.”
Don’t get me wrong; from a business standpoint, I understood White’s philosophy. He was concerned about funding an overall athletic program, and the $3 to $5 million UCF makes for a home game pays for a lot of volleyball uniforms and soccer balls.
And, yes, I understood White’s stance from a competitive standpoint. Why should UCF be treated as a second-class citizen when the Gators are scheduling home-and-homes against mediocre Power 5 programs such as Colorado when UCF is better than 75 percent of those mid-level Power 5s.
As a college football fan, I could give a flying flip about UCF’s budget or UCF’s competitive disadvantage; I just want to see UCF play Florida. I don’t care if the games are at the Swamp, at the Bounce House, at Camping World Stadium or in the weedy vacant lot behind Café Risque in Micanopy.
I don’t care if it’s 2-for-1, 3-for-1 or 10-for-1. I’m a college football fan in Orlando and I want to see UCF play big-time opponents. And, like it or not, UF is the flagship university in this state with the most fans, the most money and, of course, the most arrogance. Nothing would benefit UCF’s program more among recruits and fans in this state than to beat the Gators.
This doesn’t mean the Knights will start scheduling 2-for-1s against all Power 5 opponents, nor should they. They’ll still schedule home-and-homes with the Georgia Techs and the North Carolina States of the world. In fact, don’t be surprised if UCF announces a home-and-home with one of those mid-level Power 5s in the next few weeks.
However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if UCF, when the opportunity arises, starts booking 2-for-1s or an occasional one-off (a financially lucrative road game with no return home game) with big-time marquee opponents such as Florida, Alabama, Ohio State, etc. Why? Because Malzahn wants to play in big-time games and so do UCF players (and recruits). Not to mention, UCF is finding it increasingly difficult to find home-and-homes against decent opponents.
Let’s not forget, before he left, White lamented how tough it was to try to build a football schedule at UCF. Forget 1-for-1s, many Power 5 programs don’t want to play UCF in 2-for-1s or 3-for-1s. In fact, they don’t want to play UCF at all at the risk of getting beat. Just ask Stanford, which scheduled a home-and-home with UCF, came to Orlando in September 2019, melted in the Central Florida heat and got its doors blown off. The Cardinal were down 38-7 at halftime before former UCF coach Josh Heupel played conservatively in the second half and settled for a 45-27 blowout victory.
Honestly, I believe White himself would have been forced to change his scheduling philosophy had he remained at UCF. In fact, when Mohajir took over, he quickly learned how it was almost impossible to schedule Power 5 opponents at UCF. He inherited a massive scheduling dilemma, which included just 11 games in 2024. He had one of three choices: (1) Play an 11-game schedule; (2) Schedule a second FCS opponent; (3) Go on the road and play a marquee Power 5 opponent.
Of those three options, No. 3 was obviously the most appealing. So Mohajir called ADs from big-time Power 5 programs all over the country looking for a road game. Stricklin, to his credit, is the only one who returned Mohajir’s call, which led to the Gators and UCF scheduling the 2024 game in Gainesville.
And then, as Stricklin and Mohajir talked further, the two ADs decided to schedule two more games in 2030 and 2033 — one in Orlando and one in Gainesville. On paper, you would undoubtedly call this a 2-for-1 in favor of UF, but from a UCF face-saving perspective you could say Mohajir scheduled one game needed to fill out the schedule in 2024 and then a home-and-home in 2030 and 2033.
Frankly, I don’t care what you call it or how you say it.
The Gators and the Knights are going to play each other.
Nothing else really matters.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hit me up on Twitter @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740 and HD 101.1-2