Well, it’s finally official. UCF and Florida are going to play a football series. The Knights will play in Gainesville in 2024 and 2033 while the Gators will travel to the Bounce House in 2030. But what should be a monumental and celebratory moment is once again being overshadowed by the ghost of Danny White. Knight Nation was told for years that UCF would never agree to a two-for-one with any opponent and they are living up to that belief on Twitter now, decrying the series as being unfair and too far into the future.
Let’s be clear: no one likes that games are being scheduled 10 and 15 years in advance. No one likes finding out their school will be matching up against a team that is great right now but could be totally irrelevant by the time the games actually gets played.
But what choice does UCF have?
If the Knights continue White’s scheduling policy of turning every single scheduling negotiation into a philosophical debate about what signifies a power team instead of, you know, actually having a scheduling negotiation then UCF will end up stuck playing FCS opponents or having 11-game seasons. That’s literally the alternative.
Just look around college football. Even with the UF news, the Knights still have 20(!) openings through the end of the decade. That’s more than UF, FSU and USF combined. UCF doesn’t have a single game scheduled in 2026, 2028 or 2029 as most FBS teams are finalizing their slates for the mid-30s.
Danny White was right. A team of UCF’s stature and success, Group of Five or not, should not have to give up home games and sign two-for-ones. It isn’t fair and you can stand by his beliefs forever. But it doesn’t change reality. Thanks to White’s philosophy, it’s not even a question anymore of whether a Power Five team would be willing to play at the Bounce House. It’s a question of whether any Power Five teams even have openings in the next 10 years.
The fact that Terry Mohajir managed to schedule a game against one of the top 15 brands in college football that is set to take place in just three years, while also ensuring that that team will come play at the Bounce House down the road, is a remarkable accomplishment given that UCF has virtually no leverage.
Of course all of Knight Nation wishes UCF could sign nothing but home-and-homes. But I have a question for those of you complaining about this series: What’s your plan? Where are UCF’s games going to come from if the Knights turn these types of deals down? I’m genuinely asking.
Would you prefer UCF play multiple FCS teams every year? Or maybe just settle for 10-game slates? Because those are your other options.
The Knights just landed much-needed games against a big-time opponent who has nothing to gain from playing UCF but agreed to anyway. If you would prefer that UCF exclusively hold out for home-and-homes or only schedule games that will take place this decade, then you might as well starting checking FAMU and SC State’s openings. Because that’s the best you’re going to do.