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UCF AD mentions USF-UCF negotiations

Guest Sprtsfn627

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Guest Sprtsfn627


Q: What about the status of negotiations with USF for the continuation of a football series with them?

A: Right now I have not done anything on it, but it's one of the many important things that have to be done. I have made a phone call to Doug Willard, the AD at South Florida, who is a very good friend of mine. We have not had a chance to speak yet, but it would be my intention to continue the series and at least look at extending for another two years to incorporate the '08 and '09 seasons.

From what I gather, there is no interest from UCF for a game in '07.  Also, he doesn't make it sound like there have been serious negotiations yet.  I would also wager the author is not very familiar with Doug "Willard"  ;)

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lol......USF is done with UCF. Trust me

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Bullsfanatic - I made the same observation about 2007 being skipped in that quote.

We're simply overbooked from our indy days.  Hopefully we'll start it right up in 2008 and continue what should be a great series.

I remember the attention the game got (for a 0-11 and 4-7 team).  It will be interesting to see how it grows this year.

83....you're the inspiration for an ignore button.  I'd love to be in a SG meeting with you....that would be memorable.  Trust me.

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Leavitt from yesterday:

On the possibilities of playing UCF after this season ... “Well, it seems like an awfully good game. It’s kind of fun to have people that want to play you. We’ve played FAU, we’re playing FIU, we’ve played Miami, we’ve played Central Florida, Florida A&M. We’ve played a lot of teams in this state and I don’t want to take anything away from those games. To be honest with you, I used to get really, really involved in scheduling during the first six or seven years, but (USF Director of Athletics) Doug Woolard handles all of that now. And I’m not trying to pass that off, but the truth of the matter is, that is going to be between Doug and Keith (Tribble, UCF’s Director of Athletics). It’s just that those people have to make a decision. They have done an awfully good job at UCF. They struggled a year ago and then took off after our game. They had the Conference USA championship in there hands, playing an awfully good team in Tulsa, a great game. Central Florida has done extremely well. They are awfully good. We all know that. But I would imagine that this year will be an awfully good game. We’re a little bit younger, but you are looking at two teams with a lot of Florida guys that are very close. I imaging it will be a heck of a game. I hope it is from our standpoint.â€Â
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5 "Awfullys" in that paragraph, CJL is in mid season form.

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noted Gator "homer" writes in the O-Slantinnal.....







Rivalry has fallen victim to USF's big-time ego

Mike Bianchi


July 30, 2006

TAMPA -- Why are we still having this conversation?

Why is it that every year when college football coaches from across the state get together for their preseason press powwow that the same scenario always develops?

Here's the drill:

UCF coach says he wants to play South Florida on an annual basis.

USF coach (or representative) hems and haws and says, in effect, "We'll have to get back to you on that."

"I would sign the contract right now -- today, tomorrow, whenever," UCF Coach George O'Leary said at the Florida Sports Writers Association's annual weekend get-together with state coaches. "I've made it very clear that I'd like to continue that series every year."

When queried about his impression of whether USF is as eager as UCF to sign a contract that would make the game an annual fixture, O'Leary tried to be coy but was about as subtle as a Busta Rhymes video.

"I want the game," O'Leary said. "If we don't have a game, what's that tell you?"

After much public pressure from fans, media and even state legislators, USF finally agreed to play UCF last season in Tampa and again this season in Orlando. But after this year's game, nothing is certain. Even though the two schools have a contract option to extend the series for two more years, either school can opt out of the deal.

Asked Saturday why the Bulls haven't already extended the contract, USF Assistant Athletic Director John Gerdes replied, "We have to see how a series with UCF would work with the rest of our schedule."

I've got a much better idea:

Make it work.

What's the holdup here? Why the rhetoric and rigmarole?

Here's all you need to know: The inaugural UCF-USF game in Tampa last season drew an announced attendance of 45,139, the second-largest crowd in USF football history. And that was with UCF coming off a winless season and USF coming off a 4-7 record. Imagine what this series would turn into if both schools realize their goal of becoming a perennial Top 25 program.

USF's stubbornness on this issue is baffling. Obviously, based on the attendance last year, this is a game fans want to see.

So why not let them see it? What a novel thought that is, huh -- actually tossing the fans a bone every now and then?

It's amazing that USF's administration would allow its athletic department to run up millions of dollars of debt and then, because of sheer arrogance, turn its back on a game that would no doubt be the biggest payday of the season.

"An empty seat has never bought a hot dog and a Coke," O'Leary correctly points out. "Both schools have some trouble getting fans to their games. This is a game that will come close to filling both stadiums. It's a game the fan base and the student bodies look forward to."

O'Leary laughs.

"And after the way we played them last year [a 31-14 USF victory], I don't know why they wouldn't want the game every season."

So let's review again why the game should be played on an annual basis:

Because it's college football -- a sport in which history and heritage have been built largely by similar schools from the same geographic region developing rivalries.

Because it makes money.

Because the fans want it. The players want it. The public wants it.

Now let's review why the game is not being played on an annual basis:

Because USF has deluded itself into thinking it's big time.

Reality check, USF: You've been to one minuscule bowl game and have a 10-13 record during the past two seasons. There's more to being big time than getting invited into the Big East.

Florida State became big time by taking on all comers. So did Miami. You don't become big time by dodging and ducking your biggest rival.

As O'Leary likes to say: "The place to settle these things is on the field. I'm not from Missouri, but 'show me' what you're about on Saturdays."

One more time, we make this plea:

Let's end this game of chicken and get ready for some football.

Mike Bianchi can be reached at mbianchi@orlandosentinel.com.

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