Despite the fact that the AAC is very much a Group of 5 school in a conference that lags behind the Mountain West, UCF Knights Athletic Director Danny White really wants you to think of them as a Power 5 team, even going so far as to clownishly call the AAC “the Power 6.” (What do you expect from a guy who threw a national championship parade after beating a 5-loss Auburn team?)
Much of UCF’s ire lately has been directed towards arch-rival South Florida, where the USF Bulls have begun scheduling two-for-ones with in-state powers Florida and Miami, as well as the ACC’s Louisville. The Bulls’ anytime, anyplace is very much in keeping with what other programs have previously done in their quest for respectability, a la Boise State, Florida State, TCU, Miami, Fresno State, and the like.
But, it is a scheduling strategy that UCF feels it is above:
“It’s a precedent I don’t like being set in our conference for schools to start doing a much higher volume of two-for-ones,” White told Mike Bianchi of The Orlando Sentinel. “As a conference, we’ve been successful historically getting home-and-homes with Power 6 opponents. I’d like to see our conference peers continue to do that as we have done.”
Funny how two good seasons produces this much entitlement, huh? Such entitlement is not on the radar of the Bulls.
As the hometown Tampa Bay Times makes clear, these series really are a matter of USF accepting the realities of the college football landscape:
If you believe the AAC is indeed part of the Power Six, then yes. Here’s the problem: It’s a Power Five, not a Power Six, no matter how much AAC officials and teams want to say otherwise. There’s a gap financially. Its new TV deal will pay each school less than $7 million per year, or about $20 million annually less than the average team payout from the ACC. There’s a gap in perception. As mediocre as the Pac-12 is, can you imagine an undefeated Pac-12 champ not making the College Football Playoff? There’s a gap in tradition and attendance and, generally speaking, on-field product. And, yes, there’s a gap in scheduling, too, which is why teams like the Gators aren’t accepting home-and-home series with any Group of Five teams. USF’s decision didn’t change that process; it accepted the gap as a fact.
Thus, one of those realities came home to roost today, as Alabama was able to assist South Florida in poking a thumb in the eye of the Knights when the program announced it would be adding USF on a two-for-one beginning in 2023.
Besides being a very respectable OOC add, there are pragmatic reasons for Alabama agreeing to play at a G5 stadium. South Florida isn’t any ole’ G5: like Florida, Louisville and Miami before them, Alabama traveling to USF puts the Crimson Tide in living color in front of recruits in the fertile South Florida region. When viewed as the recruiting ploy it is, a two-for-one makes total sense in that highly competitive recruiting market.
One thing is certain though: this is absolutely going to piss UCF off even more...In my book, that’s a feature, not a bug.
So, let’s a take a look at Alabama’s beefed up non-conference resume, including true road games, for the foreseeable future. There’s a lot to like here:
Future Alabama non-SEC opponents:— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) May 23, 2019
2022: at Texas
2023: Texas, at USF, WKU
2026: at WVU, USF
2028: at Notre Dame
2029: Notre Dame
2032: at Oklahoma
And, here’s your question for the day: