‘I have no problem scheduling UCF,’ Mullen says

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Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

In Orlando on Thursday night on his spring speaking tour, Florida football coach Dan Mullen was asked about the rivalry between UF and UCF. He kind of shook his head at that question.

“They’d have to play us to get a rivalry,” Mullen said. “We made an offer to play them.”
UF did, but UCF turned it down. The Gators offered to play the Knights in a three-game series, with two games being played in Gainesville and the other in Orlando.

Despite that offer — and UCF’s refusal to accept it — the perception among Knights’ fans (and others in Orlando) remains that UF, the established program, is ducking UCF, the school on the rise.

That’s not reality.

“I have no problem scheduling UCF,” Mullen said.

No problem other than UCF not wanting to make it a two-for-one deal.

The Knights didn’t like that idea. But their biggest rival, USF, did — and the Gators and Bulls will be playing a three-game series starting in 2022 in Gainesville. UF will travel to Tampa the following year, then the Bulls will return to The Swamp in 2025.

So, there’s a chance UF-USF is going to grow into the rivalry that UF-UCF will not (at least for the foreseeable future).

Mullen is fired up about the UF-USF series.

“We’re real excited,” he said. “The fans and people in Florida are really excited about that matchup coming up. The national stage scheduling is getting a lot of attention, with schools going out there and playing a little bit more of a national schedule.

“But the USF series that’s coming up, even though it might not have the national kind of allure, it has great allure for the people in the state of Florida. That makes it exciting.

“Big picture, that game being scheduled might not be as big an announcement nationally as us playing a Texas or a Colorado, (but) within the state, it is that big of a game. It’s really exciting for us to get that game scheduled.”

24 COMMENTS

          • Were I too receive a personal invitation from our pal, Gelco — which I would accept simply as a way of making amends for being so smarmy about UCF all the time — OK, I’d go to Orlando.

            Absent that — Sly, I’d crawl to Boulder to see the Gators introduce them to college football, SEC style!

        • Well now, I think it’s quite an exaggeration to compare Charleston Southern football to UCF. UF scheduling teams like Charleston Southern is the reason I let my season ticket renewal run out. If one looks at the quality home games UF plays each year, it really does boil down to about two plus UGly, which isn’t really home. Now then, I”m a Gator grad, my wife is a UCF alumnus. Do I have respect for UCF as a sports school especially in the immediate? Yes, hard to ignore, they are getting to major bowls. Would you have bet the house UF would have beaten UCF the year before last? It’s rhetorical, we both know the answer. Point being, UCF does not nor will they schedule an uneven series, nor should they. 2 for 1 ain’t that.

      • Or, perhaps game vs Vandy in their 39k stadium, to which I’ve been and UCF would absolutely spank. I’ve been to both BTW, had hard time staying awake at Vandy, you couldn’t sleep at UCF home game if you tried. I’ll venture to guess you’ve been to neither place though. Look, UF is my school, but I do not let emotions get in the way of logic. UCF would be foolish to schedule a 2 for 1, any 8th grader can see that.

        • Well by golly, I did graduate 8th grade…..at least I think I did, but that was a long time ago and I can’t remember. Once Eau Gallie stopped being a town, I’m guess my transcripts probably went with it — so don’t ask me to prove anything!

          Good to hear from you!

          • Hey Buddy. This site is non secure and it takes my browser forever to navigate to it.
            I love the verbal joust. Sparky’s a good Gator, and I like getting jiggy with him. Eau Gallie is nearly completely swallowed by Melbourne, can’t really tell where Eau Gallie is anymore. I hail from Brevard BTW.

            I want to see UF vs scUM, but can only see tickets for sale in the 250 range. This would be a short drive for me, but I cannot justify a grand for a football game that will be the only one on TV at that time. Got a line on tickets? Tell ya what, if you go, I’ll leave my family behind and gut out a 250 ticket. Let me know. Think your in TX though, so a bit of a haul.
            I’ve got faith in Mullen. Looks like we’ve got a keeper. Look what a good coach can do. Chip Kelley anyone?

          • I checked and I don’t have any medical appointments until 10/28, so 10/17 is clear. Barring any complications, I’ll probably drive out. Keep checking your messages…..I’ll see if AustinGator and/or Dallas might want to come along. Coordination to follow….thanks!

      • Hey gelco30. I really like the Knights and route for them most of the time. But let’s recap. The last two years, they went into bowl season undefeated and did not get selected into the play-off. They won their 2018 bowl game and finished the 2017 season 13 – 0, but were not seriously considered for the national championship (claiming their own doesn’t count in the real world). This is what I refer to when I talk about national prominence. BTW, they were 6 -7 in 2016 and 0 -12 in 2015. Come on brother of CMW, understand the reality here and schedule accordingly!

  1. FSU built up their national name by playing anyone anywhere. UCF doesn’t get it. We already play in the SEC, play FSU every year and sprinkle in games against Michigan, Miami, etc., etc. here and there. We don’t need to play home and home against a team that’s had 3 good seasons in its existence.

  2. ESPN got it right about the Gators using Spurrier symbolically. The core of being a gator IMO is simply that you believe. UCF can talk all day but when it’s time to sign a deal they don’t seem to believe. Obviously not playing Miami for all of these years showed a lack of belief on Foley’s part but he never won much support for his view and the new ad is showing he believes in the Gators as does CDM, and these are the guys i think are best to have. I look forward to what lies ahead. If the UCF people are serious then I’m sure a negotiation can occur but I’m fine with stricklin and CDM do here. Right now UCF needs to spend some time thinking about their alternatives, do they want to go big league or maybe they have already peaked anyway.
    I like the new types of games being added to replace the Idaho type opponents.
    Again, I like recruits that believe in the program. Those kinds of kids aren’t going to act out when they come here, they are going to do the work to be productive. I guess taking a risk on a few guys that don’t have the mind of a gator is justifiable sometimes I just don’t want coaches and administrators feeling pressure from the fans, or at least this fan, to make compromises that are not needed due to what has been built here.

  3. UCF/USF regular scheduling with UF will happen within the next 10 years. With the massive population centers of Tampa Bay and exploding Orlando, both of these schools will pass FSU over the next 20 years. FSU is already on the edge of being a NC State level program. For now, yea, a 45K stadium doesn’t cut the muster. The third Orlando game will have to be scheduled in Camping World Stadium.

  4. USF has actually had more success over a longer period than UCF. Sure, the Knights have made some big noise recently, but USF has the most important win between the two programs when they went to Tallahassee in 2009 and beat Bobby and his #18 ranked Seminoles. “Most of the more than 12,000 sun-drenched, green-clad boosters remained in their end zone seats chanting ”USF, USF,” for some 20 minutes after the Bulls defeated No. 18 Florida State 17-7 Saturday. It was the first meeting between the schools and came in front of Florida State’s biggest home crowd in four years.”

    UCF needs to get over their sanctimonious selves and schedule the so-called “Big 3” if they want to make it the Big 4 or unseat one of the 3, but USF has a better shot at that by scheduling the Gators like they have. Go Gators!

  5. Well I can’t blame UCF for wanting more games in their stadium. They want to show off their fairly new tinker toy stadium. It is much like the five year old that wants to go to school so he can show off his new sneakers. UCF is a very large community college and doesn’t have any business acting as if they are on the same plane as the big universities. Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Florida, Alabama, etc. have been around a long time and have a number of conference and national championships under their belt. UCF needs to grow properly. If they go back to what they really are, average in a small league, at least Universal Studios and Disney are close by for the fans. Go Gators!