Since the idea of a possible 2-for-1 series between Central Florida and Floria surfaced in the last week, details have emerged about how UCF AD Danny White and Florida AD Scott Stricklin considered the possibility and interacted with one another.
White responded to Stricklin’s comments to the media about the Gators being open to scheduling UCF.
“I was excited to read that you are open to playing us in football and would like to talk more about that,” White said in an email obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. “We are looking for a home and home series beginning in 2021. …We would also consider a neutral-site game if that would expedite the process of getting a game scheduled between our two programs.”
As White offered a list of possible dates, Stricklin countered and he reiterated UF’s long-standing scheduling philosophy regarding schools outside the Power 5.
“UF isn’t in the market for home-and-home or a neutral site games against non-Autonomy 5 opponents,” Stricklin wrote. “However, we would be open to a series similar to what we’ve agreed to with USF … two games in Gainesville and one in Orlando. We are in need of a home opener for the 2022 season, so the 9/3/2022 date you mention would be a perfect date to begin the series, and we can fill in the remaining games from there.”
White didn’t appreciate the reference to “non-Autonomy 5 opponents” and quickly changed his tactic to soliciting Stricklin’s help to change a “broken” system.
“You mention not playing a neutral site contest versus a non-autonomy 5 opponent, but a UF vs. UCF game held in our state would certainly be a sellout, which would be a positive for both of us financially,” White wrote. “I think that our team has shown on the field that we are far from a typical ‘non-autonomy 5’ opponent.”
White even went as far as comparing the College Football Playoff to a “monopoly.”
“… Requiring non-autonomy 5 schools to have to settle for inequitable scheduling seems like an unfair business practice and something we should all address at a high level,” White wrote. “If this type of scheduling is what is required for teams like UCF to make the final 4 of the CFP (College Football Playoff), we must consider expansion of the playoff to include non-autonomy 5 schools so we avoid the system operating like a monopoly. I am open to playing anyone in the country, but shouldn’t have to put my team at a severe disadvantage by being forced to play two for ones or guarantee games.
“The system should be such that we can schedule home and homes. As someone who sits on the CFP Committee, I am asking for your help in fixing a broken model by expanding the playoff and putting an end to unfair scheduling practices.”
Stricklin’s response is pending, but it will be interesting to see if White continues this stance with other programs similar to Florida, or if another Power 5 school finally gives the Knights a chance with a scheduling commitment.