If I told you that Orlando was hosting the “Civil Conflict” this weekend, would you assume I was talking about the football game between the #18 UCF Knights and the unranked UCONN Huskies? Probably not. After all, the contrived attempt to create a rivalry between these two programs by former UCONN Head Coach Bob Diaco back in 2014, meant so little to the Knights, they never even brought the trophy that was awarded to the winner of this game back with them to Central Florida after last year’s 24-16 win. The whereabouts of the trophy remain a mystery to this day.
So given a name that gives this game nothing more than the sounds of yet another call-to-action against some political agenda, perhaps it is time for UCF fans across Central Florida to show the College Football Selection Committee that the undefeated Knights are far more than simply the “highest ranked team in the nation amongst non-Power 5 schools.”
THAT is your real conflict, and it’s up to you to help settle it.
Following last week’s 31-24 road win against SMU, the Knights remained #18 in the College Football Playoffs Rankings, a full 10 spots behind the next unbeaten team, the Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten. UCF remains one of five unbeaten teams in all of college football, along with “Power 5 powerhouses” #1 Georgia, #2 Alabama, #7 Miami, and #8 Wisconsin. The 10-team gap between Wisconsin and UCF looks especially bad on paper, where eight of the nine schools ranked in between them each have two losses this season. Playoff pundits will quickly point to UCF’s affiliation with the American Athletic conference, one which does not have this golden “Power 5” delineation that is apparently required to be part of the Playoffs, as well as UCF’s strength of schedule, which ranks 62nd in the nation, just two spots behind the Wisconsin Badgers (60th).
Those are weak arguments, and perhaps produce enough evidence to expose the fact that the Playoff committee simply hasn’t watched a single UCF game at all this season. Sounds blasphemous right? The nation’s No. 1 offense, the nation’s hottest coaching commodity, an unblemished record, and still no love?
Perhaps look no further than your own stands. If the UCF program has come as far as it’s come in such a short period of time under Frost, what is stopping you from traveling the short distance over to Spectrum Stadium on Saturday? If in fact this program is trying to convince a 13-person panel that it belongs on the big stage, perhaps a good place to start is by showing up to yours.
The team has done its part again and again, trouncing its opponents and shattering program records. They’ve dodged the Irma’s and dealt with the multiple schedule changes that followed. They’ve survived the coaching rumors and avoided the controversies. And they’ve done all that with little fanfare and half empty stadiums.
Yes, the Knights should win convincingly on Saturday. Sure, the Florida Gators are playing the South Carolina Gamecocks at the exact same time on CBS, but put your attention where it deserves. Start showing this team the respect they’ve earned. Show Scott Frost that if in fact you would like to keep him around, this fan base cherishes these successes. Show this committee that hiding behind a conference affiliation is in fact a weak excuse to why a team like UCF can’t be the story of the college football season.
And most importantly, show your face at Spectrum Stadium at 12 Noon on Saturday. I wouldn’t want a Civil Conflict to break out and not have any support once again.