Gators tell UCF let’s do this
Florida says it’s not hiding and would “love” to play the Knights, likely in the same two-for-one deal it has with USF.
GAINESVILLE — Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said he would welcome a two-for-one series against UCF, which has the nation’s longest winning streak at 25.
“I’d be okay with scheduling them in the right situation,” Stricklin said Friday during a Peach Bowl event at Florida Field.
Stricklin said UCF athletic director Danny White has never reached out about playing the Gators.
“We haven’t had a spot where we thought this made sense at this point,” Stricklin said.
If the schools set up a series, Stricklin said it would have to be similar to the two-for-one structure of Florida’s upcoming series with USF. The Bulls will play in Gainesville in 2022 and 2025, with the Gators visiting Raymond James Stadium in 2023.
White, younger brother of UF basketball coach Mike White, has said the Knights have to focus on scheduling home-and-home series, suggesting it would be unfair to a growing season-ticket base to give up an extra home game, and it would be financially difficult to give up about $2 million in revenue from a home game in exchange for a Power Five host payout that generally would be less than $1 million.
“We do home-and-homes with like FSUs and Power Five leagues,” Stricklin said. “We haven’t done any home-and-homes with non-Power Five teams. I don’t think we would start that.
“But I’d love to schedule (the Knights) in a game.”
Many wondered if Florida (9-3) and unbeaten UCF (13-0) might play as early as this postseason. Instead, the No. 10 Gators will face No. 7 Michigan in the Peach Bowl, and the No. 8 Knights will face No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Stricklin laughed off accusations that he worked behind the scenes — he’s a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee — to prevent Florida from playing UCF in a New Year’s Six bowl because the Gators had more to lose than gain in the in-state matchup.
“If you win the game, it counts one win,” Stricklin said. “If you lose the game, it counts one loss. When I was at Mississippi State, they said don’t play Southern Miss. We played Southern Miss. They had the same argument.
“To me, South Florida, you could say the same thing and we’re not hiding.”
UCF coaches and players celebrate after winning their second straight AAC title last week.