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.

Tampa Bay Times - - Colleges -

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.”

STEPHEN M. DOW­ELL | Or­lando Sen­tinel/TNS

UCF coaches and play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter win­ning their se­cond straight AAC ti­tle last week.

Scott Strick­lin

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