The state of Florida football’s non-conference scheduling

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GAINESVILLE, FL – NOVEMBER 27: Florida Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin speaks during an introductory press conference for new Florida football head coach Dan Mullen at the Bill Heavener football complex on November 27, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

Florida football and UCF spent several weeks this past December in a PR showdown over the scheduling of a potential series between the two schools in the near future.

The Florida-UCF two-for-one scheduling debate has fascinated me over the last several weeks. For those of you outside of the Sunshine State’s football bubble, allow me to fill you in on the fight between UCF and Florida football that is sure to last through the off-season.

Knights fans, already disappointed with a system that didn’t seriously consider their team for a playoff spot, made enough noise about the College Football Playoff Committee’s snub of a Florida-UCF New Year’s Six bowl matchup that Florida Athletic Director, Scott Stricklin, who held a spot on this year’s 13-member CFP Committee, felt inclined to address the chatter that he had anything to do with arranging the Gators’ Peach Bowl matchup against Michigan and shipping UCF out to the desert to play LSU.

“We would have loved to play UCF in a bowl game,” Stricklin said in a press conference earlier this month, “I think it would have been an exciting matchup and created a lot of interest, but we also think our game against Michigan is an exciting matchup, too.” (Mike Bianchi, December 3, 2018, Orlando Sentinel)

While playing Michigan is not a common occurrence in the Florida football history books, I doubt the Orange and Blue faithful had nearly as much fun with the Gators’ third game against the Wolverines in as many seasons as they would have had taunting their upstart neighbors from Orlando if the Florida football team were to beat UCF, simultaneously putting an end to the winning streak and any notion of equality between the two football programs.

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