UCF Knights Athletic Director Danny White is no longer in the mood.
On Wednesday, White hopped on Mike Bianchi’s radio show to take on criticism from USA Today columnist Dan Wolken of the Knights’ reported scheduling of a home-and-home with FIU for 2020 and 2022.
To quickly recap, that news was first reported by Brett McMurphy:
.@UCF_Football & @FIUFootball agree to home/home series, sources told @Stadium. Games scheduled for 2020 at UCF, 2022 at FIU— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 28, 2019
Wolken dove in and promptly hit his head on the bottom of the empty hot take swimming pool:
So Danny White won’t do 2-for-1s with Power Fives but will do 1-for-1s with FIU. Makes sense. https://t.co/c3hOOQuMFu— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) July 28, 2019
Whether or not my comment had a hint of sarcasm, the fact is that UCF rejecting the idea of 2-for-1s with top programs while taking a 1-for-1 with FIU undercuts the argument that UCF is making a serious attempt to build a schedule worthy of a College Football Playoff berth. https://t.co/yPMsVTgixr— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) July 29, 2019
Stewart Mandel of The Athletic also promptly followed:
So 2 for 1s against P5 are unacceptable to UCF but they’ll do a home and home with a C-USA school. https://t.co/8rkNHtDEqi— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 29, 2019
More on that in a second.
Anyway, back to Wednesday. Here’s Danny White’s interview with Bianchi:
Money quote (emphasis added):
“I think we’re at the top level. I’m not going to waste any time trying to schedule for a four-team playoff, because it’s not a playoff. It’s an invitational. It’s not an adequate postseason. I think our schedule works great for an eight-team playoff, and I think that’s where it needs to go. And I think our schedule, as proven over the last couple of years, works great for building a football program and us playing a meaningful game hopefully on New Year’s Day. Hopefully we get more opportunities to do that. Obviously we’ve done that the last two years in a row.
So we’re not interested in listening to people’s ideas on how we get to a four-team playoff. There are a lot of people that had ideas after our first undefeated season, and said that if we just did it again, we’d be in the playoff. Well we weren’t even considered after going a second straight year undefeated. So I don’t think it matters. We could play the San Francisco 49ers, the Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. They’re still not going to put us in a four-team playoff. We’re realists about that. That’s why we’ve been pushing for an adequate postseason with an eight-team playoff. And we need to schedule what’s right for us building our program.
There have been so many misnomers out there. I know people use Boise State as an example. Boise State didn’t have the “Play anybody, play anywhere” approach. That was Fresno State. I worked there at the time. Boise State had a pretty smart scheduling model and it worked for them, and they’ve kind of stuck to it. They’re not playing more than two Power Five opponents in a given year year, and some years they’re only playing one.
I think we’ve been pretty aggressive in wanting to play two every single year, because I think some people lose sight of the fact of how hard it is to go undefeated in our league. We have zero margin for error in our conference. You lose one game, and you’re going from a New Year’s Six bowl game to a bowl game against maybe not nearly as premiere of an opponent and not nearly as great of an experience for our student-athletes, and our program and our fans. If we were in a different conference - People talk about the conference schedule being tougher if you’re in the SEC or the ACC. And that may be true, in some instances. In some instances in some years, it’s not, because our league is pretty tough. But you can go 8-4 and go to a hell of a bowl game. It’s a totally different set of circumstances for those programs.”
The rest of the interview is well worth the listen.
Bottom line: Danny White is over it. UCF has proven over the last two years that no non-A5 school will crack the four-team College Football Playoff no matter what they do. So, as I told Wolken in a tweet:
Why?— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) July 29, 2019
Say #UCF beats both Stanford and Pitt this year. The excuse from the CFP Committee is pre-written: Those teams must be weak this year.
That's what you get from an opaque, unaccountable committee wholly owned by the A5 conferences.
So why play their game and lose revenue? https://t.co/LgqPLbRHIP
As for Mandel, he’s either too busy to make phone calls, or think critically:
Oh look: A factual error from @slmandel about @UCF_Football.— Jeff Sharon (@Jeff_Sharon) July 31, 2019
No one - including Florida - ever formally offered #UCF a 2-for-1. Florida *discussed* a 2-for-neutral with @UCFDannyWhite, and he told them to pound sand when they wouldn’t budge on coming to UCF’s campus. pic.twitter.com/j5p27yqHKx
We’ve written about that here.
I really want to believe that national columnists and thought leaders in college football - the people who have a LOT more power than us here - want to take the time to understand UCF’s goals, and in turn, the agenda of non-A5 schools. This is about money. It always has been and it always will be. That’s what drives the bus.
As long as the College Football Playoff, as our Eric Lopez says, has no criteria for qualifying other than the votes of an opaque, unaccountable committee, UCF and the rest of the non-Autonomous Five schools are stuck in college football purgatory with no realistic chance to win a championship. And as long as that’s the case, UCF should continue to schedule in its own economic interest.
Follow the money.