The college football world waits in anticipation for this weekend, when one of sports’ greatest rivalries will write its next (third) chapter.
Ohio State-Michigan, Army-Navy, the Iron Bowl and Oklahoma-Texas have all staked their claim as one of college football’s most prolific rivalries, but none can quite compare to the Civil Conflict between UConn and UCF.
Now Civil Conflict non-believers might bring up the fact that these two teams have only met twice in the past, but these people are simply ignorant to the significance of this rivalry to the program.
A mere eight states and 1,200 miles separate these two schools, leaving the two teams with a mutual feeling that borders on slight disdain. The stakes are even higher in this year’s game, as a trophy, the brainchild of pioneering UConn head coach Bob Diaco, will be on the line for the first time.
— UConn Football (@UConnFootball) June 1, 2015
Diaco introduced the trophy (and the concept of the Civil Conflict for that matter) over the offseason. He didn’t really consult George O’Leary or anyone at UCF about it, but just went ahead and did it anyway. What can you say? The man’s a go-getter.
Diaco stated that he chose the Knights as a rival due to his respect for the program, which he considers to be among the best in the AAC (and probably because they were one of the two teams that the Huskies actually beat last year). However, this explanation wasn’t enough for some in the lamestream media, who criticized everything from the rivalry’s name to the fact that the trophy only had one score listed on it even though the two teams have played twice.
Well, Diaco has heard your complaints, disgruntled masses, and wholesale changes are on the way.
In his press conference earlier this week, Diaco stated that the rivalry’s name has been changed to the ConFLiCT (or alternatively, the rivalry formerly known as the Civil Conflict) and that the trophy now includes the scores of both previous meetings.
“We changed the name. I say ‘we’ I’m not sure it’s a one-man show or if there’s more than one man. I don’t know, but it’s all good either way,” Diaco said. “We changed the named to Conflict so as to not offend anyone, and I don’t mean that facetiously. I’m trying to do the right thing, so that it’s taken as it’s intended to be taken, which is quintessential college football.”
“We made the appropriate changes to it so that everybody, well not everybody is going to be happy, but as many people as we could.”
Indeed, quintessential college football will be on full display between 0-5 UCF and 2-3 UConn in a matchup that could go a long way in determining what team avoids finishing last in the AAC East.
Both offenses are struggling this year, due in part to youth and inexperience, so Saturday’s showdown could be a defensive battle.
But no matter the outcome, you can bet that it will be a tight battle just like any other great rivalry. Sure, it was egregiously snubbed by College Gameday, but at least the rivalry formerly known as the Civil Conflict finally has the trophy it so richly deserves.
The stage is set. All we can do now is count down the hours until kickoff.
Saturday can’t come soon enough.