Is Central Florida coach George O'Leary getting ahead of himself in telling Knights boosters that USF and UCF will be playing football again as soon as 2014? The morning after O'Leary reportedly told a Tampa audience that a home-and-home series with the Bulls was "on the docket," a USF athletics spokesman said there are no contracts, proposed or signed, relating to future games between the two schools.
Assistant athletic director Jeremy Sharpe said Tuesday that USF athletic director Doug Woolard and UCF athletic director Keith Tribble have had discussions about the possibility of resuming the rivalry, but said there is not even an handshake agreement between the two men. O'Leary also said he'd like the game to be played on Thanksgiving weekend, but the Big East asked its member schools to keep the final two weekends of the regular season available for conference games, forcing USF to move its scheduled Thanksgiving weekend game with Miami this fall to the previous week.
Given the high level of interest in Orlando in resuming the series, the mere fact that conversations are taking place is news, but at this point, it doesn't seem that the level of those discussions has moved on to anything more substantial than that. It's unlikely that USF would enter into any longterm scheduling commitment until the Bulls know how many conference games they will be playing as a result of Big East expansion.
If, for instance, the league were to expand to 10 teams and take on a nine-game conference schedule, that would leave only three nonconference games each year. In 2015, the Bulls are scheduled to play at Florida and Indiana, so such a conference model would likely force the Bulls to move one game, based on their scheduling history.
The two schools met each year from 2005-08, with USF winning all four meetings. The Bulls stopped the home-and-home series, citing a high number of in-state opponents on the schedule. That will continue for a few years for USF, with Florida State and Miami on the 2012 schedule and Florida Atlantic and Miami in 2013. The six-game series with the Hurricanes ends in 2013, but after that, the only scheduled game against an in-state opponent is the 2015 game in Gainesville.