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USF, UCF up stakes for 'War on I-4'

The "War on I-4" as been upgraded from mere nickname to official name in terms of the UCF-USF rivalry.

The schools have announced the "War on I-4" will involve a scored year-long competition between the schools in multiple sports. It starts immediately, with a Bulls-Knights volleyball matchup tonight, and men's soccer Saturday night. Both contests are in Orlando.

The scoring system awards points to each school for a victory against the other. For cross country, golf and track and field (which do not have head-to-head meetings), the school that records the best finish in each conference championship for those sports will receive points.

The winning university will take possession of a large trophy shaped like the I-4 road sign, to be displayed on their campus for the following year. The winner of the annual Thanksgiving weekend football game wins a separate, similarly-shaped "War On I-4" trophy.

"This rivalry series will serve as a fun and exciting way for USF's students, alumni and fans to share their passion and enthusiasm for their school while providing our student-athletes with a college experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives," USF athletic director Mark Harlan said.

Added UCF counterpart Danny White: "UCF's teams, fans, students and alumni truly enjoy this rivalry. Everyone involved looks forward to these matchups, so extending the rivalry to an official year-long competition should generate even more interest and excitement."

If there is a tie at the end of the school year, the performances of the programs in the NCAA Graduation Success Rate will be the tiebreaker.

BASKETBALL: Florida will be part of a 16-team tournament that will be staged Nov. 23-27, 2017, in Portland to honor Nike co-founder Phil Knight before his 80th birthday. Other teams in the PK80, or more formally the Phil Knight Invitational, are Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Portland, Portland State, Stanford and Texas. Two groups will compete for bracket titles. All games will be on ESPN. "What a great way to celebrate Phil Knight and all that he and Nike have done for college basketball and the Florida Gators," UF coach Mike White said.

IVY LEAGUE: The Ivy League proposed tightening NCAA rules to prevent coaches from recruiting high school athletes before their junior years. The NCAA already has rules against coaches making early contact with prospective athletes pre-junior year, but holes in the regulations have accelerated the recruiting process and led to nonbinding scholarship offers, contact during camps and unofficial campus visits.

KENTUCKY: Starting quarterback Drew Barker will miss at least a few weeks with a back injury that won't require surgery. Junior Stephen Johnson will make his first start vs. South Carolina.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

State games

USF: vs. FSU, noon Saturday, Ch. 28

Florida: at Tennessee, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 10

UCF: at FIU, 7 Saturday

Miami: at Georgia Tech, noon Oct. 1, TV TBD

USF, UCF up stakes for 'War on I-4' 09/21/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:57pm]
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