Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Is UCF’s Danny White right to criticize USF’s Michael Kelly?

The Knights athletic director adds spice to the rivalry by questioning how the Bulls athletic director builds future football schedules.
USF athletic director Michael Kelly and UCF athletic director Danny White are at odds over how Kelly is building the Bulls' future football schedules. [Times (2018), Orlando Sentinel]
USF athletic director Michael Kelly and UCF athletic director Danny White are at odds over how Kelly is building the Bulls' future football schedules. [Times (2018), Orlando Sentinel]
Published May 22, 2019
Updated May 22, 2019

UCF athletic director Danny White recently suggested that USF’s willingness to strike two-for-one deals (two road games in exchange for one home contest) with the likes of Florida, Miami and Louisville doesn’t set a favorable precedent for a league (American Athletic Conference) trying to assert itself as the sixth power conference. Does White have a point? We convene a roundtable to get answers.

Related: MORE ON THE FEUD: Does USF's series with Florida, Miami set a bad precedent for the AAC?

UCF’s uproar unjustified

Joey Knight, USF/colleges reporter: Credit Bulls athletic director Michael Kelly with doing the implausible: creating mass insecurity within the ranks of a rival program that otherwise should be pounding its chest. Make no mistake, Kelly’s willingness to strike two-for-one deals with Florida and Miami (one home game in exchange for two road trips) is driving Knights fans crazy. White’s certainly entitled to his opinion. Moreover, we’ve written extensively on the contrasting scheduling philosophies of the Bulls and Knights, who prefer to generate revenue (and build their season-ticket base) with seven home games annually, which precludes them from making two-for-one deals. But ask yourself: Would White and his fan base be in such an uproar if, say, Tulsa had scheduled two-for-one deals with Texas and Oklahoma? Would we be hearing this kind of outcry if Tulane had made a two-for-one arrangement with LSU? This is all about the fact that USF has made the concessions necessary to get the Gators and 'Canes on its upcoming schedules, and UCF has not. As a result, Knights fans are having a collective conniption.

Only if you truly believe in the Power Six myth

If you believe the AAC is indeed part of the Power Six, then yes. Here’s the problem: It’s a Power Five, not a Power Six, no matter how much AAC officials and teams want to say otherwise. There’s a gap financially. Its new TV deal will pay each school less than $7 million per year, or about $20 million annually less than the average team payout from the ACC. There’s a gap in perception. As mediocre as the Pac-12 is, can you imagine an undefeated Pac-12 champ not making the College Football Playoff? There’s a gap in tradition and attendance and, generally speaking, on-field product. And, yes, there’s a gap in scheduling, too, which is why teams like the Gators aren’t accepting home-and-home series with any Group of Five teams. USF’s decision didn’t change that process; it accepted the gap as a fact.

Related: MORE ON THE FEUD: Before this feud, FSU played anywhere, any time in quest for national respect

Bad blood good for rivalry

Mike Sherman, deputy editor – sports: You’ve got to appreciate anyone who says what’s on their mind. To paraphrase my favorite sage/baseball manager Earl Weaver, there ought to be bad blood between all athletic departments. Anything that adds spice to the USF-UCF rivalry is good for fan interest/readership. That said, Oklahoma State just agreed to an eight-year football series with Tulsa – four home games each -- so it’s possible. Michael Kelly is free to cut the deals he can for USF. Danny White is free to cut the deals he can for UCF, and comment on his rival’s scheduling practices.

Hey UCF, just do you

Ernest Hooper, assistant sports editor: I get the feeling there’s an underlying force behind White’s complaints — defense of a mythical national title. Circumstance, as always, played a role in 2017 when it went undefeated but didn’t have a dazzling array of Power 5 opponents. And while UCF proudly claimed a national championship, critics complained it lacked the strength of schedule to back the claim. Knights fans counter that their beloved team would have a stronger schedule if more Power 5 schools would agree to home-and-home contracts. The argument rings hollow, however, when UCF’s nearest conference rival takes a different approach to get Power 5 schools on its schedule. In the end, White would be best served to heed the words of the great Ric Flair: “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” If USF believes that means initially meeting the man on his terms, so be it.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Former USF dual-threat extraordinaire Quinton Flowers is one of four quarterbacks on the roster of the XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers. [Tampa Bay Vipers]
    The record-setting Bulls QB will play in the Tampa Bay Vipers’ opener, but probably not as much as he’d like.
  2. Former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is on the opening-day 52-man roster for the XFL's Tampa Bay Vipers. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Plant High’s Aaron Murray and Wharton High’s Chase Litton join USF’s career total yardage leader in the quarterback room.
  3. USF coach Brian Gregory's team (8-11, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) is on a four-game skid entering Sunday afternoon's contest at No. 25 Houston. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In a conference teeming with parity, the notion of USF reaching the NCAA Tournament isn’t far-fetched.
  4. New USF offensive coordinator Glenn Spencer addresses players during the Bulls' first team meeting of 2020. [Joey Knight]
    The coaches each get a $10,000 bonus for a regular-season win against UCF.
  5. Jeff Scott takes over at USF in his first head coaching stint and if he instills a bit of Clemson swagger and culture, who's to argue with what works. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TImes]
    The Bulls’ new football coach is installing the cornerstones of the ultra-successful national championship program in Tampa.
  6. New USF football coach Jeff Scott, right, talks to members of the football team during a meeting at USF last week. Since then, Scott and his staff  have remained on the recruiting trail, landing six new non-binding commitments. [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    New coach Jeff Scott has received six new commitments since Sunday.
  7. USF Bulls guard Laquincy Rideau (3) shoots a 3-pointer over Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis (0) during the first half at the Yuengling Center. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The Bulls shoot 30 percent from the floor in a 56-43 defeat at the Yuengling Center.
  8. Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall's club was ranked as high as 16th in the Associated Press poll earlier this month before losing two in a row last week. [MICHAEL PEREZ  |  AP]
    Both teams will try to break out of skids in tonight’s ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ game at the Yuengling Center.
  9. Chamberlain offensive tackle Cesar Reyes said via Twitter on Sunday he plans to sign with USF. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Bulls fortify depth at quarterback and on the offensive line.
  10. USF sophomore Elisa Pinzan had seven 3-pointers Sunday in the Bulls' 64-57 loss to UCF at the Yuengling Center. [JOEY KNIGHT | Times] [Joey Knight]
    The Knights sweep a weekend of basketball against the Bulls.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement