For better or for worse, USF is finally embracing the rivalry with UCF. Through a combination of their own failings, the changing landscape of college football, and, perhaps, the need to create some late-season enthusiasm with the Bulls failing to qualify for a bowl this season, USF has been hyping this game up like they never have before. They've registered BeatUCF.com (and BeatUSF.com for that matter-- well played, athletics department), are tweeting out the hashtag #BeatUCF at every opportunity, have some cool new uniforms for the game, are putting up flyers and billboards and made an intense hype video. For us USF lifers who never thought we'd see the day that UCF was considered a rival, this is kind of sad. But it's necessary, and the athletics department is doing a fine job of raising excitement for the Bulls' Black Friday matchup with the Knights.
Wow, so UCF finally got what they wanted! A real rivalry game with USF! I bet they're pretty excited, right?
Been working on transcribing early afternoon interviews at UCF. Constant theme from players: USF is just another game, not a rivalry.— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 24, 2014
UCF WR Josh Reese: "What we prepare for is winning the conference championship. We're not caught up in the hype of a rivalry."— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 24, 2014
UCF S Clayton Geathers: "It's an important game because it's the next game. It's conference play. We're just looking forward to playing."— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 24, 2014
Okay, okay. George O'Leary, you've only been calling this a rivalry game for the last nine years. Surely you're happy that USF is finally embracing it?
On tonight's radio show, GOL took shots at Taggart and his players for "running their mouths" and using the word "hate."— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) November 26, 2014
Really, George? You're not into players and coaches talking up the USF game? Let's take a look back over the past decade.
September 14, 2005: George O'Leary on playing USF every year: "It's a natural being that they are only two hours away."
July 30, 2006: "I would sign the contract right now-- today, tomorrow, whenever. I've made it very clear that I'd like to continue that series every year." - George O'Leary
"This is a game that will come close to filling both stadiums. It's a game the fan base and student bodies look forward to." - George O'Leary
August 17, 2006: "It's a great rivalry-type game." - George O'Leary
September 15, 2006: "I'm just saying what looks like a good situation for both schools. It's something we'd like to see continue." - George O'Leary
October 11, 2007: Everyone says this game doesn't matter-- the hell it doesn't. If it doesn't matter, then why [does USF] throw it in your face during recruiting?" - George O'Leary
The article continues: "O'Leary reasons that 'common sense' dictates this game should be played every year."
December 16, 2010: "I've voiced my opinion. I think it's something that needs to happen. It would be a win-win for both schools." - George O'Leary
November 1, 2011: I think it's a great game for both fan bases. I think it's a natural game." - George O'Leary
Okay, George. Just another game. Sure.