The Connecticut Huskies and Central Florida Knights both play in the American Athletic Conference, but they aren’t exactly considered major rivals. According to Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant, UConn head football coach Bob Diaco wants that to change.
The two teams met in East Hartford last season, with UConn pulling off the upset and getting its second and last win of 2014 against UCF, and they will play again this year on October 10th, this time in Orlando.
Despite the fireworks surrounding last year’s win, UCF doesn’t appear to be viewing this game as a rivalry one.
Given how UConn sent out a tweet hyping the rivalry a few days ago, one can see where this may get a little complicated.
But Diaco isn’t backing down. He continued to hype the game to Conner, even going so far as to take a couple of shots at UCF for not taking the game as seriously as UConn.
“Yeah, here’s the deal,” he said. “Why do I have to call their athletic department to say we’ve got them targeted as our rival, period? What control over that would they have? And what do I care what they think … If they don’t want to honor our rivalry and we’re not their rival, that’s on them. I don’t control what they want. They don’t want to be a part of the trophy, I don’t care about that, either.”
That’s big talk for a small bird, as Diaco went 2-10 (1-7 AAC) in his first season as a head coach (he was formerly Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator) and UConn hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2010.
UCF, meanwhile, has gone 81-60 in 11 seasons under George O’Leary and has won the last two AAC conference titles. That gives the program four under O’Leary’s watch if you count the two the Knights won in Conference USA.
Thus, though it may seem one-sided right now, mark your calendars for October 10.
Whether or not UCF takes it seriously or even wants it, it now has a rivalry with UConn thanks to Diaco’s words.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports