Roundtable: Is the ‘Civil Conflict’ a real rivalry, or a joke gone too far?


Central Florida wide receiver Chris Johnson (81) runs after a reception as Furman linebacker Brad Minter (43), tries to stop him during the second half an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. Furman won 16-15. (John Raoux/AP)

After a 2-3 start to the season, UConn football hits the road for the second week in a row to take on a Central Florida team that has stumbled out of the gate to an 0-5 record. The game also marks the second annual “Civil Conflict,” a rivalry created by UConn head coach Bob Diaco in order to get his players excited for a rivalry game in a new conference with teams spread all over the country.

Last season, the Huskies defeated the Knights 37-29 on a rainy homecoming game at Rentschler Field. This season, the Huskies and the Civil Conflict Trophy heads down to Orlando, Florida, where UConn will try to get their first road win against UCF. The Huskies were trounced 62-17 in 2013 under then-interim head coach T.J Weist.

The Daily Campus Sports section staff got together and tried to determine whether the Civil Conflict is positive for Diaco and UConn football, or if it is a joke gone too far. 

Matt Baresi

While UCF has been a consistently talented program, I, like many others, find the Conflict an unfortunate creation. The only reason I’ll take an extra interest is because of its comical start with UCF’s denial of its existence and Diaco’s retort of not needing their permission.

There have been some serious rumblings of a 2016 non-conference matchup between UConn and Boston College,  which would make for a great rivalry game between Diaco and Steve Addazio, the two super competitive new kids on the block in the Northeast. Both teams need tougher schedules to become contenders as BC can’t keep playing two FCS teams and UConn needs to stop playing two military academies.

The program would have a much better chance of reciprocation and fan excitement if it were to try to manufacture a regional rivalry with BC rather than some school in Florida. If not BC, Syracuse, Rutgers or UMass would be preferential.

Bryan Lambert

The conflict between UConn and UCF doesn’t work for a few reasons. The most important one being you can’t just say you have a rivalry with a team that has more than double the amount of conference wins as you do. One team is a powerhouse and one is not. This is like if Guam decided it has beef with the Soviet Union.

Also, UCF already has a rivalry with USF (a school not over a thousand miles away).  Fans of the two schools actually will see each other now and again.
UCF had no idea this Conflict was even happening until Diaco went down to the local thrift store and picked out a trophy big enough to put a Husky and Knight on. If one of the two schools doesn’t know you have a rivalry, you probably don’t have a rivalry. 

Aaron Esposito 

As a fan of Bob Diaco and everything he stands for, I am going to get behind the Civil Conflict 100 percent. Diaco wanted a rivalry to jolt life into the UConn program, so he made one up out of thin air. Normally I would say rivalries need to be born from a rich history of meaningful games, but UCF’s denial of involvement in the making of a trophy was enough for me.

Whether UCF likes it or not, Diaco will have his team fired up for this game. If the Golden Knights attempt to be energy vampires and deny the existence of a rivalry then UConn will be that much closer to a win. Do whatever it takes to get your team to want it more than the other guys and continue to build the program. 

Stephanie Sheehan

The main reason I simply can’t take the “Civil Conflict” seriously is not only because of the comical name, but the nature in which it came up. Rivalries aren’t something that are just created on a whim, they’re a product of proximity and rich competitive history, which UCF and UConn football certainly do not have. UCF didn’t even have a clue this was a thing until it was tweeted by UConn football back in June.

Bob Diaco is an extremely flamboyant character, and I’m sure there are plenty of other ways he can get the team fired up that isn’t a trophy which looks like it was made at summer camp. Plus, the fact that there’s actually a countdown clock for this game is pretty ridiculous. 

Tyler Keating

Oh man. The term ‘manufactured rivalry’ isn’t enough to describe Bob Diaco’s gambit to excite his team by creating the Civil Conflict. I had to check my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April when the Twitter account for UConn football posted the infamous picture of the ridiculous trophy beneath an equally ridiculous countdown clock.
UCF’s response, a forceful denial of anything to do with the creation of the Conflict, somehow made the entire situation even more embarrassing for UConn. If the program wants to be taken seriously nationally, this cannot happen.
Not that this rivalry can’t happen, to be clear. Proximity isn’t a problem – look at the bad blood between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. The problem is that the two teams have played twice. In history. Please, Diaco, let’s give it some time.

Peter Harasyko

Bob Diaco’s decision to brew up a rivalry with Central Florida was no doubt one of the craziest things any of us saw over the summer. However, I think the Civil Conflict is equal parts insane and brilliant, and that’s the reason I love it. The American Athletic Conference is such a weird collection of teams, it needs some excitement and character.

Enter Bob Diaco. He will undoubtedly have the Huskies amped up and ready to defend the trophy this weekend, but will an 0-5 UCF team be able to match his energy? UCF may not have asked for this, but they’re a part of the Civil Conflict now whether they like it or not.

Besides, rivalries are supposed to be unique. The fact that Diaco invented this one out of the blue adds to its individuality. This is Bob Diaco’s world, and we’re all just living in it.

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