“UCF did not have any involvement in the creation of a trophy or an annual rivalry game with UConn…” This was the official statement tweeted out by @UCF_Football as they, much like many from Storrs were confused what the Civil Conflict was.
UConn Head Coach Bob Diaco after a shocking upset victory over UCF in 2014 thought of proposing a rivalry between the teams as he said in his postgame speech, “We’re excited about this North/South battle. You want to call it the Civil Conflict? Maybe I’ll win my money and make a trophy. I’ll buy it myself.” While there is no word if Diaco used his own funds to buy the trophy, thank you for the trophy UConn students, he did create a trophy.
The trophy was created in June 2015 as UConn announced it on Twitter for the whole world to see. There were a couple issues with this. First off, UCF had no idea this was happening and were unaware that a rivalry even existed. Secondly, UConn only listed the 2014 meeting on the trophy and left out the 2013 meeting where they lost 62-17. Lastly, the UCF head coach and interim athletic director at the time, George O’Leary, openly dismissed the trophy and the rivalry, to which Diaco said, “They (UCF) don’t get to say whether they are our rival or not.”
Since the inception of the trophy, UConn and UCF have played once and the Huskies beat the Knights 40-13 as UCF finished the year 0-12. In the matchup last year the UCF mascot made fun of the Huskies for the rivalry as he held up a sign of Regina George from Mean Girls saying, “Stop trying to make the Civil Conflict happen. It’s not going to happen.”
This weekend, UCF and UConn will square off for the fourth time, but for the third time in the Conflict, and the game will be played in Hartford. The two schools are located 1,214 miles apart and both have multiple schools in the AAC which are closer geographically. The new UCF head coach Scott Frost was recently asked about the Conflict to which he replied, “I heard about it yesterday I wasn’t a part of that, we will see how it goes…no one on our end knew much about it; we will see how it goes.” While being nice, he was very unenthusiastic as UCF still does not accept this as a rivalry.
From the UCF standpoint, the Conflict has been a disaster as UConn was their only conference lost in 2014 and they went 0-6 in conference in 2015. From the Huskies standpoint, Diaco looks like a genius as he is 2-0, and it has helped his team be inspired to play and win.
Coming into the matchup these teams are a combined 6-7 and 2-4 in the conference. This matchup should be set on everyone’s DVR and tuned in live as this will be one for the absolute ages. Much like that last sentence, the Civil Conflict is a joke. To call it a rivalry would be like calling Syracuse a good basketball program; some things are just not meant to be.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org