Study War No More


Following this past Saturday night's game, a 46-39 Central Florida victory in Tampa, the Knights widen their lead in the series to 8-6 and the War on I-4 goes on ice for the foreseeable future. 

The rivalry was destined to be. South Florida and Central Florida are two schools of similar size, stature, and age, situated less than 100 miles apart in central (yes, not south) Florida. USF started football in 1997, and the two would first meet in 2005, with USF as a member of the Big East, then a BCS auto-qualifying conference; and Central Florida as a member of Conference USA, which USF had just left. The initial run was four years, with the two being on uneven footing with regards to conference affiliation, access, and resources. USF took those four, and rode off on its high horse. 

In 2013, the two would meet again, this time as conference foes, as the Knights joined the Bulls in the conference now known as the American Athletic Conference. Now on equal footing, the two schools would trade a pair of blows apiece before the Knights ripped off six straight, many during USF's leanest years as a program. The 2017 contest was between a pair of ranked teams, with C.Florida punching its ticket to the conference championship game after their victory. And while a competitively outmatched South Florida squad has caused the Knights some consternation in recent years, the Bulls haven't notched a victory in the series since 2016.

Central Florida will take a step up into the Big 12 in the 2023 season, and, barring further realignment or schedule changes, the series will go in the cooler until at least 2028, the first year both schools have a vacancy in the non-conference. Even then, the Knights would be well within their rights to see no value in playing the Bulls, both due to previous slights and because it would be high risk, low reward for the Power 5 Knights. In the hiatus, both lose an archrival. The Knights may find a rival in fellow callups Cincinnati or Houston, while USF will soon share both a state and conference with Florida Atlantic, and be conferencemates again with UAB and Charlotte from a previous iteration of Conference USA. Still, both schools would be well served to find one another once again on the gridiron in the future.