The UConn football program drew criticism last week for it's contrived "Civil Conflict" matchup against University of Central Florida next season. Among other things, there is no historical or geographical rivalry between the two teams, and not only that, UCF says it wasn't even informed of said contrived matchup.
On Monday, second-year UConn coach Bob Diaco explained that not only was the rivalry his idea, he has no plans to give up on it.
“Why do I have to call their athletic department to say we’ve got them targeted as our rival, period,” Diaco said on a Monday morning conference call, via the Associated Press. “What control over that would they have and what do I care what they think? … If they don’t want to honor our rivalry, we’re not their rival, that’s on them. I don’t control what they want. If they don’t want to be a part of the trophy, I don’t care about that, either. They don’t like the logo … the logo is a university logo. And I took the logo off our marketing.”
Last week, UCF coach George O'Leary expressed the same confusion as many fans.
"My experience is you're more likely to have a rivalry against a team closer to where you live," he said. "When you go 10 states away, I think it's hard."
A UConn spokesperson explained that "Civil Conflict" was chosen because UCF is one of the most southern AAC teams while the Huskies are the most northern. Whatever the reason, Diaco likes it.
"For us it's exciting and I think it's fun," he said. "If you embrace it, you embrace it. If you don't, you don't. There was nothing before, so if you don't embrace it there would still be nothing. And if you do, even a little bit, it's more energetic and exciting."