It’s almost too perfect.
The idea of Nebraska and UCF scheduling a matchup wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. Let’s be honest.
But when UCF’s game against UNC was cancelled because of Hurricane Florence on Tuesday, it created a different kind of storm on Twitter.
Nebraska and UCF both have had games cancelled because of weather, and both have bye weeks on Oct. 27. Could we get a Scott Frost reunion game in 2018?
Holy moly. Nebraska and UCF both have a bye week Oct. 27.
Please make this happen. https://t.co/9Pqp9wioKN
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 11, 2018
The first person to comment on that tweet brought up a good point. Why would UCF agree to play a game that weekend when it has a Thursday matchup the following week? Five days separating matchups presumably in Lincoln and back in Orlando wouldn’t make much sense.
But there’s a way this all makes sense. Listen closely, Bill Moos.
They could simply play on Friday.
That’s right. Friday night lights, AKA the thing that B1G fans opposed more than anything last year. But with an extra day of rest for UCF, it makes this fantasy matchup possible.
You see, both of these teams need this matchup. Badly.
UCF is coming off an undefeated season in which it only had 11 regular season games because Hurricane Irma cancelled its matchup vs. Georgia Tech. As a result, UCF got 1 less Power 5 opportunity to show the selection committee it deserved serious consideration to make the Playoff.
In 2018, UCF is sitting there with an undefeated season and now once again, it’s only scheduled for one Power 5 game (at home vs. Pitt). You know what would catch the selection committee’s attention? Going up to Lincoln and beating Frost’s new team.
If there was ever a time to beat a high-profile team like Nebraska without having to face a typical Nebraska team, this is it. The short- and long-term benefits for the UCF brand would be huuuuuuge.
That’s right. Huuuuuuuge.
So there’s the other side of the coin. As in, why would Moos or Frost agree to this?
On the surface, this might only seem like downside and potential embarrassment for proud Nebraska, though I’m pretty sure the Huskers got all of their embarrassment out of the way last year by losing at home to Northern Illinois. Losing to a ranked UCF team wouldn’t be nearly as bad.
Nebraska wants to get that 6-win mark. Badly. Getting an extra month of practice and earning a postseason berth is a key lift for a first-year coach. There’s also the financial benefits and all of that, but I would think Frost would be more inclined to get to 6 wins because of what it could do to improve his team.
The Huskers are sitting there at 0-1 with one of the toughest schedules in the country. A team that won 4 games last year still has matchups at Michigan, at Wisconsin, at Ohio State, vs. Michigan State and at Iowa. Getting to 6 wins with just 10 more chances will be extremely difficult, especially if Adrian Martinez isn’t at 100 percent.
OK, so let’s talk logistics.
From a TV standpoint, the matchup sells itself. Any network will do whatever it can to get ahold of that game, and there would likely be open spots on a Friday night.
There is another hurdle, and it’s actually from UCF. There were rumors flying that when Florida scheduled a 3-game series with South Florida, UCF didn’t get the series with the Gators because it wanted a true home-and-home. UCF is obviously not shy about presenting itself like a Power 5 team, so agreeing to go up to Nebraska for a 1-game series might not be a slam dunk.
What Nebraska could do is also agree to play UCF at Camping World Stadium in Orlando in 2024. It won’t be on UCF’s campus, Husker fans will travel well and it’ll help Frost’s continued recruiting efforts in Florida. It’ll also look like an impressive agreement for the Knights administration.
For Nebraska, the thought is that the program will be competing for conference titles by then. It takes a gamble on UCF not sustaining its yearly top-25 status, though if Nebraska is competing for a Playoff spot and UCF is still nationally relevant, it would likely help move the needle more than a home game against Colorado.
So to recap, here’s my proposed dream scenario to make this matchup happen:
- UCF at Nebraska on Friday, Oct. 26
- Nebraska vs. UCF at Camping World Stadium in 2024
Frost against his former team would make for great theater. There’s no doubt about that. Trash talk would continue from both sides after they fought over Frost last fall. I’m here for that.
It’ll be up to the athletic directors if they can put this made-for-TV story together.
Here’s hoping they green-light this fascinating idea.