Over the past week, since UCF paid literally no attention to trophy of the manufactured rivalry that has been dubbed the Civil ConFLiCT, leaving it behind when they left the stadium, the UCF and UConn match up has been a hot topic of conversation.
Much of that conversation has centered on how Bob Diaco created the rivalry out of thin air. In this clip, Diaco – a bit agitated – talks about how the rivalry came about in the first place.
He starts by talking about the conference meetings, how every league has them, and how everyone goes in with an agenda with the idea that they’re all working together. Diaco went in with rivals and trophy games on his mind. Two teams on their conference schedule didn’t fit with the others, ECU and UCF.
“I went and I talked to exactly who I needed to talk to, here AND there about what my intention was. To add some intrigue, to add some excitement, to add some intrigue or excitement to a game that would otherwise have no intrigue or excitement. Why would two teams that have never played each other, have nothing in common, two teams that have nothing to do with each other, there is no history.”
“UConn and South Florida, there’s history there – same conference. UConn and Cincinnati, there’s history there – same conference. UConn and Temple, geographically located. That leaves two teams, East Carolina and Central Florida. Central Florida was the cream of the crop. Easy for me to say ‘Hey, would you be interested in a trophy game to add some intrigue and to add some interest? To add some fair, wonderful, intercollegiate, awesome energy. YES!”
Diaco then explains that he understands that Scott Frost and his staff weren’t there at that meeting, it was attended by the previous staff but that this topic has probably garnered more attention in the past week than the AAC title game last year (between Houston and Temple) did.
Then Diaco added probably the most interesting anecdote.
“I got other ideas too. Send me my agenda, they want to talk about networks, I’ve got all kinds of ideas on networks. Let’s target 6-year olds to 16-year olds. How about that? Eventually they’re going to be 18-35. Let’s broadcast our games on Nickelodeon. Who owns that? Viacom?”
“Let’s create some real intrigue. Let’s create some real followership. That’s all I was trying to do, with love and respect and energy and thoughtfulness. I didn’t create this thing out of nowhere.”
“Did I think of the idea? Yeah, I did. But this wasn’t one sided, until they decided that it should be.”
Hear more thoughts from Diaco in the video, including how he answers the question “did it work” when people look at the manufactured rivalry.