This is a rivalry trophy UConn made last year for its football game against Central Florida.
At the time, UCF had no idea that UConn was making this trophy:
Just checked w/ @UCF_Football: "We have no involvement with the trophy or creating a rivalry game with UConn." They were surprised by tweet.— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) June 1, 2015
UCF and UConn are now awkward conference opponents in The American, thanks to the random caprices of conference realignment. And in 2015's game, Connecticut won 40-13, because UCF was terrible and went 0-12. Even as it was happening, UCF's mascot made fun of UConn for its enterprising rivalry idea.
I think Regina George said it best pic.twitter.com/OTxNCVo9Mg— Knightro (@UCF_Knightro) October 10, 2015
But now that the Diaco era has officially come to a close in UConn, it remains to be seen whether the rivalry will continue to limp on.
Some history here: Back in 2014, UConn beat UCF in a shocker -- it was UConn's only win against an FBS team, and UCF's only loss to a conference opponent -- and UConn coach Bob Diaco used the postgame press conference to recommend a rivalry trophy:
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. Put a big giant Husky and a big giant Knight on it. Make a stand. Put it in our hallway. The Civil Conflict. The loser, maybe they've got to put nutmeg on the stand when it's not there and we'll put a sack of oranges.
Diaco pointed out that he had played or coached in several beloved trophy games, like the Floyd of Rosedale between Minnesota and Iowa and the Keg of Nails between Cincinnati and Louisville.
This is not one of those. This is bad. This is why:
- UConn and UCF are not close. They're 1,214 miles apart, per Google Maps.
- UConn and UCF have no history. They have played twice, each in the last two years.
- UConn and UCF is not a particularly good matchup, because neither team has won very many games since moving to the American.
- Only one team actually wants the rivalry trophy, which is a damn good sign it is not a rivalry
- This trophy was made by the same people who make Employee of the Month signs.
- "Civil Conflict" doesn't mean anything. It could mean "courteous fighting," which is a bad name for anything, or it could be an alternate of Civil War. I'm guessing they didn't say Civil War because Oregon and Oregon State already do that. I guess they're going for a "one team is from the North and one team is from the South" thing, so I guess the best way I could describe this trophy's name is "an offhand appropriation of a major American conflict for a bad rivalry game between two teams from states that kinda contributed to that conflict."
- This just seems like a obvious play for a school without a natural geographic rival to get someone -- something, someone, anyone, ANYONE ANYBODY PLEASE -- to notice them. I guess UConn figured its best bet was to pick a team it had beaten, in hopes of making it competitive. The thing is, UCF already has a natural rival in USF. Pick someone who will actually care!
- It's bad.
At a media day this summer, The UConn Blog asked incoming UCF coach Scott Frost about this remarkable and not entirely real trophy.
Frost was very diplomatic, while also clearly not enthusiastic.
"I heard about that yesterday. I wasn't a part of that," Frost said. We'll see where it goes." He allowed, ""We'll see if the thing builds," which is charitable of him.
And then, after Frost's team beat UConn in 2016:
UCF players and coaches leaving the field without the Civil ConFLiCT trophy.— Neill Ostrout (@NeillOstrout) October 22, 2016
Credit to Frost, again, for being nice about this. But he clearly does not care about it.
Just make sure you don't tell Diaco that it doesn't matter.