Following yesterday’s 37-29 win over UCF, UConn head coach Bob Diaco went out of his way to pump up a future rivalry between the two schools, who are separated by more than one-thousand miles.
During this afternoon’s conference call with the media to wrap-up yesterday’s game, Diaco expanded on that subject.
“What’s interesting is now that I’ve been in it for a little while here, in this conference, it’s an exciting conference and UCF becomes a conversation because they’re awesome, because I have such admiration and respect for them,” Diaco said. “Watching Coach O’Leary’s team and trying to prepare against them, you’re thinking what a contest this is going to be if we’re prepared. I know he’s been doing it for 11 years without change, so it’s not going to change in the future and I know where we want to go and where we are going to go, so I thought, what an awesome contest it would be to kind of create a rival.”
Diaco does know the challenges behind that.
“Obviously it takes two to tango, we’d need cooperation on their part, but to me that’s fun,” he said. “It spices things up and not in a negative way, but a positive way. I think it adds to the overall enjoyment for the fans and the universities and creates some spice and some pizzazz.”
Playing at Iowa and coaching at Notre Dame, the first year head coach has been around a number of ‘trophy’ games.
“At Iowa, we played for Floyd Rosedale,” he said. “It seemed like every week there was something that you could get, that we were playing for. We had a trophy versus Purdue, we had a Wisconsin deal, a Minnesota deal. Moving forward to Cincinnati even, they had the Keg of Nails, and the bell with the Miami (OH). Then Notre Dame, they play somebody for the Jeweled Shillelagh [USC], there’s some fun things like that. I think it’d be really awesome and maybe it’s just the conference creates it, I don’t know. So I thought, what a cool thing and out of respect really, to clarify, out of respect for Coach O’Leary and their team. I know they’re going to be awesome and it’d be fun to create something like that, a rivalry, some energy.”
Whether this takes hold remains to be seen, but at least Diaco is thinking outside the box to create something for the fans, as all the true rivals, have either left the conference or refuse to play on the gridiron.