It was announced this afternoon that South Carolina will play Central Florida in a home and home series starting in 2013. The Gamecocks will travel to Orlando first in 2013 with the Knights coming to Columbia in 2015.
Its an interesting setup for USC as it's hard to get excited playing a team like UCF. No disrespect to the program but there is no advantage to playing this game. You win and its expected. You lose and the season could be over. Sure it looks good from a recruiting aspect as Carolina is heavily involved in the Florida hotbed of recruiting circles every year but it seems like that might be one of the few advantages. They made it seem like it would be a bit cheaper than a lower level school so that has to play a factor as well.
Here is the excerpt from The State:
Gamecocks heading to Florida
Written by JOSEPH PERSON
South Carolina is going to Orlando, but will not be stopping at Disney World or any of the other amusement parks in the theme-park mecca.
This will be a business trip for the Gamecocks, who will visit UCF in 2013 as part of a home-and-home football series with the Conference USA school.
USC will play the Knights on Sept. 28, 2013 at Bright House Networks Stadium, a 45,301-seat facility that replaced the Citrus Bowl as UCF's home in 2007. The Knights will return the game Sept. 26, 2015 in Columbia.
USC associate athletics director Charles Waddell said the home-and-home series with a team from a mid-level conference was attractive financially. Such teams now are commanding $1 million guarantees to travel to bigger schools for single games.
The Gamecocks will pay Navy a record $950,000 to come to Williams-Brice Stadium in 2011, and will dole out $900,000 to UAB to play in Columbia the following year.
USC will give UCF a $300,000 guarantee in 2015 to cover travel, hotel costs and other expenditures – the same payout the Gamecocks will receive for the 2013 game.
"It's a good regional matchup and you don't have to pay that $1 million to get someone in," Waddell said of the UCF series.
Waddell pointed to other factors for scheduling the Knights, who lost to USC 24-15 in 2005 in Steve Spurrier's first game with the Gamecocks. Waddell said Florida is one of USC's prime recruiting areas, and coaches can use the 2013 trip – the Gamecocks' only visit to the state that season – as a selling point to prospects from the state.
And then there is Spurrier's history in the state where he won a Heisman Trophy as a player and a national championship as a coach at Florida.
"To get Coach back down there other than in Gainesville had some appeal for the people there at Central (Florida)," said Waddell, who handles football scheduling. "Coach was OK with doing the game and it fit with what we were trying to do."
Asked if Spurrier would still be at USC in 2013, Waddell noted that Spurrier is under contract through 2014.
This is not the first time USC has scheduled a series with a Conference USA school under athletics director Eric Hyman. The Gamecocks have five upcoming games with East Carolina in a series that includes two games in Charlotte, two in Columbia and one in Greenville, N.C.
Waddell said the UAB game in 2012 should be finalized soon. The schools have agreed to play Sept. 15, 2012 to fill out the Gamecocks' nonconference schedule that season. USC will host East Carolina and Wofford and travel to Clemson in 2012.
Waddell said the rising guarantees for nonconference games are a concern, but will not send USC's athletics budget into the red.
"We are fortunate enough that we can pay a million dollars and not go in the hole. A lot of people don't have the ability to do that. So they have to do the home-and-home versus losing money," he said. "If you've got a 40,000, 50,000-seat stadium, you're going to be hard pressed to make money paying a guarantee of $1 million."
What do you think Gamecock fans? Are you excited? It would be a fun road trip that's for sure.