We at Underdog Dynasty are huge fans of the Civil Conflict that Bob Diaco unilaterally declared with UCF. A coach proclaiming a rivalry after two games, for geographically distant fan bases, and with no cultural stakes, is an absolute absurdity.
And we love absurdity. Especially when it creates interest in a game where little enthusiasm excited before. Give credit to Diaco who has succeeded in making the UCF-UConn game a "thing" (even if we can't call it a rivalry).
It's not surprising that the Civil Conflict came up at AAC Media Day in what was the most entertaining exchange in the East division coaches Q&A. Asked about the Civil Conflict, Diaco started by praising UCF, calling it "one of the best football programs in America" and asking, "Who better for us to emulate ourselves after [...] than the best?"
Diaco then acknowledged criticism that the "Civil Conflict" name and the trophy had missed the boat (including by listing only the most recent game -- a UConn victory -- on the trophy's plaque). But what's clear is that what the game is called and what the trophy is are just window dressing to Diaco, who joked, "We'll let the most offended person design the trophy." Diaco even threw out an alternative name for the UCF-UConn game: "The ConFLiCT."
Uh, maybe we should stick with "Civil Conflict."
George O'Leary explained that he understood what Diaco was trying to do in declaring the Civil Conflict. And he gamely threw out a few barbs, saying, "A trophy with a clock on it, I really like. I don't have one of them" and telling Diaco he should "Make sure it is on the plane."
All of this is great for a nascent conference (which has had a different membership every year of its existence) looking to build its history. We think Diaco's comments from some time ago are apt:
If you embrace it, you embrace it. If you don't, you don't. There was nothing before, so if you don't embrace it there would still be nothing. And if you do, even a little bit, it's more energetic and exciting.