USF and UCF take their rivalry up a notch with new trophy competition


South Florida and UCF first met in football in 2005, at which point a pretty natural rivalry was christened. From the earliest of days, some sportswriters dubbed the logical rivalry the “War on I-4,” and now that is the official name for the rivalry between the two schools.

Graphic via USF Athletics

Unlike the rivalry UCF has with UConn, the Knights and Bulls mutually agreed to form an actual trophy for a series of competitions between the schools, including the annual football game. The competition gets underway this weekend with athletic events in volleyball and men’s soccer and points will be awarded throughout the academic year in a variety of athletic competitions between the two schools. At the end of the year-long competition, a trophy will be awarded to the school with the most accumulated points and hold the bragging rights until losing control of the trophy.

One cannot read the press release for this new trophy competition though without feeling the schools are teaming up to make a sales pitch to a certain power conference in search of potential new members.

The “War on I-4” represents a long-standing and passionate rivalry between the fan bases of two of the nation’s largest and fastest growing universities. The Tampa Bay and Orlando metropolitan areas, which form the fourth largest media market in the nation, are connected by a 100 short miles of Florida Interstate I-4.

UCF and USF will play in football on November 26, the final game of the regular season for each. Six points in the War On I-4 standings will be on the line.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.