Miami football future schedule could include Central Florida

ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 17: (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - OCTOBER 17: (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images) /

Future Miami football schedules could include Central Florida if new Knights head coach Gus Malzahn gets his way. In an interview with Andrea Adelson of ESPN, Malzahn mentioned that he wants Central Florida to play the three biggest Power Five schools in Florida; Florida, Florida State and Miami during his tenure.

Previous Central Florida athletic director Danny White would not schedule Florida, Florida State, or the Miami football programs unless they agreed to play a home and home with the Knights. The Gators, Seminoles and Hurricanes likely would request two home games against Central Florida with one game in Orlando.

The possibility also remains for the teams to play a home and home with the third game at a neutral site. Florida and Miami have often played each other at neutral sites with the most recent game between them at Camping World Stadium in Orlando to open the 2020 season. Malzahn has a strong connection to Miami.

Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee played for Malzahn in high school in Arkansas and coached under him at Arkansas State and in two different stints at Auburn. Malzahn hired by UCF earlier this year after being fired by Auburn following the 2020 season. Miami has some room for Auburn on their future schedules.

"“I know we definitely want to play Florida in the future, and I expect [coach] Dan [Mullen] probably wants to play us, too. [Florida State coach] Mike Norvell, we’re really close, we go way back. I know he’d probably want to play us, and we’ll try to play Miami, too. Before I leave out of here, I want to play them all.”"

If Miami was going to schedule Central Florida in the next few seasons, the Hurricanes have two openings on their non-conference schedule in 2022 and 2026-2028. Miami is likely leaving slots open to reschedule games against Temple and at Michigan State that were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 season.

Miami will host Central Florida’s archrival South Florida in 2025 and 2028 while traveling to Tampa to play the Bulls in 2027. Miami and South Florida have played six times including five seasons in a row from 2009-2013. Miami has won five of the six meetings with a sole 23-20 loss in 2010. Each team had three home games.

Miami and Central Florida have only played twice. The Hurricanes won 20-14 in the first meeting in 2008 and defeated the Knights 27-7 in Orlando a year later. Central Florida often boasted of being an elite program when White was the A.D. If they want to continue to develop their program they need to play Florida Power Five teams.

Next. Miami adds FAMU to 2024 and 2026 schedules. dark

If games against Miami, Florida and Florida State are going to happen, Central Florida is going to need to make some concessions to make those intra-state rivalry games happen. Miami playing Central Florida is good for the state and both programs. The reality is that UCF needs the game far more than the Miami football program.