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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Bob Diaco Fails To Keep His Cool As He Defends UConn's Manufactured Football Rivalry

Illustration for article titled Bob Diaco Fails To Keep His Cool As He Defends UConns Manufactured Football Rivalry

The Central Florida Knights beat the Connecticut Huskies Saturday in the college football rivalry game known as the Civil ConFLiCT, and earned the right to take home the trophy. UCF passed, instead leaving the prize on a bench. On Tuesday, UConn head coach Bob Diaco, who established the artificial enmity, essentially announced its death.


There’s a slim chance that you’re going to watch a 10-minute video related to a news item about the American Athletic Conference, but even skipping around The UConn Blog’s footage will let you watch a man slowly break:

A disclaimer from Diaco: The coach said that he doesn’t read any articles, good or bad, because he doesn’t have the time, but he does get “feedback.” He seemed aware that the national feedback regarding the Civil ConFLiCT was not positive.


Diaco explained how the rivalry came to be. He met with coaches from the AAC; the group tried to figure out how to spice up their less enticing matchups; and Diaco came up with a plan that involved excessive capital letters. He took credit—or blame—for creating the ConFLiCT, but said that he talked it over with the rest of the teams. If this is true, that means the Knights were willing to accept the rivalry; they just wouldn’t give a shit about it.

Diaco tried to spin the coverage into a positive. In his opinion, the Civil ConFLiCT could be considered a success, because of how much coverage it had received. Many people around the nation was talking about it, even if what they’re saying could be summed up as, Wow, what a perfect indictment of college football and its habit of shoving the most uninteresting of games down its fans’ throats with shamelessly brainstormed narratives for two programs you wouldn’t care about unless you went there or put money on them. Mission: accomplished.

At one point in Diaco’s eulogy, he pitched an idea that would definitely impress Michael Scott: college football on Nickelodeon.

It seemed like a fun thing for kids and young people and young men—it just seemed like a fun, intercollegiate piece to a game. But, apparently not. So, I’m good on it. It’s gone.

I got other ideas, too. Send me my agenda, they want to talk about networks, I got all kinds of ideas on networks. Right? Let’s target 6-year-olds to 16-year-olds. How about that? Eventually, they’re going to be 18 to 35. Let’s broadcast our games on Nickelodeon. Who owns that? Viacom? Let’s create some real intrigue. Let’s create some real followship. That’s all I was trying to do.


I feel guilty for ragging on Bob Diaco too much. Being told to gussy up an AAC football game between two programs with nothing in common is a tough task, and he tried to be creative. Maybe it’s because Diaco looks like Ryan Lochte with a marketing degree, but the video of his defense makes the situation funny. The rivalry as a whole was even funnier.

Diaco did have a point when he said that the Civil ConFLiCT generated more conversation than last season’s AAC Championship Game. (No need to look it up: Houston beat Temple for the title.) But was it the right kind of conversation?


H/t to William

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