An Orlando Sentinel column published yesterday included a statement from a UCF spokesperson claiming that the Knights were "hearing" that fellow in-state up-and-comer USF was moving to block UCF's potential invitation from the Big East. While there would obviously be a lot of incentives for the Bulls to maneuver to keep their Orlando neighbors off of the BCS gravy train (the brutal Florida recruiting battles foremost among them), the statement made clear that UCF wouldn't be real thrilled with their former annual rivals should their politicking keep them from a move to the college football's big(ger) leagues.
But according to a USF statement issued last night to AOL Fanhouse , USF president Judy Genshaft isn't concerned with UCF any more than she is any school who the Big East might be considering. They say:
"Judy has always been clear that she doesn't discuss Big East board votes in advance and in public -- and the Big East insists that its commissioner (John Marinatto) is the only spokesperson," USF vice president of communications Michael Hoad wrote in an e-mail to FanHouse. "There's no reason for her to announce support or opposition to any school in advance of meetings.In other words: if UCF is the best candidate for the Big East, USF will support it. If not, they won't. The interests of the Big East will outweigh the interests of the Bulls.
"Bottom line: USF itself has no 'position' on Big East expansion. When there's a decision, she'll vote just like everyone else. However, she is clear that she'll vote for the best interests of the Big East, not for any university."
Of course, USF and Genshaft will be free to make that distinction themselves, free to determine exactly how those interests are best served. If they feel that Northwest Washington State is a better option for Big East expansion (or, more to the point, Villanova or Memphis or some similar school) than UCF, there won't be anything stopping them.
So the statement doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. But it is a sign, nonetheless, that USF is taking the political talk seriously ... and that they won't appreciate being portrayed as the villains if the Big East ultimately decides to look someplace other than UCF.