A Florida representative is asking a commissioner of the Big 12 conference that the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida be considered for the Big 12 family.
Rep. Robert "Bobby O" Olszewski, (R), of West Orange County, wrote a letter to Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby asking that he keep the UCF Knights and the USF Bulls, “at the top of mind when your member institutions consider expansion in the Big 12 Conference.”
The letter noted that the “War on I-4” game, the big rival game between the two universities, was one of the top television rated games of the reason.
The Knights won the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Day in a hard-fought battle against No. 7 Auburn, which beat both Alabama and Georgia during the regular season.
The team became self-proclaimed “national champions” and celebrated with a parade at Disney World and a pep rally downtown at which the mayor presented the team with keys to the city.
USF had a 10-2 season with a win over Texas Tech at the Birmingham Bowl.
Read the letter below:
I hope the New Year is off to a great start for you and your family. Congratulations on the completion of another successful Big 12 football season as well as a strong and exciting performance by the Oklahoma Sooners in the College Football Playoff. I enjoyed working with you early in my career when I served at Florida Citrus Sports and the Butkus Award. I am reaching out to ask that you please keep both the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of South Florida (USF) at the top of mind when your member institutions consider expansion in the Big 12 Conference.
More than ever during this college football season, we saw how important television ratings are to bowl games, the conferences, and the College Football Playoff. With UCF and USF representing the greater Central Florida and Tampa Bay media markets, our annual "War on I-4" was one of the top television rated games this season en route to a 13 and 10 win season respectively for the UCF Knights and USF Bulls as well as both with top 25 final rankings. There is no question the passion and revenue their respective alumni bases across the country would bring to the Big 12 by having two conference members in Florida. As the Florida State Representative for the district that includes Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, there are no geographic areas in the world more vital to the overall success of the parent company of the College Football Playoff's media partner ESPN. In fact, Walt Disney World even hosted a championship parade for UCF at the Magic Kingdom celebrating their Peach Bowl victory.
As a proud alumnus of both UCF and USF, I thank you for keeping these two outstanding academic institutions in your sights as the state of Florida would be proud to become part of the Big 12 family. If there is anything that I can do to help facilitate any discussions for UCF and USF, or promote the greater Central Florida and Tampa Bay regions in our great state of Florida, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you again Commissioner Bowlsby for your time, as I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Rep. Robert "Bobby O" Olszewski, Ph.D.
Florida House District 44"
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