The UCF and USF athletic departments today announced the official establishment of the War On I-4 rivalry series, which will begin this week with competitions between the two schools’ volleyball and men’s soccer programs.
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 Orlando and Tampa Bay metropolitan areas, which form the fourth-largest media market in the nation, are connected by 100 short miles of Interstate 4 or I-4. The official recognition of the rivalry and the traditional name, first established by the fans, creates an annual series of scored competitions across multiple sports programs.
The Black & Gold and the Green & Gold will compete for year-long bragging rights with the winners in each of 14 sports scoring toward a final tally for each program. The winning university will take possession of a large trophy shaped like the iconic I-4 road sign, which will be displayed on the respective campus for the following year. The winner of the annual Thanksgiving weekend football clash will also receive a similarly shaped “War On I-4” trophy.
The first event is scheduled to take place Wednesday with a clash of the volleyball teams in Orlando. The men’s soccer teams will meet on Saturday in Orlando, as well.
UCF and USF will score head-to-head in 14 sports programs represented at both universities. Nine of those programs will compete head-to-head during the regular season. The programs that don’t compete directly against each other will determine a winner based on the best overall conference post-season performance of each team.
Winning teams can accrue up to six points toward the overall year-long, school total. The performances of both athletic programs in the annual NCAA Graduation Success Rate will be used as a tie-breaker, if necessary.
Total points will be tallied and announced throughout the year with progress available for viewing on the War on I-4 website (https://www.war-on-i4.com/). The overall winning school will be presented the War On I-4 trophy following completion of the last scored competition in the spring semester.
“The War on I-4 will serve as a fun and exciting way for USF’s students, alumni and fans to share their passion and enthusiasm for their school while providing our student-athletes with a college experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives,” said USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan.
“UCF’s teams, fans, students and alumni truly enjoy this rivalry,” UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White said. “Everyone involved looks forward to these matchups, so extending the rivalry to an official year-long competition should generate even more interest and excitement.”
Together, the metropolitan areas of Orlando and Tampa combine to create the fourth-largest television market in the nation, behind only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In addition, 54 percent of alumni from Florida colleges and universities residing in Central Florida are UCF or USF alumni.
The War On I-4 rivalry series scoring components will include head-to-head battles in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis. Points will be awarded per victory in sports with multiple meetings in a given season.
For the sports of cross country, golf, and track and field, which do not have head-to-head meetings, the program that records the best finish in each conference championship for those sports will receive points.