Available 7 Days/Week       MON - FRI  8am - 7pm       SAT - SUN  10am – 6pm
Call us (754) 701-3300
Apply Now

‘Cross that bridge next year’: Malzahn focused on UCF camp, not realignment

In the past week, the future of college athletics changed in a quick and dramatic direction.

Pac-12 members Oregon and Washington announced their plans to join the Big Ten next year while Arizona, Utah and Arizona State finalized their move with Colorado to the Big 12 Conference.

For UCF coach Gus Malzahn, it was just another week of football practice.

“I’m coaching my team,” Malzahn said Sunday when asked about the recent additions to the Big 12. “You wake up and there’s something new.”

It’s unclear what the future holds for the remaining Pac-12 schools — Oregon State, Washington State, Stanford and Cal — and there are questions still be answered regarding how the Big 12 constructs its conference schedule.

Regardless, there will be at least three 16-team conferences beginning in 2024 — the SEC, the Big Ten and the Big 12. It’s possible there could be more movement but Malzahn will put it all on the back burner with the current season quickly approaching.

“We’ll worry about that next year, to be honest with you,” he said. “You all probably know more about that than me. I’m just worried about getting my team ready for this year. We’ll cross that bridge next year.”

UCF defines what it’ll take to succeed in 1st Big 12 season: ‘Bring your A game’

Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz, who worked with Malzahn in the past at Arkansas State and Auburn, shared comments over the weekend about realignment that caught national attention.

“I thought the transfer window … the portal was closed,” Drinkwitz told reporters Saturday, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Oh, that’s just for the student-athletes. The adults in the room get to do whatever they want, apparently.

“Look, my question is, did we count the cost? I’m not talking about a financial cost. I’m talking about: Did we count the cost for the student-athletes involved in this decision? What cost is it to those student-athletes? We’re talking about a football decision — they based it off football — but what about softball and baseball [teams] who have to travel cross country? Do we ask about the cost of them?”

For college athletes moving forward, the latest round of realignment means further travel across the country for competition. In the future, the Knights will have to travel more than 2,000 miles to Arizona and Salt Lake City to take on the Wildcats, the Sun Devils and the Utes in various sports.

Entering his final year of eligibility, UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee hasn’t thought much about the recent changes to the future landscape of college athletics but he’s happy to be a part of the Big 12.

“I haven’t gotten to pay a ton of attention to it because we’re in camp,” Plumlee said. “We’re head down all of time. You get super focused on one thing. I probably don’t have an opinion on it just yet and I want to see how it all plays out.

“I’m really glad we’re in the conference that we’re in. We’re in an unbelievable conference and we’re going to have a lot of really good teams.”

Malzahn complimented Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark for what he’s done to strengthen the conference while sharing a similar sentiment with Plumlee about league membership.

“We’ve got an outstanding commissioner,” Malzahn said. “He’s a visionary guy. He is cutting edge for the new age of college football. We’re just excited to be a part of this conference.”

Email Jason Beede at moc.lenitnesodnalro@edeebj or follow him on X, known as Twitter, at @therealBeede.

#fortlauderdale, #fortlauderdalemortgage, #fortlauderdalemortgagelender, #fortlauderdalemortgagerates #fortlauderdalemortgagebroker