To start, this topic is subjective. There’s no possible way for it to be a finite discussion. The old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder fits the topic of which college football programs possess the best facilities quite well.
One person may enjoy the design of a stadium and/or an indoor practice facility while another may not. For that reason, the topic today will stick with proximity over beauty. Later this week, that topic will come back to the table.
With that in mind, one prime theme stands out for UCF football as compared to USF, or even Notre Dame, when one actually walks to one aspect of the facilities to another. Convenience is important. The more time members of a college football program waste simply walking or driving to another spot on campus, that would be time lost to in preparing for the next game and season.
The UCF campus provides all the football facilities right there on the actual campus. In comparison, one of the prime rivals for UCF would be USF. The Tampa-based institution plays its home games at Raymond James Stadium, which is also the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. One problem.
From the USF campus, located on the northeast side of Tampa, the Bulls need to travel 11 miles just to reach Raymond James Stadium towards the middle of Tampa. There’s no true home field for the Bulls, and that’s been a source of contention for former coaches, players and fans.
On Dec. 15, 2016, Jeff Patterson of Tampa Bay’s News Channel 8 quoted former USF Head Coach Charlie Strong about the possibility of an on-campus facility. “One of the things we want to do is to get a stadium on campus, which is going to be really big, and that would be huge right there.”
Of course USF never placed those plans into action, and with the price of drywall, metal, and just about any building materials skyrocketing, an on-campus facility does not seem realistic for USF. Not to mention the issue of where USF placed the new facility. The Bulls are but one example of the issues that college programs can face.
Some programs need upgrades. Some programs need more space and/or more finances to build a stadium or new indoor practice field. Then there’s UCF, a program that already did what was necessary to make all of the key components of the football program accessible to everyone: players, coaches, staff, and fans.
The Bounce House is the name of the Knights’ football stadium, and it’s literally right next to Nicholson Fieldhouse, the 100 yard indoor turf practice facility. Additionally, there are outdoor practice fields next to the Bounce House as well.
With the Roth Athletics Center also located diagonally across a short walkway from the Bounce House, the football coaches and players have everything they need right there. It’s convenient every day of the year. Most college programs simply do not possess that luxury.
Notre Dame Provides a Prime Example
Yes, Notre Dame Stadium is located on the campus of Notre Dame. That’s good, but the players and everyone within the football program still need to walk further just to go from the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, where the coaches offices and many other aspects of the Notre Dame football program are located, to the house that Rockne built.
While that may seem miniscule, it’s really not. Every moment, every second counts. Winning football games is a 24 hour responsibility — for all members of a football program — so time is of the essence.
UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn wants to build the UCF football program into a national power. He and his entire football staff understand the gold mine that is UCF football. The facilities are already good, and rest assured there are thoughts from within the UCF football program for the facilities to improve even further.
The new era of UCF football is going to be like nothing UCF football fans have ever seen. With the facilities being good and all right next to one another, the Knights hold an advantage over local and national rivals.