Three weeks ago, it was reported that the Atlantic Coast Conference would agree to conference-only competition, thereby wiping out the UCF Knights’ 2020 football games versus the North Carolina Tar Heels and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
But then no official announcement followed in the direct aftermath of that report. So, as unlikely as it was, mit was reportedaaaybe a shred of hope still remained for UCF to play both of those games?
Well, official word came down from the ACC this afternoon, and the answer is no.
The conference’s scheduling model calls for each team to play 10 games in conference and one game out of conference. In regards to UCF, here are the two most important points:
- The ACC won’t start playing games until the week of Sept. 7.
- All non-conference games must be played in the home state of the ACC team.
UCF’s season-opener versus the Tar Heels is scheduled to be played in Orlando on Sept. 4. But you can forget about that now because there are obviously multiple ways that sentence conflicts with the ACC’s model.
So what about facing Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Sept. 18? The initial thought, rightfully so, was that game will be discarded so the Yellow Jackets can face a much more familiar non-conference opponent: The Georgia Bulldogs on Nov. 28.
However, that rivalry might be in danger of vanishing in 2020, too, depending upon what the SEC decides to do with its schedule as early as Thursday:
NEWS: The #SEC is moving closer to a conference-only 10-game schedule, sources tell @SINow.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 29, 2020
ADs agreed on the matter Wednesday and presidents are expected to meet Thursday, though they may delay a decision until next week.
This is a fluid situation. https://t.co/er591whOF0
Assuming the SEC chooses to play only conference games, that would leave Georgia Tech with either UCF or Gardner-Webb as its non-con foe. The Knights are clearly the more attractive matchup, but imagine GT’s internal conversations when choosing between those two teams:
“We could either pick up an easy win against an FCS squad that hasn’t had a winning season in seven years OR we could risk losing at home to a team that our fans don’t really respect because they aren’t in a Power 5 Conference.
Georgia Tech is going to take the W.
So, while it’s not totally off the table yet, it’s unlikely the Knights will be playing Georgia Tech. Again.
UCF’s entire series with both UNC and Georgia Tech were wiped out by a combination of hurricanes and pandemics https://t.co/TO4Tv3mOuI— Christian Simmons (@ByCASimmons) July 9, 2020
But the SEC’s reported plan could open up avenues for the Knights to shoot for some high-profile replacement games. For instance, Florida State wouldn’t be able to play Florida; how about picking on UCF?! It’s a pipe dream, but in our current condition, can’t we all just dream?
For what it’s worth, you can count Miami out.
Blake James said UM's 1 non conference game will be UAB, Wagner or Temple. I asked if UAB is preference because geographically closest; he said not necessarily.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 29, 2020
North Carolina is out. Georgia Tech is almost definitely out, too. We really don’t know how or if UCF will fill those vacancies. But considering that the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC all know what their schedules look like, and the SEC is not too far behind, the ball will belong to the American Athletic Conference soon to create its own 2020 path.
Just in time for UCF’s training camp, which opens next week.