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UCF is Further Behind In Scheduling Than Any Team in the Top Seven Conferences

But the good news is there’s still plenty of opportunity to catch up.

UCF Helmet Derek Warden

When I get worried about something, I look at the data. Usually it tells me I shouldn’t be worried about that thing, or maybe a bit worried, but it’ll be fine in the long run.

After yesterday’s post where I said I thought the UCF Knights should consider re-examining its home-and-home-or-bust scheduling philosophy, I decided to delve into the data to see exactly where UCF stands among P6 teams in terms of how much of its future schedule it has yet to build out, and who might be available in the coming years.

The results were a bit concerning.

Here’s what I did:

  • First, I looked at every P6 team’s future schedules on FBSchedules.com, plus I added in Notre Dame, Army and BYU, since they are notable independents, and the Mountain West just for comparison’s sake and because I felt like it. That’s 91 teams.
  • I recorded how many open non-conference slots each team had for the decade of 2020-2029 (2019 is all filled out already for everyone).
  • I then calculated what percentage of non-conference schedule inventory each team had filled out through that ten-year period to see where everyone stacked up.

Here’s the data:

P6 Non-Conference Schedule Slots Available through 2029

Team Conference Total 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 % Locked In
Team Conference Total 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 % Locked In
UCF AAC 33 2 3 2 4 3 3 4 4 4 4 17.5%
Miami ACC 22 1 1 3 1 2 2 3 3 2 4 45.0%
Florida St. ACC 22 1 2 3 3 2 3 2 2 2 2 45.0%
Duke ACC 13 0 0 1 2 2 0 1 2 2 3 67.5%
North Carolina ACC 13 0* 0 0 0 0* 0* 2 4 3 4 67.5%
NC State ACC 11 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 3 1 3 72.5%
Clemson ACC 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 85.0%
Georgia Tech ACC 15 0* 1 1* 2 2 1 2 2 3 2 62.5%
Boston College ACC 17 0 1 0 3 2 2 2 2 2 3 57.5%
Louisville ACC 19 0 0* 0* 1 2 2 2 4 4 4 52.5%
Wake Forest ACC 9 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 2 3 77.5%
Virginia Tech ACC 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 97.5%
Virginia ACC 19 0 0 1 1 1 3 3 3 4 3 52.5%
Pitt ACC 19 0 1 0 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 52.5%
Syracuse ACC 20 0 0 2 1 2 2 2 4 4 3 50.0%
Alabama SEC 21 0 0 1 1 4 3 3 3 3 3 47.5%
Arkansas SEC 26 2 0 2 2 2 3 4 3 4 4 35.0%
Auburn SEC 23 0 0 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 42.5%
LSU SEC 22 0 0 3 3 1 3 3 3 3 3 45.0%
Miss. St. SEC 13 0 0 1 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 67.5%
Ole Miss SEC 19 0 0 0 1 2 1 3 4 4 4 52.5%
Texas A&M SEC 25 0 1 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 37.5%
Florida SEC 20 0 1 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 2 50.0%
Georgia SEC 14 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 65.0%
Kentucky SEC 20 0 0 0 1 1 4 2 4 4 4 50.0%
Missouri SEC 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 70.0%
South Carolina SEC 19 1 1 0 2 2 2 3 2 3 3 52.5%
Tennessee SEC 26 0 1 1 3 3 4 3 3 4 4 35.0%
Vanderbilt SEC 16 0 0 1 1 2 1 2 3 3 3 60.0%
Baylor Big 12* 12 0 1 0 0 2 2 2 2 1 2 60.0%
Iowa St. Big 12* 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2 2 70.0%
Kansas Big 12* 17 0 0 1 1 2 3 3 2 2 3 43.3%
Kansas St. Big 12* 11 0 0 0 1 1 2 1 2 2 2 63.3%
Oklahoma Big 12* 11 0 0 1 2 0 1 2 2 1 2 63.3%
Oklahoma St. Big 12* 9 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 70.0%
TCU Big 12* 20 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 33.3%
Texas Big 12* 7 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 76.7%
Texas Tech Big 12* 7 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 76.7%
West Virginia Big 12* 11 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 3 3 63.3%
Illinois B1G* 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 80.0%
Indiana B1G* 12 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 3 3 60.0%
Iowa B1G* 14 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 3 3 3 53.3%
Maryland B1G* 13 0 1 1 0 1 3 2 1 2 2 56.7%
Michigan B1G* 16 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 46.7%
Michigan St. B1G* 12 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 2 2 2 60.0%
Minnesota B1G* 13 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 2 3 3 56.7%
Wisconsin B1G* 9 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 3 2 70.0%
Rutgers B1G* 16 0 0 1 0 2 3 2 2 3 3 46.7%
Purdue B1G* 7 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 1 2 76.7%
Penn State B1G* 11 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 1 3 3 63.3%
Ohio State B1G* 15 0 0 1 2 2 1 1 2 3 3 50.0%
Northwestern B1G* 13 0 1 0 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 56.7%
Nebraska B1G* 9 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 1 2 70.0%
Arizona Pac-12* 7 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 76.7%
Arizona St. Pac-12* 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 86.7%
Cal Pac-12* 13 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 3 3 3 56.7%
Colorado Pac-12* 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 93.3%
Oregon Pac-12* 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 2 2 76.7%
Oregon St. Pac-12* 12 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 3 3 60.0%
Stanford Pac-12* 11 0 0 1 1 0 1 3 1 2 2 63.3%
UCLA Pac-12* 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 80.0%
USC Pac-12* 16 0 1 0 1 2 1 2 3 3 3 46.7%
Utah Pac-12* 12 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 3 3 60.0%
Washington Pac-12* 17 0 0 2 1 2 2 3 2 2 3 43.3%
Washington St. Pac-12* 8 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 73.3%
Notre Dame Ind. 28 0 0 3 2 3 2 3 5 4 6 76.7%
BYU Ind. 62 0 0 1 3 5 8 10 11 12 12 48.3%
Army Ind. 47 1 0 3 5 3 5 5 8 7 10 60.8%
USF AAC 17 1 0 1 3 1 0 3 1 3 4 57.5%
Cincinnati AAC 14 0 0 2 2 0 0 1 3 3 3 65.0%
ECU AAC 11 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 3 0 4 72.5%
Houston AAC 15 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 2 4 4 62.5%
Memphis AAC 22 0 0 0 1 3 2 4 4 4 4 45.0%
Navy AAC 9 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 2 77.5%
SMU AAC 27 1 1 2 2 2 3 4 4 4 4 32.5%
Temple AAC 18 0 1 1 1 3 2 1 3 2 4 55.0%
Tulane AAC 6 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 85.0%
Tulsa AAC 20 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 2 3 50.0%
UConn AAC 27 0 0 2 2 3 4 4 4 4 4 32.5%
Boise State MWC 10 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 3 4 75.0%
Air Force MWC 15 1 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 62.5%
Colorado St. MWC 16 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 3 3 4 60.0%
Fresno St. MWC 26 0 2 1 2 2 3 4 4 4 4 35.0%
Hawai'i MWC 16 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 3 4 4 60.0%
Nevada MWC 29 0 0 2 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 27.5%
Wyoming MWC 17 0 0 0 0 1 3 2 3 4 4 57.5%
New Mexico MWC 19 0 0 1 1 3 2 3 3 3 3 52.5%
San Diego St. MWC 15 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 2 3 4 62.5%
San Jose St. MWC 24 0 0 1 2 4 1 4 4 4 4 40.0%
UNLV MWC 23 0 2 3 1 1 2 3 4 3 4 42.5%
Utah State MWC 29 0 0 2 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 27.5%
NOTE: Pac-12, B1G and Big 12 teams play only 3 non-conference games Data Source: FBSchedules.com

NOTE: The B1G, Pac-12 and Big 12 only play three non-conference games per year due to their 9-game conference schedules, so their inventory is limited. Everyone else plays four. Also, I counted Notre Dame, BYU and Army as having 12 non-conference games each season because as independents, that’s basically what they do.

I’m also not accounting for any potential conference changes between now and 2029 because, well, I can’t.

So here are some interesting conclusions:

UCF is WAY behind the rest of the P6 in future scheduling.

UCF has only 17.5% (7 of 40) of its non-conference games between 2020-2029 filled out. That is by far the least among the P6. The next-closest are Nevada and Utah State (27.5% each, followed by SMU and UConn with almost twice as many dates locked in as UCF (32.5% each). TCU is the closest P5 team at 33.3%.

In terms of total inventory, UCF has more games to fill out (33) than every team that plays in a conference, eclipsed only by independents Army (47) and BYU (62). In fact, UCF has more games left to fill out in that time period than Notre Dame does (28), and Notre Dame is an independent (though they get a bit of help from the ACC).

UCF is one of only ten teams in the top seven conferences that has open dates in 2020.

And the Knights are one of only three teams that have two dates in 2020 left to fill (TCU and Arkansas are the others).

The others with one 2020 slot available are South Carolina in the SEC (!), Florida State (!) and Miami (!) in the ACC, the MWC’s Air Force, independent Army, and SMU and South Florida in the AAC.

Virginia Tech likes to plan ahead

They have exactly one remaining non-conference slot to fill between now and 2029, and it’s in 2025.

There are still plenty of P5 opponents UCF can engage with, but the numbers are starting to dwindle

Here’s how many P5/Indy/MWC teams have at least one slot available from 2020-2024:

  • 2020: 7
  • 2021: 19
  • 2022: 37
  • 2023: 47
  • 2024: 56

There’s no rhyme or reason to why certain teams have their schedule filled out and others don’t.

Five P6 schools have 80% of their schedule inventory for the 2020s locked in: Colorado, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Illinois, UCLA and Tulane (and interestingly, no MWC teams).

Ten have 40% or less locked in: UCF, UConn, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Utah State, San Jose State, Nevada and Fresno State.

There are bluebloods and also-rans in both piles.

The American is having a bit of trouble, but not as much as you think.

Eight of the 12 teams in The American (67%) have 50% or more of their next decade’s schedule filled out.

By comparison, here are the number of teams in each of the P5 leagues that have 50% or more of their non-conference slates scheduled:

  • SEC: 8/14 (57%)
  • ACC: 12/14 (86%)
  • B1G: 12/14 (86%)
  • Big 12: 8/10 (80%)
  • Pac-12: 10/12 (83%)
  • MWC: 7/12 (58%)

Now granted, this isn’t the most thorough evaluation. For example, I didn’t break down how many P5 teams are playing G5s, other P5s, FCS teams and so on. But this was pretty eye-opening, especially from a UCF perspective.

Like I said in my previous column, I have no reason to doubt Danny White is doing all he can to arrange the best possible schedule for UCF in the coming years. I would not be surprised if he drops a massive schedule bomb on all of us sometime soon.

But please, Danny, hurry up.