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Four Big Takeaways from UCF Football’s Future Big 12 Schedule

Big 12 Announced conference schedule model for 2024-2027

UCF Big 12 logo Photo: Derek Warden | @DampFrijoles

On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference announced the 16-team conference schedule matrix for 2024 through 2027. During the four years, all teams will play one another at least once, both home and away. Some matchups will occur over three seasons while others take place in all four. Matchups in 2024 that were also played in 2023 will not repeat at the same site.

Here’s UCF’s schedule over those four seasons:

Here are my four takeaways from the Knights' future schedule.

1. UCF Has No Permanent Rival

Cincinnati at UCF from 2022
Noah Goldberg

UCF has no permanent rival.

UCF will play Cincinnati and West Virginia in 2024 and 2025, but plays neither in 2026. Both teams come back on the schedule though in 2027.

The Knights host Houston in 2023 and 2025 but won’t play at Houston until 2026. The Big 12 only scheduled four rivalry matchups to be played every season.

For the four-year stretch from 2024-27, UCF will play either three or two games against. every Big 12 team:

3 games: Cincinnati, West Virginia, BYU, Colorado, Iowa State, Baylor

Two games: Arizona, Utah, Arizona State, TCU, Houston, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State

2. Coach Prime Comes to UCF In 2024

NCAA Football: Colorado at UCLA
Deion Sanders Could Return to Sunshine State when Colorado plays at UCF In 2024
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Knights will host Colorado in 2024, which means the likelihood of facing Deion Sanders, who is currently in his first season as the Buffaloes Head Coach. Sanders's arrival to Boulder has turned Colorado into a big draw as every Colorado home and away game has been a sellout and has produced some big TV viewership numbers.

Assuming Sanders stays, Colorado enters the Big 12 as the league’s biggest draw and will likely get the majority of the Big 12’s marquee TV slots. This would likely be the most requested UCF home game ticket of the 2024 season.

3. 2024’s Schedule Has a Pac-12 Flavor

NCAA Football: Oregon at Utah
UCF Will Host Utah in 2024.
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

In 2024, the Knights will play all four schools coming over from the Pac-12 in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State. UCF will host three of the four at home. Every UCF conference home opponent in 2024 plays in a non-eastern time zone.

In total, seven of the nine Big 12 conference games in 2024 are all new opponents for UCF. The Knights will play the three remaining Big 12 teams that they did not play this year in BYU, Iowa State and TCU.

Only West Virginia and Cincinnati return from the 2023 schedule.

4. UCF Will Have At Least One West Coast Trip Each Season

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Arizona State
UCF Will Travel to Arizona State in 2024
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Knights will get to play one west coast game from 2024-2027, starting with Arizona State in 2024.

Here is a breakdown of trips out west:

  • 2024: at Arizona State
  • 2025: at BYU
  • 2026: at Colorado
  • 2027: at Arizona and Utah

This may seem like a real annoyance but it’s good in three ways:

  1. UCF will get exposure to fans and recruits in new places that they haven’t before.
  2. UCF alumni and fans living out west will get a chance to see their team.
  3. UCF fans who decide to make the trip from the east will get to see some of the best venues in all of college football.

One thing we know for sure from this new scheduling model is that the Big 12 is a national conference, and UCF is a now key part of that.