Matt Murschel and Paul Tenorio break down UCF football 2013 schedule their first season in the Big East.
When the Big East conference schedule was announced on Wednesday, UCF learned it would be playing the longest regular season in school history, a stretch of 101 days, including three bye weeks, between the season opener on Thursday, Aug. 29 against Akron and the final game of the season, Dec. 7 at SMU.
The Knights will open play in their new conference by traveling to a familiar opponent, Memphis, on Oct. 5. After a bye, they will travel to play at Louisville on Friday, Oct. 18, a game to be aired on ESPN or ESPN2, before hosting UConn on Oct. 26. Following its final bye week, UCF will host Houston on Nov. 9 on homecoming, travel to Temple on Nov. 16 and host Rutgers in a nationally televised game on Nov. 21.
The Knights close the season on the road against SMU on Dec. 7.
UCF, which will play two Thursday and two Friday night games, has played four weekday games in a season before, in 2011. Kickoff times for the games have not yet been determined.
The schedule, perhaps the most challenging in program history, falls favorably for UCF.
Bye weeks precede two of the toughest games of the year: vs. South Carolina on Sept. 28 and at Louisville on Oct. 18. UCF also closes the year with four of the final six games of the season at home.
In non-conference play, the Knights open play against Akron on a Thursday night, a decision that drew the ire of some fans, and then travel to FIU on Sept. 7. UCF will then head up to face Penn State in Happy Valley on Sept. 14. They finish the non-conference slate at home against Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks, featuring college football’s top defensive player, Jadeveon Clowney.
The South Carolina game will be Family Weekend.
UCF is one of just 19 FBS schools in the country that will not play an FCS opponent in 2013.
The Knights will look to follow a successful 2012 campaign in which they went 10-4, advancing to the C-USA championship game, where they lost to Tulsa, but ending the year with a win in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl over Ball State.
UCF is also waiting a decision in its appeal to the NCAA regarding a one-year postseason ban. Should they lose that appeal, the program would be ineligible for a bowl game, which would eliminate the opportunity to play in a BCS bowl if the Knights finish atop the conference in its final year with automatic qualifier status.
UCF’s full 2013 schedule:
Thursday, Aug. 29 – Akron
Saturday, Sept. 7 – at FIU
Saturday, Sept. 14 – at Penn State
Saturday, Sept. 21 - BYE