UCF released its 2012 football schedule today, one that may be the toughest in school history. The schedule includes back to back trips to Ohio, a five week stretch at home, and two long trips to the western fringes of the conference late in the season. This schedule has several storylines throughout the season that should make it a very interesting season for the Knights as they play their last season in Conference USA before departing for the Big East.
The season opens on August 30th as the Knights travel to Akron to play their old MAC foe on a Thursday night. UCF's first ever home game when they were part of the MAC was against Akron whose coach proclaimed they came down to Orlando to "show UCF what MAC football is all about." One half of football later, the scoreboard read UCF 50 Akron 3. This game will mark the return of Terry Bowden to the Division I-A coaching ranks as he now head up the Akron program. UCF could choose to stay in Ohio because nine days later, they travel down Interstate 71 to pay their first visit to the Big Horseshoe and play Ohio State on September 8th.
After back to back road games, the Knights come home to host FIU, a team that surprised them last season down in Miami and derailed what looked like a promising season for UCF into the 5-7 debacle that it was. That game begins the first of four consecutive home games as well. UCF has a bye on September 22nd, but will then play host to Missouri on September 29th. Missouri will be the first ever SEC school to visit Bright House Networks Stadium and the Tigers filled the spot on the schedule USF would not, instead offering to play the game at the Citrus Bowl and split the profits with UCF. Instead, USF will be traveling 3,000 miles west to play Nevada in a game their fans will find both tough to attend or find on television.
East Carolina comes to town on October 6th and this matchup is always a heated one as the two schools will be facing off for the last time as conference foes in a rivalry that has been back and forth throughout the past seven seasons. Southern Mississippi comes in on October 13th off a very successful season but also lost head coach Larry Fedora and top quarterback Austin Davis. UCF lost by one point in Hattiesburg last year failing to convert a two-point conversion on the game's final play and the Knights are just 1-6 against the Golden Eagles in school history.
The schedule then becomes a traveling road show for UCF as four of their final six games are on the road starting with a trip to Memphis on October 20th to take on a Tigers team they have had little trouble with. The following week, it is a final trip to Huntington, West Virginia to take on Marshall. UCF has never lost to Marshall while both schools have been in Conference USA winning seven straight decisions. UCF returns home on November 3rd to host SMU who throttled the Knights 38-17 last season in Dallas.
UCF's final two road games will pile up frequent flyer miles as UCF first heads out to El Paso on November 10th to play the UTEP Miners and then heads to Tulsa on November 17th to take on Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. The final regular season game falls on Thanksgiving weekend as UCF hosts the UAB Blazers.
Aug. 30 - at Akron (Thurs.)
Sept. 8 - at Ohio State
Sept. 15 - Florida International
Sept. 29 - Missouri
Oct. 6 - East Carolina
Oct. 13 - Southern Miss
Oct. 20 - at Memphis
Oct. 27 - at Marshall
Nov. 3 - SMU
Nov. 10 - at UTEP
Nov. 17 - at Tulsa
Nov. 24 - UAB