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Looking at Every AAC Team’s Out of Conference Schedule Going Forward

Looking ahead on the AAC’s out of conference scheduling to see who has done the best job, and who is falling behind.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most debated topics amongst different AAC teams in the past few years has been scheduling. Danny White, UCF’s former athletic director, famously wouldn’t schedule two-for-one’s, while USF racked up Power Five opponents in 2-1s. It’s an important topic too. After all, on the off chance that any AAC team could make the Playoff, and they probably can’t, it’s vital they have a strong out of conference schedule.

So, let’s take a look at what each AAC team has scheduled for the future:

Cincinnati

30 OOC games scheduled through 2031

The Bearcats currently have 30 future out-of-conference games on the schedule, with at least one Power Five opponent through 2027. Through 2031, there are games scheduled, though they don’t have any out of conference games scheduled in 2030 yet.

In their Victory Bell rivalry series with Miami (OH) they’re already scheduled to play in every season through 2029. The Bearcats are currently on a 14-game winning streak against the RedHawks, and with just two more wins they can take the lead in the series. 11 out of these 30 games are against Power Five opponents, while two of the games are against FCS opponents. Some of the major out of conference matchups include against Notre Dame and Indiana in 2021, as well as a home and home series with Boise State.

ECU

31 OOC games scheduled through 2031

There aren’t any questions about who the Pirates will be playing through 2024, as they don’t have a single out of conference game to fill in the next four seasons. They will also play a P5 opponent through 2023, before taking a break from the P5 in 2024, and starting another streak of four straight seasons playing P5 opponents.

For the most part, you can tell that there is a patter with ECU liking to schedule opponents from the Carolinas and into the Virginia area. This is likely to cut down the cost of travel and build fan interest. Eight of ECU’s future opponents come from the P5, with the Pirates preferring to schedule one per season, while series against Appalachian State, Marshall, and BYU should be exciting games. Four of their future opponents are FCS schools.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston

20 OOC games scheduled through 2028

The Cougars only gave 20 games scheduled in their out of conference slate going through 2028. Eight of those opponents come from the P5, while one is from the FCS. Houston also has to add more games as soon as 2023 to fill out their schedule.

Houston also takes a regional approach to scheduling, with at least two opponents from Texas through 2023. After that there aren’t fully filled in schedules, so expect more Texas opponents to be added. In the mix are home and home series with two Big 12 teams (Texas Tech and Kansas) and two PAC-12 opponents (Utah and Colorado). Add in a trip to UConn in 2021 for old times’ sake,

Memphis

25 OOC opponents through 2031

The Memphis Tigers have 23 games scheduled, with at least one game being scheduled in each season through 2031. Eight of the 25 scheduled games will be against P5 opponents and two of those games will be against FCS schools.

Seven of those games will be against Arkansas State, while another two are against Arkansas. Another way of saying that is that 36% of Memphis’ future opponents are from the state of Arkansas, with room to add more. The Tigers also have two home and home series with Mississippi State and another home and home with Missouri and Boise State respectfully on the schedule.

Navy

27 OOC games scheduled through 2028

No one has rigid a structure to their out of conference schedule as Navy. As of now, they don’t have any openings until 2024, and even then they only have one opening per season. With that being said, and assuming you count Notre Dame as a P5 program despite being Independent, Navy has eight P5 opponents. All eight of those being Notre Dame.

That’s the thing with Navy football, they play the other two military academies annually for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Meanwhile, they play Notre Dame annually as a part of a respectful rivalry that has been going on every year since 1927 (with the exception of last year’s pandemic shortened season). This leaves one game a year to schedule out of conference. As of now, Navy has a home and home with Marshall and FCS Delaware.

SMU

18 OOC games through 2029

SMU is another team who has plenty of room to fill in their future out of conference slate, as they only have 18 games scheduled through 2029. They don’t have any games in 2026 or 2027 at all. Eight of the 18 are against FBS opponents, including the Battle for the Iron Skillet with TCU scheduled through 2024. Presumably, they reach a deal to play beyond 2024 too.

Besides TCU, SMU has four P5 Games, with one against Maryland and three against Vanderbilt. They add three FCS games to the mix, as well as five meetings with North Texas continue that particular rivalry. Still, there are plenty of open spots for SMU to fill.

NCAA Football: Villanova at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Temple

28 OOC games through 2028

Temple’s out of conference schedule is packed through 2028, with only four open spots in the next eight seasons. 13 of those games come against P5 opponents, while they also have four FCS teams on the schedule. Typically, Temple schedules one FCS opponent per season, so it’s a safe bet they fill in the gaps to their later seasons with more FCS games.

Temple seems to like to schedule one or two P5 opponents a year, and a low G5 program like UMass or UConn. In fact, 25% of their games are against one of the two. Home and homes with Penn State and Oklahoma jump out, as does a chance to play Manny Diaz and Miami.

Tulane

33 OOC games through 2030

Tulane is absolutely loaded up on future out of conference games. In fact, they don’t have a free out of conference spot until 2027, and even then there’s only one free spot. The Green Wave are also playing a solid blend of southern teams, P5 opponents, and easier wins. 16 of those out of conference games come against P5 opponents, while only three are in the FCS.

Next year, Tulane is facing a brutal out of conference schedule. They’ll be hosting Oklahoma, going to Ole Miss, and bringing perennial C-USA power UAB to Yulman. Five of their P5 opponents are out of the SEC, while they’ll also be playing Southern Miss four times, in what is one of the most fun G5 rivalries.

Tulsa

33 OOC games through 2033

Tulsa has just as many out of conference games coming up as Tulane, but they spread those games out over a few more seasons than The Green Wave. The next three seasons are filled up for Tulsa, while they only have one open out of conference slot going through 2028, likely earmarked for a FCS school. 18 of those games come against P5 competition, to three games against FCS competition.

2021 won’t be an easy out of conference slate for Tulsa, as they travel to Oklahoma State and Ohio State, while hosting a tough Arkansas State team. Oklahoma State makes up nine of the Golden Hurricane’s future P5 games, while Oklahoma fills in another three spots. That’s 36% of their future out of conference games coming against in-state Big 12 opponents.

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Central Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

UCF

13 OOC games through 2027

Two things can be true. Yes, scheduling should be done fairly and G5 teams shouldn’t have to take 2-1s. That can also not be the reality of how college football is structured. Danny White stuck to his guns though, and now UCF is behind the 8-ball in scheduling out of conference games, and their options are dwindling fast. As of now, five of those 13 out of conference games are against P5 opponents and one is against a FCS school.

So, what does UCF actually have on the schedule? A home and home with Boise State is definitely exciting, as are home and homes with Louisville, North Carolina, and BYU. But, hey, at least the Civil ConFLiCT is back in 2021.

USF

32 OOC games through 2030

USF has made a point of arguing that you have to play the best to be the best, and they’re more than willing to take 2-1s. That’s helped them to load up an impressive future out of conference slate. 16 of their future out of conference games are against P5 teams, while five of their future opponents are in the FCS. Right now, the Bulls don’t have an open out of conference slot until 2028.

The Bulls have several traditional powers, like Alabama and Notre Dame on their future schedule. They also have six games against Florida and Miami, which is the envy of any G5 team in Florida.