In its 2018 football schedule, UCF received an unofficial bonus from the American Athletic Conference after achieving perfection last season: The Knights will avoid playing cold weather games up north during November.
UCF kicks off the season against its northern-most opponent, UConn, on the road on Thursday, Aug. 30. Even sweeter, the Knights will enjoy the entire month of November competing in the state of Florida — ending the regular season against rival USF in Tampa on Black Friday.
The advantageous schedule sets first-year coach Josh Heupel up for success following a challenging recruiting season, during which the new staff had to juggle the early recruiting period just two weeks after Heupel was announced as Scott Frost’s replacement.
This 2018 schedule also reintroduces a few more non-Saturday games after 2017 saw a more traditional schedule, save the Knights’ Thursday season opener against FIU and Black Friday regular season finale against USF.
The Knights have four non-Saturday games, including a Friday contest on Sep. 21 against Florida Atlantic, where former UCF running back and current FAU running backs coach Kevin Smith molded Devin Singletary into the Owls’ first All-American last season.
ESPN will also broadcast UCF’s home game against Temple on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The Knights have just one back-to-back road stand in October at Memphis (Oct. 13) and East Carolina (Oct. 20), but they’ll get to rest with a bye the following weekend before a three-game home-stand.
UCF completed the program’s first undefeated season in 2017, going 13-0 with a signature win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
The return of quarterback McKenzie Milton and a slew of skill players — including receivers Gabe Davis and Otis Anderson Jr. and running back Adrian Killins — coupled with scheduling advantages, put the Knights on track for another successful year.
Here is the full 2018 UCF schedule:
Thu., Aug. 30, at UConn *
Sat., Sept. 8, South Carolina State
Sat., Sept. 15, at North Carolina
Fri., Sept. 21, Florida Atlantic
Sat., Sept. 29, Pitt
Sat., Oct. 6, SMU *
Sat., Oct. 13, at Memphis *
Sat., Oct. 20, at ECU *
Thu., Nov. 1, Temple * (ESPN)
Sat., Nov. 10, Navy *
Sat., Nov. 17, Cincinnati *
Fri., Nov. 23, at USF *
* American Athletic Conference game