The race for the 2013 BIG EAST football title will begin Sept. 7 and will culminate in four games as part of Championship Week as the league’s 10 schools battle for the league crown and Bowl Championship Series berth.
The complete 40-game schedule includes 40 conference games and a nonleague slate of 40 games. Fifteen of the nonleague games are against conferences or teams with automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series.
The 2013 season begins for BIG EAST teams Thursday, Aug. 29, and continues through three games that will be part of Championship Saturday Dec. 7 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The 40-game conference schedule will kicks off Sept. 7, when Houston plays its first league game at Temple.
Highlights of the 2013 schedule include another intriguing series of Thursday and Friday night games that will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 beginning with Rutgers at Louisville Thursday, Oct. 10 and Temple at Cincinnati Friday, Oct. 11. The BIG EAST will have a regular Friday appearance on ESPN or ESPN2, with five league games appearing on four Fridays between Oct. 11 and Nov. 29.
The Championship Week matchups begin with Louisville at Cincinnati Thursday, Dec. 5, in a battle of teams that finished in the top 25 of the final USA Today coaches poll last year. The three Saturday games Dec. 7 include UCF at SMU, Memphis at Connecticut and USF at Rutgers. The BIG EAST’s automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series has been decided in the last week of the season in each of the past four years.
Three of the nonconference games will feature opponents ranked in the top 10 of the final 2012 national polls – Temple at No. 4/3 Notre Dame Aug. 31, SMU at No. 5/5 Texas A&M Sept. 21 and No. 8/7 South Carolina at UCF Sept. 28.
Since 2006, the BIG EAST ranks third among all Bowl Subdivision conferences in nonleague winning percentage (.701), behind only the SEC (.815) and Big 12 (.741). BIG EAST teams have gone 8-7 all-time in Bowl Championship Series games, including wins in each of the past two seasons. In the BCS era (since 1998), the BIG EAST has amassed the best bowl record of any conference, with a 46-29 record in the postseason.
2013 BIG EAST Football Schedule Notes
The 2013 schedule will include 40 games, with 40 BIG EAST dates and 40 nonleague games – all three totals are the highest in league history. The nonleague dates include 31 games against Bowl Subdivision (I-A) programs and nine against Championship Subdivision (I-AA) opponents. Fifteen of the 31 Bowl Subdivision games are against conferences or teams with automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series.
The BIG EAST’s football alignment for 2013 includes UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, Rutgers, SMU, USF and Temple. Each team will play eight conference games and four nonconference games.
The most-represented opposing conferences on the composite schedule are the Big Ten, Conference USA and the Mid-American, with five matchups each. There are four games against the SEC, three against the ACC, two against the Big 12 and Sun Belt and one against the Mountain West. There are four games against independents – one each against Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Army and Idaho. The only Bowl Subdivision conference not represented on the schedule is the Pac-12.