Thu, May 27, 2021
IRVING, Texas – The American Athletic Conference has announced a number of kickoff times and television designations for the 2021 football season
Thursday’s announcement includes the kickoff times for The American’s Thursday and Friday prime time games on ESPN networks. The prime time lineup begins Thursday, Sept. 2, as UCF hosts Boise State on ESPN in the debut of new UCF head coach Gus Malzahn, while East Carolina faces Appalachian State on ESPNU in the Duke’s Mayo Classic in Charlotte. Other national television games on Opening Night have Temple at Rutgers on the Big Ten Network and South Florida at NC State on the ACC Network.
The Week 1 schedule also includes three key nationally televised home games on Saturday, Sept. 4, as Tulane faces No. 6 Oklahoma at Yulman Stadim in New Orleans at noon ET on ABC; Houston faces Texas Tech in the Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN; and Navy hosts Conference USA East Division winner Marshall at 3:30 on CBS Sports Network.
The Week 2 lineup features five games on national television, including two on major broadcast networks. Navy will host Air Force in the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy series at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. South Florida welcomes No. 13 Florida to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for a noon kickoff on ABC. East Carolina will play its home opener at noon against South Carolina on ESPN2, while Tulsa visits No. 20 Oklahoma State on FS1 and Houston makes the short trip to face Rice on CBS Sports Network.
The Week 3 ledger has seven American Athletic Conference teams on national television, beginning with a Friday prime time game on ESPN as UCF visits Louisville. No. 8 Cincinnati will face No. 12 Indiana Saturday, Sept. 18, in Bloomington at noon (ABC or ESPN) in one of the most eagerly anticipated nonconference games of the season. An ESPN2 doubleheader between American Athletic Conference and SEC teams will have Memphis against Mississippi State at 4 p.m. ET, while Tulane visits Ole Miss for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff. Temple will host Boston College at noon on either ESPN2 or ESPNU, while Tulsa takes to the road for a compelling matchup against No. 2 Ohio State on FS1 and SMU is at Louisiana Tech on CBS Sports Network.
Fifteen intraconference games from The American have already been designated for national television, beginning with Houston at Tulsa Friday, Oct. 1 on ESPN. The Thursday-night slate of conference games on ESPN includes Houston at Tulane (Oct. 7), Navy at Memphis (Oct. 14), Tulane at SMU (Oct. 21) and South Florida at East Carolina (Oct. 28). The American’s Friday-night lineup continues with Temple at Cincinnati (Oct. 8), Memphis at UCF (Oct. 22), Navy at Tulsa (Oct. 29), Cincinnati at South Florida (6 p.m.) and Memphis at Houston (9 p.m., ESPN2).
The final week of the 2021 regular season will once again feature a Black Friday playing of the War on I-4 as UCF hosts South Florida Nov. 26 on either ABC or ESPN at either 3:30 or 7 p.m. ET. One of three games currently slotted for Saturday, Nov. 27 – Cincinnati at East Carolina, Tulane at Memphis or Tulsa at SMU, will move to the other Black Friday window in a selection that will be made by Oct. 4.
The American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game will once again air on ABC on Dec. 4, marking the seventh consecutive appearance for the game on that network. The regular season will be capped by the annual Army-Navy game, which will take its familiar time slot of 3 p.m. ET on CBS.
Most of the remaining start times and television designations for the 2021 season will be made on a weekly basis through the season as part of the conference’s 12-day selection process. The most up-to-date schedule, with television designations, is available at TheAmerican.org.
The American’s nonconference schedule features five nonconference games against teams ranked in the top 10 of the final Associated Press poll of 2020 and eight games against top-25 opponents (No. 2 Ohio State, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 11 BYU, No. 12 Indiana, No. 13 Florida, No. 20 Oklahoma State).
The American is coming off another banner season in 2020 as the league produced another top-10 team and New Year’s Six bowl participant as Cincinnati finished No. 8 in the final rankings following the Bearcats’ appearance in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It marked the fifth time in seven seasons of the College Football Playoff era that The American was represented in the New Year’s Six and the fourth top-10 finish by an American Athletic Conference team in the league’s eight seasons. The conference also had the winners of the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player (Tulsa LB Zaven Collins) and the Campbell Trophy as college football’s top scholar-athlete (Memphis QB Brady White).
COURTESY THE AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE