On Tuesday, Central Florida and Conference USA jointly announced TV details and kickoff times for the 2011 football season. UCF's September 10 home game against Boston College will be an 8 PM kickoff and will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports.
That's already the fifth nationally televised game for the Eagles and the second prime time slot (after BC's Thursday night home tilt with Florida State).
While many fans are probably excited that a non-conference game against the likes of Central Florida is in prime time, I'm not so sure this is an advantageous time slot for the Eagles. Kindly cue Admiral Akbar.
For one thing, the Knights are no strangers to evening kickoffs. Conference USA has more flexibility in football scheduling with their TV contract with CBS College Sports and as a result, are able to schedule more prime time games than other conferences. This season alone, UCF will play at least eight games with a 6, 7 or 8 PM kickoff.
Last season, each of the Knight's first three home games were late starts, with UCF pasting South Dakota State (38-7) and UAB (42-7), and nearly crawling out of an early 21-point deficit against N.C. State.
Adding to my concern is playing in UCF's new on-campus stadium, Bright House Network Stadium. UCF's new stadium provides much more of a home-field advantage than when the Knights were playing cross-town at the dumpy Citrus Bowl. While the Knights didn't post a sell out in any of their games last season, I'm sure they'll get a good, raucous crowd for UCF's first real test of the season. And unfortunately, we've already established that Coach Spaz doesn't exactly have the greatest track record in road games as a head coach.
Finally, Central Florida is an up-and-coming college football program with a HUGE chip on its shoulder. Knights fans truly believe that their program deserves a call-up to one of the six big money, BCS conferences. This had led Orlando Sentinel beat writer Mike Bianchi to write headlines like "If the Big East were serious about football, UCF would already be invited." I'm sure UCF would like nothing more than to knock off an ACC opponent -- and former Big East member -- in one of their first games of the season to drive the point home.
On the plus side, the Eagles won't have to deal with 90+ degree temperatures playing at night in Orlando. So that's something, I guess.