AAC Releases Fall 2021 Football Schedule

February 18, 2021 by theamerican.org

IRVING, Texas – Commissioner Mike Aresco has announced the American Athletic Conference’s 88-game football schedule for the 2021 season, including the 44-game conference schedule.

Each of the 11 teams in The American will once again play eight conference games in 2021. The top two teams in the final single-division regular-season standings will meet Dec. 4 in the seventh American Athletic Conference Football Championship.

The 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).

A total of 16 of The American’s 44 nonconference games will be against Power 6 opponents or Notre Dame. Teams from The American will play four games each against opponents from the SEC and Big 12, three each from the ACC and Big Ten and two against Notre Dame.

Teams in The American will have five visits from power conference teams to their home stadiums – Oklahoma at Tulane, Florida at USF, South Carolina at East Carolina, Mississippi State at Memphis and Boston College at Temple. Additionally, Houston will face Texas Tech in the Texas Kickoff at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Some highlights of the 2021 schedule include: 

  • A minimum of 40 conference-controlled regular-season games on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including at least 20 games on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
  • A compelling slate of Thursday and Friday prime time conference games on ESPN Networks, beginning with Houston at Tulsa on Friday. Oct. 1.
  • A series of games available exclusively on ESPN+, the leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service which has grown to more than 12 million subscribers in less than three years.
  • The annual War on I-4 matchup between USF and UCF will once again be showcased on an ESPN network the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 26). A second Black Friday contest will be added when either the Cincinnati-East Carolina, Tulane-Memphis or Tulsa-SMU game is selected for the final Friday of the regular season. That selection will be made by Oct. 4.
  • Navy’s Sept. 11 game against Air Force, which will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, will be televised on CBS. The Dec. 11 Army-Navy game will also air on CBS.
  • The American Athletic Conference Football Championship, which has been broadcast on ABC in each of the last six years, is scheduled for Dec. 4 and will be televised once again on ABC.

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).

Kickoff times and television designations for the first three weeks of the season, as well as the season-long weeknight games, will be finalized by June 1. The rest of the schedule will fall under the customary 12-day and six-day selection processes.

Week 1

Thursday, September 2
East Carolina vs. Appalachian State (in Charlotte, NC)
USF at NC State
UC Davis at Tulsa

Saturday, September 4 

Boise State at UCF (could be Thursday or Friday)
Texas Tech vs. Houston (in Houston, TX)
Oklahoma at Tulane
Marshall at Navy
Miami University at Cincinnati
Temple at Rutgers
Nicholls at Memphis
Abilene Christian at SMU

Week 2

Saturday, September 11
Air Force at Navy
South Carolina at East Carolina
Florida at USF
Tulsa at Oklahoma State
Houston at Rice
North Texas at SMU
Memphis at Arkansas State
Temple at Akron
Murray State at Cincinnati
Bethune-Cookman at UCF
Morgan State at Tulane

Week 3

Saturday, September 18
Cincinnati at Indiana
Mississippi State at Memphis
Tulane at Ole Miss
East Carolina at Marshall
Tulsa at Ohio State
Boston College at Temple
SMU at Louisiana Tech
Florida A&M at USF
Grambling State at Houston

Week 4

Friday, September 24

Saturday, September 25
Navy at Houston
UAB at Tulane
UTSA at Memphis
Arkansas State at Tulsa
Charleston Southern at East Carolina
Wagner at Temple

Week 5

Friday, October 1
Houston at Tulsa

Saturday, October 2
Cincinnati at Notre Dame
UCF at Navy
Memphis at Temple
Tulane at East Carolina

Week 6

Thursday, October 7
Houston at Tulane

Friday, October 8
Temple at Cincinnati

Saturday, October 9
Memphis at Tulsa
SMU at Navy
East Carolina at UCF

Week 7

Thursday, October 14
Navy at Memphis

Saturday, October 16
UCF at Cincinnati
Tulsa at USF

Week 8

Thursday, October 21
Tulane at SMU

Friday, October 22
Memphis at UCF

Saturday, October 23
Cincinnati at Navy
East Carolina at Houston
Temple at USF

Week 9

Friday, October 29
Navy at Tulsa

Saturday, October 30
SMU at Houston
Cincinnati at Tulane
UCF at Temple
USF at East Carolina

Week 10

Thursday, November 4
Temple at East Carolina

Saturday, November 6
Tulane at UCF
Navy at Notre Dame
Tulsa at Cincinnati
SMU at Memphis
Houston at USF

Week 11

Friday, November 12
Cincinnati at USF

Saturday, November 13
Tulsa at Tulane
Houston at Temple
East Carolina at Memphis

Week 12

Friday, November 19
Memphis at Houston

Saturday, November 20
SMU at Cincinnati
East Carolina at Navy
Temple at Tulsa
USF at Tulane
UConn at UCF

Week 13

Friday, November 26

Saturday, November 27
Tulane at Memphis
Cincinnati at East Carolina
Tulsa at SMU
Navy at Temple
Houston at UConn

AAC Football Championship Game

Saturday, December 4
AAC Football Championship Game

Saturday, December 11
Army vs Navy (in East Rutherford)