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Three takeaways from Colorado's 2024 Big 12 schedule reveal

Jake Schwanitz Avatar
January 30, 2024

Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes 2024 schedule is officially set. The Big 12 released its 2024 conference schedule on Tuesday morning as the conference is set to expand to 16 teams and span four American time zones this season.

After spending the last 13 years out west in the Pac-12, Colorado has reunited with fellow Big 12 founding members Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor. Utah, Arizona and Arizona State were able to escape with Colorado before the Pac-12’s inevitable collapse and have found safety from conference realignment in the Big 12 alongside 2023 newcomers BYU, Cincinnati, UCF and Houston.

College football has changed dramatically over the last few years and as we lay the Pac-12 as we know it to rest, Colorado’s 2024 Big 12 schedule features a handful of quirks and reminders of the past. Here are three takeaways from Colorado’s 2024 Big 12 schedule release.

Colorado will play in the Eastern time zone for the first time since 2016

Oct 28, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights head coach Gus Malzahn and team prepare to take the field against the West Virginia Mountaineers at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Buffs kicked off in the Eastern time zone was on September 17th, 2016 against the Michigan Wolverines. Colorado gave the #4 ranked Wolverines a scare jumping out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter but would only score seven more points as the Wolverines came back to win 45-28. CU went on to have their first 10-win season since 2001 despite the early season loss. Going one step further, when Coach Prime and the Buffs kickoff against UCF in Orlando, it will be Colorado’s first game on the East Coast since their 41-38 road victory over UMass in 2014.

Colorado’s Week 5 showdown against Guz Malzahn’s UCF Knights in Orlando will be packed with storylines. The first chapter of the Battle of Black and Gold will be written. Coach Prime returns to his home state and will have a chance to showcase his program to potential recruits given the Florida to Colorado recruiting pipeline. UCF took a step back last season going 6-7 after hitting nine wins in each of Malzahn’s first two seasons at the helm. Despite that, the Knights have established one of the strongest home-field advantages in the country over the last seven seasons. UCF is 39-6 when playing at home since 2017 and is 16-4 under Malzahn at the “Bounce House”.

Two bye weeks for the first time since 2019

The Buffs and the Big 12 aren’t the only beneficiaries of the double bye week this upcoming season, every FBS team will have two byes in 2024. NCAA Bylaw 17.11.4 states, “An institution shall not play its first contest (game or scrimmage) with outside competition in football prior to the Thursday preceding Labor Day.” Combine that bylaw with an early Labor Day on September 2nd and every team will get two weeks during the season to heal and recover. This combination will also take effect in 2025 as well.

For the Buffs, their bye weeks will be Week 6 and Week 10. Colorado will be coming off their first conference road game in Orlando against UCF when they have their first bye week. Their second bye week will follow their Week 9 home matchup with the Cincinnati Bearcats. Cincinnati finished last in the Big 12 last year with a 1-8 conference record and UCF finished in ninth place with a 3-6 conference record.

Black Friday Finale vs. Oklahoma State

Nov 25, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II (0) celebrates a touchdown during second half against the Brigham Young Cougars at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Phipps-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Buffs and Cowboys destined to form a new rivalry as both schools search for a new most hated team? From 1996 until their last Big 12 season in 2010, Colorado traditionally played Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving. The Buffs will travel to Lincoln to play the Cornhuskers for the 73rd game of the series in September but the two teams have yet to schedule a future matchup. The Pac-12 tried to force a rivalry between Utah and Colorado and while both teams will enter the Big 12 together this season, that matchup failed to produce any sizzle.

Oklahoma State once again proved themselves to be one of the best teams in the Big 12 last year going 7-2 in the conference before losing to Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. Led by Heisman contender and running back Ollie Gordon, the Cowboys are set to have their quarterback and best wide receiver from last year, Alan Bowman and Brennan Presley, back in Stillwater for one final season. Coach Prime and the Buffs have their sights set on competing at the top of the Big 12 right away and if all goes according to plan for both teams in 2024, this matchup could have Big 12 title and College Football Playoff implications.


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