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PROVIDENCE, R.I. –
The race for the 2012 BIG EAST football title will begin Sept. 6 and will once again culminate in three games as part of Championship Week as the league’s eight schools battle for the league crown and Bowl Championship Series berth.
The complete 67-game BIG EAST schedule includes 28 conference games and a nonleague slate of 39 games. Sixteen of the nonleague games are against conferences or teams with automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series.
The 2012 season begins for BIG EAST teams Thursday, Aug. 30, and continues through a pair of conference games that will be part of Championship Saturday Dec. 1 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.
The 28-game conference schedule will be played between Sept. 6 and Dec. 1. Temple, which will play a BIG EAST schedule for the first time since 2004, begins league play Oct. 6 against USF at Lincoln Financial Field.
Highlights of the 2012 schedule include another intriguing series of Thursday and Friday night games that will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 beginning with the conference opener between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Thursday, Sept. 6. The BIG EAST will have a regular Friday-night appearance on ESPN or ESPN2, with league games appearing on five Fridays between Oct. 5 and Nov. 23.
The three Championship Week matchups have Louisville at Rutgers Thursday, Nov. 29 and Cincinnati at Connecticut and Pittsburgh at USF Dec. 1. 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 three years.
2012 BIG EAST Football Schedule Notes
The 2012 schedule will include 67 games, with 28 BIG EAST dates and 39 nonleague games. The nonleague dates include 30 games against Bowl Subdivision (I-A) programs and nine against Championship Subdivision (I-AA) opponents. Sixteen of the 30 Bowl Subdivision games are against conferences or teams with automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series.
The BIG EAST’s football alignment for 2012 includes Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse and Temple. Each team will play seven conference games.
The most-represented opposing conferences on the composite schedule are the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Mid-American Conference, with eight matchups each. There are three games each against the Big Ten and SEC, two against Conference USA and one each against the Pac-12, Mountain West and Sun Belt. There are three games against independents – one against Notre Dame and two against Army. The only Bowl Subdivision conferences not represented are the Big 12 and WAC.
The BIG EAST is the only Division I conference that has seen each of its members play in at least one bowl game in the past two seasons and is the only league in which each team has at least one bowl win in the last four years. Every BIG EAST team won at least five games last season – the first time since 1905 that an existing Bowl Subdivision conference had every member finish with at least five wins.