PHOENIX – Different conference, same goals.
The Big 12 Conference unveiled its 2024 schedule Tuesday, giving Arizona State and Arizona their first look at the road ahead in their first season in the conference.
And it’s a long road on a couple of weekends.
Arizona visits Central Florida near Orlando Nov. 2, a trip of just more than 2,000 miles. The Sun Devils, meanwhile, have a conference date with Cincinnati on Oct. 19, a trek of about 1,800 miles.
Each of the league’s teams will play nine conference games with two bye weeks.
The Sun Devils will make their Big 12 debut Sept. 21 at Texas Tech.
“We’re going into the football heaven — Texas,” ASU coach Kenny Dillingham said last year when asked about the move to the Big 12. “If we’re not ready and our fans aren’t ready and everybody is not ready, we’re going to be in for a rude awakening.”
Thanks to a scheduling quirk, Arizona will play its first Big 12 opponent on Sept. 13th or 14th at Kansas State, but it won’t count as a conference game.
The schools already had scheduled a non-conference game this season, prior to Arizona joining the Big 12. Instead, Arizona’s Sept. 28 game at Utah will serve as its conference opener.
While the Sun Devils and Wildcats will be making new acquaintances in the Big 12, there are also some old rivalries that will be renewed or continued, including their Territorial Cup matchup Nov. 30 in Tucson.
Both schools will face Brigham Young, their long-ago Western Athletic Conference rival and a team that has historically drawn large crowds when visiting Arizona and Arizona State. The Wildcats visit the Cougars on Nov. 12 and the Sun Devils play host to BYU Nov. 23.
ASU coach Kenny Dillingham’s Sun Devils, who finished 3-9 last season, play host to Kansas at Mountain America Stadium for the first time in program history on Oct. 5. It could prove to be a difficult task for ASU.
Kansas posted a successful campaign in 2023, finishing 9-4 and defeating UNLV in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. The Jayhawks also return several key starters, including quarterback Jalon Daniels.
What game on @ASUFootball‘s 2024 schedule are you most excited for?
:black_small_square:Revenge game against Arizona?
:black_small_square:Head to head with former Sun Devil Jalin Conyers?
:black_small_square:First matchup in school history with the Kansas Jayhawks?
:black_small_square:Non-conference battle with Mississippi State?
— Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports (@sportscronkite) January 30, 2024
Arizona will face three former Pac-12 teams in Colorado, Utah, and ASU. The Wildcats will face a tough opponent in West Virginia, which finished last season 9-4 and ended with a win against North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
New Arizona coach Brent Brennan will look to build off the team’s 10-3 season in the wake of former coach Jedd Fisch’s departure to Washington. Most of Arizona’s key players decided to stay put, which could make the Wildcats a factor in their first Big 12 campaign.
Prior to Fisch’s move, the Wildcats were a team with College Football Playoff aspirations. They’ll get their first chance to show they can play to that level when they open their season at home against New Mexico on Aug. 31
The Sun Devils open their season on the same date, playing host to a tough Wyoming team – another former Western Athletic Conference foe.
Here is the full Big 12 Conference schedule for ASU and Arizona: