After many months of speculation, we finally know how the new Big XII will look and how the Buffs will fit into the conference. Colorado’s athletic department announced their conference opponents for the next four seasons via twitter on Wednesday afternoon. The announcement detailed who the Buffaloes will play at home and on the road up until 2027.
Next season, the Buffs will play five conference games at Folsom Field and four on the road. Their home opponents next season will be Baylor, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Utah. Likewise, the Buffs will face Arizona, Central Florida, Kansas and Texas Tech in enemy territory.
Despite leaving the stacked Pac-12 conference, the Colorado’s new in-conference opponents in 2024 will be no pushovers. Both Kansas schools and Oklahoma State have put together very strong 2023 campaigns, while Arizona and Utah are also holding their own in the loaded Pac. The Buffs probably won’t have any easy wins within the Big XII next season unfortunately.
Notably, we learned that the Big XII won’t add a division structure despite having its teams spread out across country. The conference will instead use a scheduling matrix that ensures that every member team plays each other at least twice every four years.
“During the four years, all teams will play one another at least once home and away. Some matchups will occur over three seasons while others take place in all four,” said Big XII representatives on their website on Wednesday.
We also got confirmation on how scheduling priority will work within the conference. Teams within close geographical location will play more often. The same goes for teams who have established rivalries.
“The scheduling model was developed with a priority on geography, historic matchups and rivalries as well as competitive balance,” stated conference officials.
The Buffs biggest reoccurring opponents until 2027 come as a bit of a surprise. Colorado will play former Pac-12 conference-mates Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State three times each between 2024-2027. It makes a lot of sense for the former Pac-12 teams to play each other as much as possible due to their history and close proximity to each other.
The Buffs will also play Houston and Central Florida three time each before 2027. This decision is a bit perplexing because of the sheer distance between Boulder and Houston or Orlando. It would probably make much more sense for the Buffs to play Kansas, Oklahoma State, or even BYU more often, but the Big XII decided to pair the Buffs up with the Cougars and Knights instead. Some CU fans have speculated that Coach Prime specifically requested that Colorado play Houston and UCF often so he could tap into the recruitment pool within those areas, but this is unconfirmed as of now.
A future rivalry between the Buffs and Houston and UCF seems like something the Big XII wants, but only time will tell if that actually materializes. As each day passes, we move closer to the Big XII era of Colorado Buffaloes football. While we have four more Pac-12 games to play, it’s hard not to get excited for what the future entails.