Although the 2019 season came to a close for the First Responder Bowl champions just over one week ago, the WKU football team announced its complete 2020 schedule on Wednesday afternoon.
The Hilltoppers will be in for a tough test on the gridiron in 2020, as nine of the team's 11 Football Bowl Subdivision opponents competed in a bowl game in 2019.
Head coach Tyson Helton will be in his second season at the helm of the Hilltopper program in 2020. In his first year as head coach, Helton was voted Conference USA Coach of the Year after finishing the regular season with an 8-4 record and 6-2 mark in league play.
The Hilltoppers capped their comeback campaign with a 23-20 thriller over Western Michigan in the First Responder Bowl on Dec. 30, improving to 9-4 and tripling the team's win total from 2018. The win also matched the number of victories from the previous two years combined.
Helton guided WKU to a six-win improvement from 2018 to 2019 — tied for the third-best in FBS behind Navy (eight) and Central Michigan (seven) — but WKU will face a 2020 slate with a combined opponent record of 84-72 from 2019, including a 30-21 mark from its four non-conference opponents.
Tennessee-Chattanooga finished third in the Football Championship Subdivision's Southern Conference with a 5-3 mark in league play, while Indiana (Gator Bowl), Liberty (Cure Bowl) and Louisville (Music City Bowl) all capped their 2019 seasons with bowl appearances.
The Hilltoppers' eight C-USA foes have a combined 2019 record of 54-51, and WKU will meet some of the top finishers in both the C-USA East and West Divisions.
WKU will face the other six teams in the C-USA East Division (Charlotte, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion, Marshall and Middle Tennessee State), and the program will also wrap up two home-and-home sets with West Division foes Alabama-Birmingham and Southern Mississippi.
The Hilltoppers will have six home games for the second consecutive season, including a Halloween matchup against ODU on Oct. 31 and a Senior Day/Night tilt against FIU on Nov. 21.
Other special event designations — such as Homecoming and Parents Weekend — will be finalized and announced at a later date. In addition, the Hilltoppers' first four road games (Indiana, Louisville, MTSU and UAB) are all within a four-hour drive of Bowling Green.
All games are subject to date changes, and some dates are expected to move in the coming weeks in order to accommodate national television. C-USA's 16th annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is officially scheduled for Dec. 5, 2020.
A full schedule of WKU’s televised games will be released at a later date, according to a release.