Five key takeaways from the 2024 UFL schedule release

The United Football League revealed its 2024 schedule on Monday. The season is set to get underway on March 30 in Arlington, Texas and conclude on Father’s Day, June 16, in St. Louis.

All eight UFL teams will play each other over the course of a 10-week regular season. The campaign will then conclude with a two-week postseason to crown a champion. There are no idle weeks and all games will be played on Saturdays or Sundays. Training camp begins on Feb. 24.

[Full UFL 2024 schedule unveiled]

Here are some key takeaways from the schedule release.

1. The UFL season will begin with a clash of champions. 

The UFL season begins on March 30 with a matchup between the Birmingham Stallions and the Arlington Renegades, last year’s champions of the USFL and XFL, respectively.

The Stallions combined to go 21-3 over the past three seasons, including a perfect 4-0 record in the playoffs. While the Stallions will spend a month in Arlington preparing for the upcoming season, there’s no doubt the Renegades will enjoy being the home favorite.

Arlington played its best football last season in the playoffs, and head coach Bob Stoops will hope to ride that momentum into the 2024 season.

The winner of this game will emerge as the favorite to win its conference, and many will draw conclusions about the strength of each conference from not only who wins, but how each team looks.

The March 30 start date is more than a month after the 2023 XFL season began (Feb. 18) and two weeks prior to the 2023 USFL season kicking off (April 15).

 2. Home-field advantage will be on display in Washington, D.C. and St. Louis.

From the XFL side, the St. Louis Battlehawks traveling to D.C. to play the Defenders on April 28 might present the most hostile road environment Anthony Becht’s team will face throughout the first half of the season.

Then, in Week 8 of the season, the script will flip, as the Battlehawks will host the Defenders.

The Defenders, coached by Reggie Barlow, not only return spring football’s leading rusher from 2023 in Abram Smith, but the most formidable beer snake in the sport, along with an undefeated record at Audi Field. 

Smith, a 1,600-yard rusher in his final season at Baylor, will go up against 2023 XFL Defensive Player of the Year Pita Taumoepenu, who is now a member of the Battlehawks. Taumopenu recorded 8.5 tackles for loss last season with 7.5 sacks. 

Meanwhile, Davin Bellamy and the Defender defense will try to check a Battlehawk offense that enjoyed success through the air. Wide receiver Hakeem Butler caught 51 passes for 599 yards with eight TDs last season. Jachour Pearson led the XFL in catches (60) and receiving yards (670).

United Football League: Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson announce the XFL & USFL merger

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3. Arlington at Houston — April 21 at RIce Stadium — will feature the two teams with the most All-USFL and All-XFL players on either roster.

With nine All-UFL players on Roughnecks coach Curtis Johnson’s squad and six on Stoops’ team, this is a game that will be closely watched by those looking to fill out NFL training camp rosters.

Stoops’ defensive front, led by linebacker Donald Payne, will be tasked with stopping USFL reigning Offensive Player of the Year Mark Thompson. Payne is the only player to record 100 tackles in either the XFL or USFL since their return to play in 2022.

The Renegade offense will have its hands full with 2022 USFL Defensive Player of the Year Chris Odom and All-USFL defensive tackle Toby Johnson.

4. St. Louis could play four out of its last five games at The Dome to finish the season.

Between Week 8 and the UFL Championship Game, the Battlehawks would have to travel just once — Week 9 to Choctaw Stadium to play the Renegades.

5. The championship game will be in St. Louis.

The UFL recognizes just how strong spring football has been in St. Louis, as the city was rewarded with the title game at The Dome at America’s Center. This marks the first time that either USFL or XFL teams will play for a championship in the Gateway City.

The Battlehawks have enjoyed the best attendance for home games among XFL and USFL teams, and UFL vice president of football operations Daryl Johnston has pointed toward it as the gold standard for game-day experience and atmosphere.

In 2023, the USFL played its postseason and championship game at Tom Benson Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium, while the XFL played its championship game at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.

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