Buzzer Beater: UFA Schedule Release

Mark your calendars: the UFA season begins April 27

Atlanta Hustle's Austin Taylor throws past Carolina Flyers' Charlie McCutcheon during the 2022 AUDL regular season.
The Atlanta Hustle have one of the league’s most difficult schedules in 2024. Photo: Jeffrey Owen — Carolina Flyers.

So far this offseason, the UFA has changed its name, introduced a new Frisbee, and released their Super Series schedule of games that will be free on YouTube. Despite the lack of significant player movement, it’s been quite an exciting time. As we wait for teams to release their full rosters, the league released its full schedule of games on Wednesday. There’s a lot of information to parse, but I’ve taken the time to go through each team’s schedule and offer some quick hits below.

South Division

The Atlanta Hustle have one of the league’s most difficult schedules, facing 2023 playoff teams in Carolina, New York, Indianapolis, Colorado, and Austin to open the season. They do not play a team that missed the playoffs until June 14th against Houston, and they end the season with a third matchup against the Flyers. The Hustle are one of the best teams in the league, but they’ll need to be playing their best every week just to get back to the playoffs. In his Strength of Schedule breakdown on the UFA site, Daniel Cohen noted, “In total, Atlanta will play nine of their 12 games against 2023 playoff teams—that’s the most any team will have to face in the regular season this year.”

The Austin Sol on the other hand once again have one of the easier schedules in the league. Their back-to-back trip to Carolina and Atlanta in early June will be a challenge, but the Sol host their only out-of-division game against Chicago and have seven combined games against also-rans Dallas and Houston.

The Carolina Flyers have a few challenges on tap, namely a trip to DC and a visit from a Philadelphia team that always plays them close. Opening with back-to-back games against Atlanta will help set the tone for the Flyers season. Carolina has not always been the sharpest during the season’s opening weeks and as mentioned above, Atlanta will be incredibly motivated to win those early games against a familiar opponent given their challenging schedule. Those opening games could be the difference between hosting a playoff game and going to Austin instead.

The Houston Havoc do not leave the state of Texas until June when they travel for a back-to-back in Atlanta and Carolina. While their games against Austin and Dallas will be a challenge, the second year team could not ask for an easier schedule as they seek to become a more competitive opponent.

The Dallas Legion likewise do not leave Texas except for one weekend doubleheader to Atlanta and Carolina in July. As they seek to gain ground in a competitive division, their easier travel situation will be helpful.

East Division

The two-time defending champion New York Empire have a few exciting matchups to look forward to. Their mid-season games in Philadelphia and DC are perhaps the best chances any team in the league has to notch a rare win against New York, and the Empire end their season with consecutive games against Salt Lake, Minnesota, and DC., three top teams in 2023. The game against Minnesota will be held in TCO Stadium, last year’s Championship Weekend venue rather than the Wind Chill’s typical home field, and is sure to draw a big crowd.

The DC Breeze open their season with a challenging matchup in Salt Lake. Their game against the Shred should set the tone for the season as the two teams vie to be considered New York’s top challenger. Ending the season with back- to-back games against Carolina and New York will help sharpen the team ahead of the playoffs.

The Boston Glory have one of the most straightforward schedules in the league, only facing off against teams from the East Division. The team starts and ends with games against Toronto and Montreal, giving the Glory a six week stretch where they face off against Philadelphia, DC, and New York. If the Glory can get through that tough stretch in playoff position, they’ll be a dangerous team going forward.

The Philadelphia Phoenix also play a schedule against mostly East division teams, though they do have a challenging trip to Carolina to build up to in early July. That game could have serious playoff implications for both teams. The Phoenix also bring back the Commonwealth Cup, ending their season with a game against Pittsburgh.

The Toronto Rush are hoping to break back into the playoff picture, and they have an easy enough schedule to do it. With just one game against New York, a winnable out-of-division game against Pittsburgh, and three games against division bottom feeder Montreal, the Rush have the easiest schedule in the East based on 2023 win percentage.

The Montreal Royal open their season with a doubleheader weekend in Boston and New York. That’ll be a challenging start for a team that doesn’t have a gimme game on the schedule at all. Playing only teams from the East Division, the Royal have the toughest schedule in the league based on 2023 win percentage.

Central Division

The Minnesota Wind Chill have the inside track to represent the Central Division once again at Championship Weekend. They host both of their out-of-division games (challenges against Colorado and New York), and only have one doubleheader on the season, with the second game being a winnable matchup in Detroit.

The Indianapolis AlleyCats have a unique home field advantage with their indoor site. With the first three games at home, they’ll be able to get into a good rhythm as the team seeks to make another playoff push. Hosting a game against Atlanta will be a winnable but tough challenge. The AlleyCats also travel to Colorado late in the season; that game will be a good litmus test of the AlleyCats’ potential outside of the division should they upset Minnesota to make Championship Weekend.

The Chicago Union travel to Houston and Austin for their one out-of-division weekend. With back-to-back doubleheader weekends at the end of May, the Union’s depth and conditioning will be challenged.

The Madison Radicals host their only out-of-division game, a tough matchup with the Colorado Summit. Usually the mystique of Breese Stevens Field is its own challenge for new visiting teams, but the Summit already played there during Championship Weekend in 2022. Winning an away game in Chicago or Indianapolis would go a long way towards getting the Rads back in the playoffs. They end with three straight home games which should give the team an advantage down the stretch.

The Pittsburgh Thunderbirds are challenging themselves this season with three matchups outside the Central Division. Trips to Toronto and Philadelphia will be winnable challenges, and home fans in Pittsburgh will be treated to a matchup against the Carolina Flyers.

The Detroit Mechanix are still looking for their elusive first win since 2017. They find a straightforward slate of 2024 games against Central Division opponents, but it’s still unlikely they’ll win any of those matchups.

West Division

After their first Championship Weekend appearance, all eyes will be on the Salt Lake Shred to open the season. A home game against DC will set the tone for a season that could end with Championship Weekend hosted in the team’s home stadium. Playing in Colorado at the end of a doubleheader weekend (May 17-18) is a tough draw, especially with a game in Oakland right before. That’s tough travel on top of challenging opponents. Getting through DC and that weekend with a chance to finish first in the division will be paramount for a team who enjoys a significant home field advantage. On top of that, the Shred also travel to New York for a 2023 championship game rematch against the Empire. The Shred never shy away from a challenge, and they’ll have one of the most unique schedules of the season as they look to improve on their stellar 2023 campaign.

The Colorado Summit are nipping at the Shred’s heels and will have two chances to face them in the regular season before a potential playoff matchup. The Summit have the most out-of-division games in the league, hosting Atlanta and Indianapolis and traveling for a doubleheader weekend in Minnesota and Madison. Given their need to fly to their in-division games too, such a slate should not be too much of a challenge, but only one game against Portland reduces their chances for easy wins.

The Los Angeles Aviators made the division championship game after upsetting Colorado last season. With another offseason of development, hopes are high in the Angel City. Consecutive games against playoff hopefuls Oakland and Salt Lake to open the season will test that development and set up the course of the team’s season.

The Oakland Spiders have the most doubleheader weekends of any team in the league. They travel twice to SoCal for back-to-backs against Los Angeles and San Diego and have a Cascadia weekend against Seattle and Portland as well. That kind of travel will always be a challenge and could dent the Spiders’ playoff hopes.

The San Diego Growlers will get a test right away with a doubleheader trip to Seattle and Portland on opening weekend. If they can come out of that with two wins, the Growlers will be in great shape to compete for a playoff spot. A loss to one of the lower ranked teams is not what the team is looking for as more challenging games await, including two matchups against Salt Lake in the span of three games.

The Seattle Cascades have a pretty typical west coast schedule. Like Salt Lake, they’re playing an Oakland-Colorado doubleheader weekend and they have a unique end to the season, with a Friday game in Salt Lake followed by a Sunday night home game in Seattle. Having the extra day off will definitely help Seattle be competitive for their last game of the season.

Like Seattle, the Portland Nitro play a typical west coast schedule. Given their roster inconsistency, it’s tough to see an obvious win for the team on this schedule.

  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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