Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

The Top Non-Conference Games - No. 11 to 20
Texas C David Snow
Texas C David Snow
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 7, 2011


The 20 Big Questions Going Into 2011 - No. 20, The 50 Top Non-Conference Games, Part 2 (No. 11 to 20)

2011 Spring Preview - No. 20

Top 50 Non-Conference Games

(No. 11-20)

2011 Spring Preview
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50) 
2010 Spring Preview - Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
2009 Spring Preview - Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
2008 Spring Preview - Top 40 Non-Conference Games 

20. Georgia at Georgia Tech, Nov. 26

The stakes should be higher than normal. Paul Johnson has done some good things since coming aboard at Georgia Tech, and beating Georgia in a 45-42 thriller in 2008 was among the most impressive. However, he and his Yellow Jackets have lost the rivalry game in each of the last two years, and the program has dropped nine of the last ten, but six of the last seven have been decided by eight points or fewer. While Johnson isn’t on any sort of a hot seat after last year’s disappointing season, a strong 2011 would be a big help and closing out with a win over the Dawgs would do wonder. Georgia’s Mark Richt, on the other hand, is under fire, and he needs a strong year and another win over Tech to ease the pressure.

19. Clemson at South Carolina, Nov. 26

It wasn’t all that long ago that this was one of the most entertaining late November rivalry games, but it has always flown under the radar. It was all but lost over the last two years with South Carolina winning in relatively easy fashion, and now Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney could use a victory. Even if the Tigers have a mediocre year, he’ll be given a little bit of a break considering the program is on the rise following a monster recruiting class, but getting blown out by the Gamecocks again might make the collar tight for 2012. Closing out with three road games in the final four, Clemson will be tested, while South Carolina hopes this will be another tune-up for the SEC Championship game. While the Tigers will be fighting through the end of the ACC season, USC will get a week off against Citadel after closing out SEC play at home against Florida.

18. Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 26

Is this the Andrew Luck Heisman Invitational? Stanford has beaten Notre Dame two years in a row, including a dominant 37-14 win last year in South Bend, but this is different. Last year, Stanford was still a bit under the radar and wasn’t a BCS consideration. This year the battle is the season-ender for each and is the third home game in a row for the Cardinal. The Irish don’t exactly have it easy over the second half of the year, but an ACC November with Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College isn’t bad. Considering Stanford is still supposed to be strong, the Notre Dame will be better, this should be the most important game in the recent history of the series.

17. TCU vs. BYU (in Dallas), Oct. 28

Will the Cougars have any more luck as an independent? BYU beat TCU in 2006 and 2007, and then the Horned Frogs started to dominate the Mountain West and owned the series winning the last three games by a combined score of 101 to 17. Out of the Mountain West, BYU is facing a diverse and interesting schedule, but it’s also very, very light in the back half with a road trip to Oregon State the only game against a BCS league team after facing Utah in mid-September. Basically, BYU is in the WAC with is scheduling, but playing TCU in Cowboys Stadium will provide the necessary street cred. TCU has a long road trip to Wyoming after this before the showdown at Boise State, and while this game doesn’t really matter, it’ll be a big deal if there’s any dream of being in the national title chase.

16. Michigan State at Notre Dame, Sept. 17

Between the trick play that counted even though there technically wasn’t any time left on the clock and the Mark Dantonio heart attack that followed, last year’s thrilling 34-31 Michigan State overtime win had a little of everything. It’s asking a lot to have another great game like that, but close battles have been the norm for these two. Every game is big for the Irish, but after facing South Florida and Michigan to start, beating Michigan State will either be a must win or it’ll be a chance to take the ranking to a whole other level. The Spartans are rebuilding a bit, but they’ll have tune-ups against Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic to prepare. A win in South Bend should mean a 4-0 start before dealing with Ohio State without Terrelle Pryor.

15. BYU at Texas, Sept. 10

BYU has a strange habit of rising up and surprising the world when no one is expecting too much. Just ask Oklahoma after Sam Bradford’s shoulder got crunched in a loss two years ago. This season, as an independent, BYU needs every impact win it can get to be relevant on the national scene, and beating Texas in Austin would certainly make that happen. The Cougars have to start out against Ole Miss, but a win over Texas and beating Utah at home a week later would get the national title talk going. The rest of the schedule, outside of dates at Oregon State and TCU, is a joke. For Texas, after starting off the season against Rice, this is the first real test following last year’s clunker of a campaign. Following up with games away from Austin for three weeks in a row, the Longhorns and Mack Brown can’t afford to blow this.

14. Arizona at Oklahoma State, Sept. 10

There was so much excitement and so much promise when the two high octane offenses met in the 2010 Alamo Bowl, but Arizona failed to show up for the second straight bowl season in a 36-10 loss to the Cowboys. Can the Cats show that things have improved? The nation’s ninth ranked passing attack of last year should be a killer with Nick Foles back at the helm and Juron Criner sure to be among the nation’s most explosive receivers. However, Oklahoma State is full of firepower once again with Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon back after hooking up nine times for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the last meeting. Arizona starts off the year with a warm-up against Northern Arizona, while the Cowboys kick off with Louisiana.

13. Notre Dame at Michigan, Sept. 10

Brady Hoke vs. Brian Kelly. While it might not sound like a battle of legends, they’ll define the rivalry over the next several years. This game will set the tone. Notre Dame might have had a bit more overall success than Michigan lately, but the Wolverines won the last two meetings with Kelly losing to Rich Rodriguez in a 28-24 thriller last season. Hoke will have a tougher-than-it-looks opening day game against a high-powered Western Michigan team, but if all goes according to plan, this is the first real look to see how things have changed. With Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, and Minnesota (all home games) to follow, a 5-0 start could be a lock with a win over the Irish. Notre Dame has a brutal September and can’t afford a loss with South Florida to start the season and Michigan State to follow.

12. Texas at UCLA, Sept. 17

It wasn’t just that UCLA beat Texas in Austin last year; it’s that it was a 34-12 stomping in what appeared to be the statement moment of the Rick Neuheisel era. Who could’ve known then that both teams would go 2-6 the rest of the way? Texas beat the Bruins 28-10 in 1971, but UCLA has won the last three by a grand total of 149 to 46 (an average of around 50-13) and it needs to keep the momentum going to take some of the heat off Neuheisel. The Bruins will already have dealt with a trip to Houston and the high-powered Cougar offense, and they kick off Pac 12 play a week later at Oregon State. The Longhorns start out with home games against Rice and BYU before heading to L.A.

11. Missouri at Arizona State, Sept. 10

Any game involving Arizona State can’t be that big a deal, can it? The Sun Devils get back ten starters on offense and ten on defense from a team that went 6-6 last year. Of the six losses, four game by a grand total of nine points including a 20-19 battle at Wisconsin. While it might be pushing it a wee bit to say that a win over Missouri would put the Sun Devils on the map, it would be a really, really big deal for head coach Dennis Erickson as he tries to jump-start his run. Mizzou will be looking to prove there’s life after Blaine Gabbert on offense and Aldon Smith on defense, and with 16 returning starters, it’s not looking to do much rebuilding. Could this be the coming out party for new starting quarterback James Franklin? The Tigers certainly hope so.

2011 Spring Preview
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50) 
2010 Spring Preview - Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
2009 Spring Preview - Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
2008 Spring Preview - Top 40 Non-Conference Games