The Top Non-Conference Games - No. 41 to 50
No. 42 - Houston at UCLA
No. 42 - Houston at UCLA
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 5, 2012


2012 Spring Preview - The 50 Top Non-Conf. Games, Part 5 (No. 41 to 50)

2012 Spring Preview

Top 50 Non-Conference Games

(No. 41-50)

Top Non-Conference Games  
- 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 

2012 Top 50 Non-Conference Games
- 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)  

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50. Colorado vs. Colorado State (in Denver), Sept. 1

This used to be a nasty, under-the-radar rivalry that became more and more significant and entertaining by the year, and then both programs fell off the map. Colorado State has fallen further than Colorado, losing four of the last five in the series, and now it’s up to new head coach Jim McElwein to try to turn around the program. Beating the Buffs would get things off to a hot start, and would instantly put Colorado head man John Embree on the hot seat. The Buffaloes follow this up with Sacramento State while the Rams get North Dakota State.

49. Marshall at West Virginia. Sept. 1

Does the in-state showdown matter more now that West Virginia is in the Big 12? Not really, but it’s going to be the first time the Mountaineers hit the field after its performance in the Orange Bowl and after what’s sure to be a fun offseason of praise and high expectations. The problem is that it hasn’t been much of a rivalry – WVU is 10-0 in the series including a 92-6 squeaker in 1915 and an 81-0 battle in 1923. MU is due. The Herd plays Western Carolina next, while the Mountaineers play james Madison in Landover.

48. Temple at Penn State, Sept. 22

There are games that new Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien has to win, and there are games new Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien has to win. Joe Paterno was 14 years old the last time Temple beat Penn State with the Nittany Lions going 36-0-1 since 1941. The lone blemish – a 7-7 tie – was in 1950, but the Owls had last year’s game won. At least it had overtime there for the taking until giving up a late, heartbreaking scoring drive. This might be a rough year for O’Brien as the program tries to rebound, but a loss and an end to the streak would be truly disastrous with the Big Ten opener at Illinois to follow.

47. Syracuse at Minnesota, Sept. 22

In 1996, these two played one of the wildest games in college football history with Minnesota mounting an epic comeback to win 35-33 in the old dome. The Gophers also came up with a 23-20 road win over the Orange in 2009. This year, second-year head coach Jerry Kill has to try to come up with a victory to try to kickstart a program that struggled throughout last year, while Syracuse head man Doug Marrone – with games against Northwestern and USC over the first few weeks – might need a win to avoid an ugly start. This is Minnesota’s first game against a BCS conference team.

46. Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech, Aug. 30

It got lost in the shuffle, but Louisiana Tech won the WAC last year closing out the regular season with seven straight wins. It gave Mississippi State and Southern Miss all they could handle in early losses before getting hot, and it pushed Kevin Sumlin’s Houston team in a tough 35-34 loss. Sumlin gets another shot at the Bulldogs in his first game as the new Texas A&M head man, and he can’t afford to get off to a slow start with Florida up next. Louisiana Tech gets Sumlin’s old Houston team on the road to follow. This will be the 11th time the two teams have met with A&M winning 48-16 in 2010. The Aggies are 10-0 in the series winning all by double digits.

45. Northwestern at Syracuse, Sept. 1

The Orange lost their final five games last year to miss out on going to a bowl game. Northwestern went the other way winning four straight games late to get bowl eligible, but finished up losing its final two games. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald got his team up for a big opening day win last year at Boston College, and now he’s looking for a second straight Game One win over an ACC team on the road. The two teams played a terrific game in 2009 – a 37-34 SU win at home – in their only meeting. The Wildcats need this win with Vanderbilt and Boston College to follow, while the Orange can’t afford to lose at home with a date with USC up next in East Rutherford.

44. Vanderbilt at Northwestern, Sept. 8

It’s a nice mid-level bowl matchup between smart guys. Is Vanderbilt ready to show that 2011 was a stepping-stone season? Is it the real deal under second-year head coach James Franklin? The Commodores lost to Northwestern at home two years ago 23-21, and now the two programs are meeting for the fourth time with the record 1-1-1. The Commodores need the win after opening up with South Carolina at home and with Georgia coming up next after the layup against Presbyterian, while Northwestern will be in the middle of an interesting three-game stretch starting out at Syracuse and with Boston College to follow.

43. Iowa State at Iowa, Sept. 8

Iowa State came up with a thrilling 44-41 win over Iowa last year and it turned out to kickstart a surprising year. The Hawkeyes won three straight in the series before that, going back to a loss to the Cyclones in 2007. Can they come up with a payback win in a rebuilding season? It’s always a tough game and it’s always a fight for both sides, but Iowa State needs this more with Texas Tech and TCU coming up quickly. The Hawkeyes have an easier first half of the season as this starts a run of four home games and five home dates in six.

42. Houston at UCLA, Sept. 15

UCLA mounted a great comeback but fell short to Houston in the 2011 opener. Little did anyone know that the 38-34 win would be the catalyst to an unbeaten regular season. New head coach Tony Levine has some massive rebuilding to do, and he doesn’t have a lot of time to do it with Texas State to start and a tough battle against defending WAC champion Louisiana Tech to follow. However, things ease up in a big way after the trip to Pasadena, while the Bruins have to avoid a letdown in a sandwich game between Nebraska and the Pac-12 opener against Oregon State.

41. Hawaii at USC, Sept. 1

USC is 7-0 all-time against Hawaii coming up with some huge offensive performances. Some of the biggest blowouts came with Norm Chow as offensive coordinator, and now, after bouncing around a bit, he has a head coaching job all to himself at Hawaii and he has nothing to lose going against the loaded Trojans. It’ll be the season opener for a USC team that’s finally getting through the NCAA sanction storm, and it should be able to make a statement against the mediocre Warriors – unless Chow has a few tricks up his sleeve. At the very least it should be a high-scoring shootout.

Top Non-Conference Games  
- 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 

2012 Top 50 Non-Conference Games
- 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)  

Follow Us ... #ColFootballNews