The Top Non-Conference Games - No. 21 to 30
No. 22 Arizona State at Missouri
No. 22 Arizona State at Missouri
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 5, 2012


2012 Spring Preview - The 50 Top Non-Conf. Games, Part 3 (No. 21 to 30)


2012 Spring Preview

Top 50 Non-Conference Games

(No. 21-30)

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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30. Virginia at TCU, Sept. 22

While it might seem like a strange matchup, the two have played before. In 2008, TCU blasted Virginia 30-14, but in the 1994 Independence Bowl, the Cavaliers got the 20-10 win. It’s a different world for both programs now, with TCU playing one of its first big games as a full-time member of the Big 12, while Virginia is a team on the rise under head coach Mike London. The Cavaliers might need this win if they can’t get by Penn State and Georgia Tech in the first few weeks, while this should be TCU’s toughest non-conference game by far.

29. Air Force at Michigan, Sept. 8

Air Force might have been a disappointment last year considering the experience returning, but the option offense will be dangerous for a Michigan team that’ll either be ultra-confident after starting out the season or will be licking its wounds. The expectations will be sky-high for the Wolverines, but the pressure will be on if they can’t pull off the big win over the Tide the week before. With a trip to Notre Dame coming up two weeks later, there can’t be any lack of focus. The two teams have only played once, with Michigan winning 24-7 in the 1964 opener.

28. UCF at Ohio State, Sept. 8

If this was college basketball, this would be the type of nightmare matchup that no big-time coach would take. UCF is coming off a 5-7 season, but it’s loaded with veteran talent and will be more than good enough to pull off the upset. However, if Ohio State wins, it’s not going to get a whole bunch of credit for the victory. In other words, it’s sort of a no win situation for the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer’s bunch can’t get caught looking ahead to Cal, while still has another good BCS game to play with Missouri coming to Orlando a few weeks later.

27. Illinois at Arizona State, Sept. 8

Little did anyone know in mid-September of last year that both Illinois and Arizona State would be kicking off new eras to start the 2012 season. The Illini pulled off a 17-14 win on the way to a hot 6-0 start, while the loss appeared to be little more than a hiccup for the Sun Devils in what looked like a bounceback season. This time around, it’ll be a measuring stick for the two new head coaches, with ASU’s Todd Graham needing the win with Missouri up the week after before kicking off Pac-12 play. If the Illini wins, and if all goes according to plan, coach Tim Beckman should start out 4-0 before hosting Penn State in the Big Ten opener.

26. Missouri at UCF, Sept. 29

The last thing Missouri needs as a member of the SEC is a challenging non-conference road game it could lose, and this couldn’t come at a worse time. The Tigers have to go to Orlando after facing Georgia, Arizona State, and going to South Carolina, and with Alabama coming up a few weeks later. UCF will have played Ohio State, but getting a big boy in its own house is different for the future Big Easter. This might not be the biggest home game in UCF history, but it’ll be important for national recognition. The two programs have never played.

25. Rutgers vs. Arkansas, Sept. 22

New Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has a great team returning, but getting past an Arkansas team that should be ranked in the top ten will be a tall task. Can the Scarlet Knights make a national statement and come up with a huge win for the Big East? The rest of the non-conference schedule is light and squishy, and the team should be fully prepared. On the flip side, Arkansas has to be work hard to stay focused in a sandwich game between Alabama and Texas A&M. The two programs have never met.

24. Penn State at Virginia, Sept. 8

Everything Penn State and coach Bill O’Brien does will be under the microscope, and this will be the first road game in the program’s new era. While the Cavaliers are just 2-4 in the series, they’ve won two of the last three and might have the better team this time around, too, if the Nittany Lions can’t find a passing game in a hurry. Virginia has to start the ACC schedule the week after at Georgia Tech. While nothing will be easy for Penn State as a football program or a school this year, with a win over the Cavs, the schedule is light enough that a 6-0 start is possible going into the trip to Iowa.

23. Nevada at California, Sept. 1

It might not be the sexiest game in the opening weekend, but it could be among the most entertaining. Nevada’s offense returns loaded with firepower as it returns to the Bay Area for the first time since winning the Fight Hunger Bowl to close out the 2010 season. Can the Wolf Pack come up with a huge win for its new conference? It beat the Bears 52-31 two years ago, but lost in the only other meeting in 1996. This time, with a tough game against South Florida to follow, a win is a must to potentially avoid a rough start. For Cal, a loss would be disastrous with September road games at Ohio State and USC still to deal with.

22. Arizona State at Missouri, Sept. 15

It was among the most fun games of 2011. Missouri should’ve won, didn’t, and Arizona State took advantage in what turned out to be the high point of its season. This year, new coach Todd Graham has to deal with a tough road game in a midst of an interesting start, hosting Illinois the week before and starting out Pac-12 play with Utah to follow. For the Tigers, payback is a must with a brutal start, but they have to keep their focus in a sandwich game with this coming in between Georgia and a trip to South Carolina.

21. BYU at Boise State, Sept. 22

It seems like these two should’ve met more than twice. Boise State won a 28-27 thriller in 2004 and in a 50-12 blowout in 2003, and that’s it. Now, the Broncos are hanging out in the Mountain West for one more year before taking off to the Big East, while BYU, one of the league’s former stars, has to come up with a win with a slew of brutal games still to go. The Cougars will be coming off the always nasty rivalry game at Utah and still has road trips to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech over the second half of the season. Boise State starts out the year against Michigan State.

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