The Top Non-Conference Games - No. 11 to 20
UCLA WR Nelson Rosario
UCLA WR Nelson Rosario
Posted Mar 13, 2010

Want to get fired up for the season that's six months away? Check out some of the big matchups you have to look forward to in Part 2 of the 50 Top Non-Conference Games, No. 11 to 20, in the 2010 CFN Spring/Off-Season Preview.

2010 Spring Preview - No. 20

Top 50 Non-Conference Games

(No. 11-20)

2010 Spring Preview
- 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) 
2009 Spring Preview - Top 50 Non-Conference Games 
2008 Spring Preview - Top 40 Non-Conference Games 
By Pete Fiutak

20. USC at Minnesota, Sept. 18
This would be whale of a matchup in 1962. It's Lane Kiffin going home (he went to high school in suburban Minneapolis) and it's the third game in one of the easiest road runs possible. The Trojans play three road games in the first four going to Hawaii and Washington State along with the trip to TCF Bank, and while this might not seem like the best of matchups, it'll mean everything to Minnesota. If by some chance the Gophers pull this off, they'll almost certainly be 5-0 going to Wisconsin. That's a reach, but it would be a huge boost to Tim Brewster while animals will be walking two by two in Los Angeles.

19. Notre Dame at Michigan State, Sept. 18
If you have a great record, you're going to be ranked high. And if you're an average to above-average team, to get ranked high you need an easy schedule. The Spartans have it as easy as possible over the first seven games facing just one 2009 bowl team (Wisconsin), and don't go on the road until a trip to Michigan in game six. A win over Notre Dame would mean an almost certain 4-0 start before hosting the Badgers, while the Irish will be finishing up its Big Ten tour after starting with Purdue and Michigan. It's Brian Kelly's first road game as the Notre Dame head man.

18. Nebraska at Washington, Sept. 18
Nebraska whacked Washington 55-7 in 1998, and now it's payback time. Actually, the Huskies did a good job against the Huskers in the early 1990s in some big-time showdowns, and Dawg fans are hoping this game signals a rebirth for the dormant power. More than anything else, this is the game for the NFL scouts as they want to see if UW QB Jake Locker can produce against a Bo Pelini defense that should be frothing at the mouth.

17. Clemson at Auburn, Sept. 18
This would be a whale of a Chick-fil-A Bowl, like it was in 2007 when the Tigers (the Auburn version) won 23-20. They also met in the 1997 Peach Bowl (before it was named after a sandwich) with Auburn winning another good game 21-17. The ACC needs as many wins over the SEC as possible, while Auburn can't afford to give away any games at home.

16. Miami at Pitt, Sept. 23
In the old days this might be the Big East game of the year, but now it's just a big matchup of two strong teams that could play a rematch in a BCS game if everything breaks right. The Panthers start the season at Utah and has a fun game at Notre Dame a few weeks later, but beating Miami would bring more notoriety to a conference and a program that are constantly fighting for respect. For the Canes, they'll have had two weeks of to prepare after going to Ohio State, and they have to go to Clemson after.

15. Oregon State at Boise State, Sept. 25
The last time Oregon State ventured to the blue turf of Boise State it was an ugly 42-14 loss. Getting BCS teams to come into Boise is always tough, and since no one wants to play them anymore, the Broncos have to take advantage of their opportunities. On the flip side, Oregon State can now make a name for itself with a win since Boise State has that much of a national reputation. Boise State can't just win; it has to win big in its home shot against a name team.

14. West Virginia at LSU, Sept. 25
West Virginia ventured into Auburn last year without much success. While going into Death Valley will be tougher, it's the type of game the Mountaineers could use to make a big splash. If they can come up with the upset, there's a great shot at going 7-0 before going to Connecticut. LSU has a full plate with a rough first half of the season, but at least it gets a three game home stretch before going to Florida. This is a sandwich game between SEC dates against Mississippi State and Tennessee.

13. Oklahoma at Cincinnati, Sept. 23
One went to the BCS last year and the other didn't, and if you were in a coma over the last year, you'd probably guess wrong on the one that missed out. Oklahoma is always flaky when it gets out of its state, and while Cincinnati might not be the Cincinnati of last year, it's a chance for Butch Jones to show the momentum from the Brian Kelly era will continue.

12. Oregon at Tennessee, Sept. 11
Controversy? What controversy? Oregon might be having its share of off-field problems, but Tennessee has concerns all over the board and needs Derek Dooley to come up with a strong start. The Vols get a one game tune-up against UT Martin before hosting the Ducks and Florida in back-to-back weeks. Can the run defense be ready in time for the Oregon ground game? Will the offense be up to snuff against the ultra-athletic Pac 10 champions? It's bragging rights time two BCS conferences, and for both schools.

11. UCLA at Texas, Sept. 25
In 1998 UCLA made a big statement on the way to the Rose Bowl with a 49-31 win over Texas. The Longhorns at least played better than the 66-3 shellacking it suffered at home in 1997. While Texas should be the far better team, Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA staff have to be jumping at the chance to come up with a program-changing victory. But will the team be pumped up after starting out at Kansas State, Stanford, and Houston in a tougher three-game stretch than it looks? On the other side, Texas will be coming off the Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and will almost certainly be looking ahead to Oklahoma the following week.