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PAC 12 Best Non-Conference (NC) Games in 2021

Washington: The Huskies travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan, in the Big House. This is, without question, Washington’s best NC game in 2021. UW is 5-7 all-time vs Michigan, yet has won four (4) of the last six (6) games. The teams played a home & home series in 2001 & 2002, the home team was victorious in both games. The Huskies are 1-3 @ Michigan Stadium! Washington also plays Montana (Big Sky / B-Sky / Football Championship Subdivision / FCS) team & Arkansas State (Sun Belt Conference / SBC)

Oregon: UO has taken a big, big bite of the apple, as their best NC game in 2021, is against Ohio State! The Duck’s are 0-9 vs the Bucks, with their last loss coming in the inaugural CFP Championship Game, 42-20, in 2014. These teams have played in some big games recently; prior to the Ducks losing in the CFP Championship Game, they lost to OSU in the Rose Bowl, 26-17. Now, Oregon will have to travel cross country to take on one of the elite programs in all of college football and beat them (failed in nine (9) previous tries) in their home arena (Horse Shoe). UO also takes on Fresno State (Mountain West Conference / MWC) & Stony Brook (Colonial Athletic Association / CAA / FCS)

Stanford: In my humble opinion, Stanford has the most challenging NC schedule in the P-12! All three (3) of their NC games are against Power 5 (P5) programs. Kansas State (@ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tx), out of the B-12, Vanderbilt, an SEC East team, & Notre Dame, an Independent, that has made the College Football Playoff’s twice (2) in the past three (3) years! While the entire NC schedule is tuff (K-State & Vandy are on the road) it is clear, that the Irish (@ Stanford Stadium) are their toughest test in their Non-Conference battles (ND leads the series, 20-13). That said, Standard has beaten the Domers 7 of the last 11, and at one point, the Cardinal had won 7 of 9 (they have dropped the last two (2) games, 38-17, in 2018 & 45-24, in 2019! The Cardinal last beat the Irish, 38-20, in 2017 @ Stanford Stadium!

Washington State: The Cougars (WSU) play BYU (also the Cougars) on Pullman’s, GESA Field. As mentioned, SCFP considers the other Cougars’ (BYU) as a P5 opponent for scheduling purposes. Wazzou is 1-3 all-time vs Brigham Young University, the teams first played in the 1981 Holiday Bowl, BYU prevailed, 38-36 and they last played in 2012, BYU won that game, as well, 30-6! WSU lone win was in 1989, 46-41, in Provo’s, Cougar Stadium (now Lavell Edwards Stadium)! The Cougars (WSU) play, Utah State (MWC) & Portland State (B-Sky / FCS) to complete their 3 game NC schedule!

California: The Golden Bears (Cal) take on the Horned Frogs (TCU), which constitutes their best NC game in 2021! These Universities have met only once on the gridiron, a TCU win, 10-7 (OT), in the 2018, Cheez-it Bowl! Cal is 11-15 all-time vs current B-12 teams. That said, Cal has taken down the B-12 “Flagship’, Texas, the last two (2) times they have kicked-it-off vs the “Horns”, 45-44, in 2015 & 50-43, in 2016! Cal completes their NC schedule with, Nevada (MWC) & Sacramento State (B-Sky / FCS)!

Oregon State: The Beavers play their best NC opponent, Purdue (B-10), in their season opener @ Purdue’s / West Layfette, IN / in Ross Ade Stadium! These P-12 / B-10 rivals have met only once, in 1967 (Purdue all time great, Leroy Keys played in that game / sadly, Leroy passes away this past April, 15)! OSU shocked the #2 Boilermakers, 22-14! In fact, OSU is the only team (ever) to play three (3) teams that were ranked in the top three (3) and not lose any of the games (#2 Purdue, beat #1 SC, 3-0, & tied #2 UCLA, 16-16)! OSU rounds out their NC tilts with Hawaii (MWC) & Idaho (B-Sky / FCS) in Corvallis!

USC: USC best NC every year is ND (one exception would be 2016, when the Trojans scheduled Alabama, for reasons known but to God)! Ok, I get it, step up & take on teams like; UGA, LSU, FL, OU, OSU, even Clemson … but Bama? The Trojans trail the Irish in this series, 47-36-5. This intersectional rivalry has been a series of runs by one team or the other. ND had runs of 7 unbeaten, (6 wins 1 tie / 1940 thru 1949, did not play in in 43, 44, 45), The Irish won 5 straight (1957 thru 61) & Notre Dame beat USU 11 straight times (1983 thru 1993)! The Trojans, between 1967 & 1982, took down the Irish 12 times, lost 2, & tied 2 in 16 years. From 2002 through 2009 the Trojans beat the Irish 7/8 straight times (2005 SC win was vacated)! ND is currently riding a 3 game win streak! The schools claim 22 national Championships, 181 all-Americans, 87 College Football Hall of Famers & 25 Pro Football Hall of Famers. Finally, no rivalry in college football history has as many player taken in the NFL Draft, SC 502 & ND 495 (997 players!) SC also takes on BYU (IND) & San Jose State (MWC)!

Utah: The Utes best NC game is the “Holy War” a Mormon showdown with BYU. UT has beaten the Cougars nine (9) straight times, BYU last took down the Utes in 2009, 26-23, in OT, when both teams were in the MWC!. Last year was the 2nd time the teams did not play since the 1946 season, they did not play in 2015 in the regular season, yet did meet in the Las Vegas Bowl, Utah 35 BYU 28! Utah rounds out its season with San Diego State (MWC) & Weber State (B-Sky / FCS).

Arizona State: The Sun Devils game @ BYU is the biggest NC challenge they face in 2021. That said, the Devils have won 20 of the last 25 meetings with the Cougars and are 20-7 all-time vs Brigham Young, Yet, ASU has lost three (3) of their last four (4) visits to Provo and two (2) in a row! Last time the Sun Devils were in Lavell Edwards Stadium (actually Cougar Stadium then) was in 1998, a 26-6, lost to the Cougars! ASU also faces, Southern Utah (B-Sky / FCS) & UNLV (MWC) to round off the NC games.

UCLA: This is Skip Kelly’s best team! He arrived in 2018 and went 3-9, in 2019, improved, slightly, to 4-8, and last year (2020) his team was 3-4! They return 20 starters (10 on both sides of the ball) including their QB. The Bruins were close to being undefeated in that Covid mess, they lost to Colorado 48-42, Oregon 38-36, SC 43-38, & Stanford, 48-47! Their best NC game, in 2021, is a big step up, as the host, LSU, in the Rose Bowl! This is the 1st meeting between the schools and their 1st SEC opponent, since the UCLANS shocked Texas A&M, 45-44, after following behind, 44-10, late in the 3rd quarter (35 unanswered)! UCLA has played Texas A&M (2016 & 17) & Oklahoma (2018 & 19), so they are quite familiar with the type of talent & skill they will be lining-up-against on 9/4/21! The Bruins also will kick-it-off, @ home, against Hawaii & Fresno State (MWC) teams!

Colorado: The Buffs are joining Nebraska (B-10) & Oklahoma (B-12 … for now / SEC … for later), to reminisce about their times together in the B-12! Colorado will be playing Texas A&M (SEC) in Denver’s, Mile High Stadium. These teams were, like OU & the Huskers, conference mates in the ‘Old’ B-12! The last nine (9) times they played, Colorado has won six (6)! This is the 1st time they have played @ a neutral site. CU will play Northern Colorado (B-Sky / FCS) & host Minnesota (B-10), on Sept. 18th, to complete their NC schedule!

Arizona: The Wildcats best NC game will be played in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, vs BYU! This is the 1st of five (5) games the PAC-12 has scheduled against the Cougars (BYU)! Arizona leads the series, 12-11-1. The Wildcats last opened their season @ a neutral site, in 2016, Phoenix’s Chase Field / Fiesta Bowl, losing to BYU, 18-16! The Cats also take on San Diego State (MWC) & Northern Arizona (B-Sky / FCS)!

The Game Simulator: Go to Head to Head compare these teams

PAC 12 Conference Page: Complete PAC 12 schedule

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