10 non-conference headliners that are still 10-plus years away that I'm inexplicably pumped for
If Florida is doing it, everyone must be doing it.
By “it,” I’m referring to scheduling headliner home-and-home series that are at least 10 years away. That, we found out last week when the Gators announced a home-and-home with Texas … for 2030 and 2031.
So yes, let’s turn the page that far ahead. Or rather, the calendar.
These games might be at least 10 years away, but they’re worth getting excited for. It’s worth noting that each game is only allowed to be 2029 or later and I only included one game per home-and-home.
Oh, and the majority of these are SEC games:
1. Sept. 6, 2031: Florida vs. Texas
Ah, yes. The latest addition to the home-and-home scheduling frenzy made a big splash this past week. Scott Stricklin is planning on getting the Gators outside of their nonconference comfort zone by actually leaving the state. Cheers to that. Will Dan Mullen and Tom Herman be facing off in this game? History says probably not, but both preseason top 10 teams certainly have all the tools to be among college football’s elite for a decade-plus.
2. Sept. 1, 2029: Notre Dame vs. Alabama
No, I don’t think Nick Saban will on the sidelines for this one. Sorry, but the ageless wonder would be 78 to coach this game. That’s basically Bill Snyder’s current age. The good news is that these timeless programs will likely still be relevant, regardless of who’s leading their respective programs. And if they aren’t, well, at least we’ll get a flashback of A.J. McCarron yelling at Barrett Jones.
3. Sept. 11, 2032: Alabama vs. Oklahoma
Don’t worry. I did the math for you. Lincoln Riley won’t even be 50. Goodness, that dude is young. How many Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks will he have by then? Ten? Eleven? I wouldn’t be surprised by this. Watching his next Heisman winner face the Alabama defense would be shades of the 2018 Orange Bowl. My only request for this game? We move it up to 2019 so we can see Jalen Hurts play against Alabama.
4. Sept. 1, 2029: Texas vs. Georgia
Props to Texas and Georgia for making multiple appearances on this list. Y’all made my job easier. Tom Herman would be a young 54 while Kirby Smart would only be 53 for this one. Oooooh, here’s a fun question. How many combined national titles will Smart and Herman have by then? I’ll set the over/under at 2.5.
5. Sept. 3, 2033: Georgia vs. Clemson
Another game announced in the past few months, this needs to happen every year, just as Dabo Swinney suggested. I’m glad that there are several future matchups lined up, but given where both programs are at with Swinney and Smart, I think the college football world needs an annual home-and-home with a pair of top 3 programs. Shoot, they could be top 2 programs if Saban ever decides to call it a career. Here’s another fun hypothetical question. Will Swinney be making $20 million a year by this point? I say he does.
6. Sept. 8, 2029: Arizona State vs. LSU
Wait … why did this game make the cut? Herm Edwards and Ed Orgeron would be the best pair of coaches to appear in a post-game press conference since, I don’t know. Ever? And I don’t want to hear this negativity of “oh, well neither of those coaches are going to be there so this is dumb.” I’d like to believe in a world that we get a 75-year-old Edwards shouting nonsense at us. I’d also like to think about a 67-year-old Orgeron slamming Red Bulls and sweating through 4 shirts. And if you don’t, well then I don’t think that we can be friends.
7. Sept. 14, 2030: Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
When this was announced, there were a lot of Nebraska fans who were like, “Finally!” The Huskers set up an opportunity to get back to their Big 12/Big 8 roots. They harkened back to the good old days when life was a bit simpler. I cannot wait for all the clips of Scott Frost playing against Oklahoma. Speaking of that, Frost would be just 55 and Riley would be 47. And if Nebraska fans have their way, Frost will have everyone thinking the Huskers are back in the Big 8 by 2030.
8. Sept. 29, 2029: Oregon vs. Michigan State
Remember how good this home-and-home was in 2014 and 2015? It was awesome. College GameDay was in East Lansing for that early-season showdown back in 2015, and it was a thriller. MSU went to the Playoff that year thanks in large part to that big early-season boost. If Mario Cristobal hasn’t taken over for Saban at Alabama yet, perhaps he’ll be on the heels of returning Oregon to prominence. Want a crazy take? I actually think a 73-year-old Mark Dantonio will still be at MSU.
9. Sept. 2, 2031: Notre Dame vs. Clemson
I know, I know. We’re going to see this rivalry a bunch, but not necessarily on an annual basis, so that’s why I included it. I love that this will be a season opener, too. What are the odds that Notre Dame is still an independent by this time and not just fully in the ACC? I actually don’t know if that’ll ever happen given how much they resisted with these TV rights contracts benefitting Power 5 programs. The rematch from the 2018 Playoff semifinal will have 5 matchups between the teams before this one rolls around, but it’s calendar-worthy no matter what year it falls on.
10. Sept. 15, 2035: Oklahoma at Clemson
If you were going to bet on 2 coaches to be at their current schools until 2035, would it be Riley and Swinney? It might be. Maybe Smart or Frost would be good candidates, but I’d say those dudes would be the best bets.
Riley, at age 52, would probably be reaching Bob Stoops territory, or perhaps he’d be past him. And here’s a wild thought. By the time this matchup rolls around, Swinney would be 65. That’s still 2 years younger than Saban is now. Want an even crazier thought? The players who’ll be in this game aren’t even in first grade yet. Some are probably still in diapers.
Here’s hoping both Riley and Swinney maintain their status atop the college football world and this one lives up to its billing … 16 years from now.