Non-conference games we wish the SEC would play in 2016
Non-conference schedules: For some teams, they can make or break seasons. For others, they simply serve as filler after conference matchups are set.
Imagine a world where you could pick any non-conference matchup you wanted to see. Well, we at SDS have been given the opportunity to become schedule makers and create non-conference games we would like to watch in 2016.
Here’s our list featuring every SEC school:
Alabama vs. Oregon
Since 2007, Nick Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide and Oregon have been two of the winningest programs in the FBS. Bama has won four national championships over that span, and the Ducks have been runners-up twice — losing to Auburn 22-19 in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and getting crushed by Ohio State 42-20 in the 2014 College Football Championship Game.
Auburn’s victory over Chip Kelly’s squad gave the SEC some bragging rights over the Pac-12, but we have never gotten to see Oregon’s up-tempo offense go up against what has basically been the best defense in the FBS since 2009, the year Saban won his first national title with Alabama.
Arkansas vs. Wisconsin
We’re not sure if Bret Bielema has resumed speaking to his old boss, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez. The Sporting News reported in August that Bielema hadn’t spoken to Alvarez since the coach left the Badgers for Arkansas in December of 2012.
Arkansas and Wisconsin haven’t faced each other since 1912. This rift probably won’t help bring them together. According to lostlettermen.com, here are some other reasons it will probably be another 104 years before the Hogs and Badgers finally meet.
Auburn vs. Baylor
These teams have faced other just four times, and Baylor won the last meeting 40 years ago. Fellow coaches Gus Malzahn and Art Briles met earlier this week, presumably to talk football. But as this story suggests, it would be much better if these two squads actually played football against each other.
Florida vs. Miami
This matchup was an annual game from 1944 through 1987, before the rivalry took a hiatus. It’s been off and on since, and they’ve played just twice in the past 11 seasons.
Mark Richt’s arrival after his 15-season stint with Georgia would make this game feel like another version of the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” And if Richt were to win this hypothetical matchup, he’d have every reason to throw himself a party.
Georgia vs. Miami
The reasons for this one are obvious. The schools have faced other only 12 times. They haven’t played each other in 50 years. And oh yeah, there’s the Richt thing. So there’s that.
Kentucky vs. Oklahoma
We know what you’re thinking. Kentucky struggles to compete in the SEC, let alone against a team that reached the College Football Playoff last season. And we saw Oklahoma go into Knoxville last September and beat Tennessee in double overtime after overcoming a 17-0 deficit.
But there’s no denying that the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII between coaching brothers John and Jim Harbaugh was a pretty darn good game.
We’re not saying a potential Sooner-Wildcat matchup would be close to that, but we’d like to see Bob Stoops and Mark Stoops on opposite sidelines, anyway.
LSU vs. Texas
This potential matchup between embattled coaches Les Miles and Charlie Strong intrigues us. Even though Texas doesn’t have a player nearly as good as potential Heisman Trophy candidate and LSU running back Leonard Fournette, both defenses could rise to the occasion.
The Tigers and Longhorns have faced other just 17 times, with Texas winning the last meeting, a 35-20 victory in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003.
According to scout.com, the two schools have agreed in principle to a home-and-home series from 2019-2020, but we’d love to have this series resume even sooner.
Mississippi State vs. TCU
Two seasons ago, the Bulldogs and Horned Frogs went from unranked in the preseason to top-5 spots in the College Football Playoff rankings. And according to winsipedia.com, the teams have faced each other only once — playing to a scoreless tie in 1936 — so they are more than due to meet again.
We promise someone will score.
Missouri vs. Kansas State
Believe it or not, the Border War between Missouri and Kansas, which ended in 2011 with the Tigers leading the series 57-54-9, was very close. Now that the Jayhawks have regressed to being arguably the worst team in the FBS, Mizzou should resume its rivalry with Bill Snyder’s Wildcats.
It’s a shame that Gary Pinkel and Snyder will no longer face other, but at least new Tigers coach Barry Odom would get to experience what should be a fairly competitive matchup. Some might wish for a resumption of the Missouri-Nebraska series, but with the Huskers holding a 65-36-3 edge in that formerly annual battle, the Tigers would probably be better off against K-State.
Ole Miss vs. Michigan
It’s hard to believe that these teams have met only once, a 35-3 victory by Michigan in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day in 1991. But if QB Chad Kelly and the rest of the Rebels were to hand Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines a convincing loss, it might temporarily keep Mr. “I buy my khakis at Walmart” from trying to hold part of his spring practice in SEC recruiting hotbeds such as Florida. Maybe.
South Carolina vs. Georgia Tech
OK. In this case we have a fairly competitive series that the Yellow Jackets lead 12-9. These are also two teams that haven’t faced each other since 1991, and are led by the offensive mind of Paul Johnson and the defensive one of new Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp. Let these games begin — again.
Tennessee vs. Clemson
How is it that these teams have met only twice over the past 40 years? With the Volunteers coming off their best season since 2007 and the Tigers following up their national championship runner-up season of 2015, this fall would be the perfect time for them to renew acquaintances. It would certainly keep Butch Jones in the headlines for the right reasons.
Texas A&M vs. Houston
Kevin Sumlin going up against the team he used to coach? Sign us up. With the Aggies presumably on their way down thanks to their recent QB transfers and Tom Herman’s Cougars definitely on their way up, this could be the biggest matchup in Texas these days.
Texas A&M, which leads the all-time series 19-12-3, has won five straight in the rivalry, including a 31-7 home victory in 1995, the last time they met.
Vanderbilt vs. Stanford
The Commodores and Cardinal have never played, but it’s about time they did. Vandy coach Derek Mason, who spent four seasons on Stanford’s staff before coming to Nashville, would go up against his former team in the battle between schools with two of the brainiest students in the country.
Mason knows defense, so this matchup might be closer than expected.