Monday, July 11, 2005

2005's top non-conference(non-rivalry)games

The BCS has altered the landscape of college football, mainly big time non-conference games. Since strength of schedule is not a part of the BCS formula, BCS schools fatten up on non-BCS schools and 1-AA teams in order to ensure a winning season and a bowl game. This is a list of the most anticipated non-conference games for the year. This list does not include annual rivalry games such as Notre Dame-Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, USC, Iowa-Iowa State, or Georgia-Georgia Tech.

1. Texas at Ohio State- This is the biggest non-conference matchup since Auburn-USC in 2003. The winner of this gridiron matchup has an inside track to the Rose Bowl. Do not be surprised of a Michigan-Ohio State 2004 outcome in the Buckeyes favor once again.
2. Boise State at Georgia- What a drop off from 1 to 2. Bronco fans and some media think the Broncos have a chance "Between the Hedges". Look for an UGAly game, Dawgs win big.
3. Arizona State at LSU- Many thought the Tigers were going to blow out Oregon State last year, and the Beavers should have won as they dominated LSU for over three quarters. LSU won't look past this Pac 10 team.
4. Texas A&M at Clemson- If the Aggies want to be Rose Bowl contenders they have to win in Death Valley. Clemson needs this win just to have a chance at winning season in the tough ACC. Look for shootout with the more balance Aggies on top.
5. Arkansas at USC- Many agree if USC loses this year it will be a Pac 10 road game at either Oregon, Arizona State, or Cal. The Razorbacks are more than capable of upsetting the Trojans, but without a proven quarterback look for the Men of Troy to roll.
6. Oregon State at Louisville- How bad will the Big East look if a middle of the pack Pac 10 team in a rebuilding year beats it's conference favorite?
7. Oklahoma at UCLA- Bruins usually played well early in the season under Bob Toledo, but under Karl Dorrell they are inconsistent and easily dominated. The Sooner win will start the Dorrell farewell.
8. Georgia Tech at Auburn- Underrated matchup, winner could be a national title sleeper. The Wreck is that good, but "War Eagle", Tigers are too tough on the Plains.
9. Colorado at Miami- Will be a battle of unbeatens, but not a great one. What looked liked a huge game just three years ago, is just a blip on the radar.
10. Notre Dame at Pittsburgh- A fun matchup that could go in two different directions. A Pitt blowout will make Irish fans question the hiring of Charlie Weis. On the other hand a Notre Dame upset will have the same Irish fans thinking BCS, either way it will be let down for the South Bend faithful.
11. Tennessee at Notre Dame- Last year's game was a chore too watch. By the time this game rolls around the respective teams will be going in opposite directions, with Volunteers aiming for Roses.
12. Fresno State at USC- Would be a top three matchup of ranked teams if played in September, but by November the Bulldogs will have had their annual mid-season stumble and the Trojans might not even be unbeaten and ranked #1.


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