8 non-conference games we're totally looking forward to for B1G teams in 2021
The 2020 season has been one for the ages, but hopefully the world of college football season looks much closer to normal in 2021!
For a number of conferences, the schedule in 2020 was reduced to a conference only slate. In the B1G, that meant an eight-game plus one schedule.
As a result of that decision, a number of non-conference games were canceled, including Ohio State’s anticipated trip to Eugene, Oregon to face the Ducks. Fortunately, that matchup is still a possibility for 2021.
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Provided next season goes off as originally planned, Oregon will make the trip to Columbus to face Ryan Day and the Buckeyes. That is just one of many non-conference games currently on tap for B1G teams, and after the 2020 we all had, some key non-conference battles would be a welcome sight.
Here are eight games in particular that we are looking forward to next season:
Oregon at Ohio State – Sat, Sept. 11
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal announced he is staying with the Ducks after having his name floated for a number of vacancies, adding a bit more intrigue to this matchup. Ohio State is 9-0 all-time against Oregon with the last win coming in the National Championship Game after the 2014 season.
Washington at Michigan – Sat. Sept. 11
Washington is also planning to make a trip east on the same day as Oregon, setting up a Pac-12 vs B1G weekend. The Huskies and Wolverines have played 12 matchups all-time with Michigan winning seven of those games. Michigan won the last battle in 2002 in a game between head coaches Lloyd Carr and Rick Neuheisel.
Auburn at Penn State – Sat. Sept. 18
Props to Penn State for getting an SEC team to travel to Happy Valley for a non-conference showdown. The two programs have faced off twice with Joe Paterno coaching the Nittany Lions in both games. This will be just the second game for Bryan Harsin’s tenure at Auburn after taking the head coaching job of the Tigers.
Michigan State at Miami (FL) – Sat. Sept. 18
The Spartans are headed south in non-conference action, all the way to Miami. It will be Mel Tucker’s first time back in the southeast as head coach at Michigan State against a program that was in contention for the ACC all season long. Miami is 4-0 all-time against the Spartans with the last matchup coming in 1989.
Cincinnati at Indiana – Sat. Sept. 18
Cincinnati is coming off a New Year’s Six Bowl while Indiana was snubbed all the way down to an Outback Bowl bid in 2020. There are a lot of similarities between the programs run by Luke Fickell and Tom Allen, and it will be a nice early test for both teams. The Hoosiers are 9-3-2 all-time against the Bearcats with the last meeting coming in 2000.
Nebraska at Oklahoma – Sat. Sept. 18
How about a renewal of a storied Big 12 rivalry in 2021? The Huskers and Sooners have met 86 times in their storied histories, though they have not faced each other since 2010. The coaches on that day were Bob Stoops and Bo Pelini with Stoops’ Sooners winning the Big 12 Championship by a score of 23-20. Oklahoma leads the all-time series, 45-38-3.
Wisconsin vs Notre Dame (@ Soldier Field in Chicago) – Sat. Sept. 25
The Badgers get a premier non-conference game at a neutral site in 2021. This matchup against Brian Kelly’s squad should be an intriguing one with the Irish coming off a College Football Playoff appearance. Though Notre Dame is expected to lose star quarterback Ian Book, the program is getting a surprise reinforcement in ex-Badgers QB Jack Coan who recently announced his transfer. The two programs have not met since 1964.
Army at Wisconsin – Sat. Oct. 16
Wisconsin gets another game on this list with a matchup against Jeff Monken’s Black Knights in October. The two programs are on the list of teams to compile 700 all-time victories. Remarkably, the two sides have never faced each other. Army will be coming off a nine-win season, its third under Monken.
Which non-conference game do you have circled for 2021?