Non-conference games that B1G teams should add to their future schedules
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said the other day that he was open to setting up future matchups with Notre Dame. That got me thinking about which other rivalries need to be renewed or even started up.
Here’s a game every B1G team needs to add to its future schedule:
Illinois vs. Missouri
Last played: 2010
All-time series: Missouri leads 17-7
Why it should happen: Yes, bring back the Arch Rivalry on the football field. The two schools are going to be competing for recruits so they may as well compete on the field, too. Considering that Illinois doesn’t have a Power Five team on its non-conference slate from 2017-21, this definitely needs to happen. Who knows, maybe Illinois could recreate some 2007 magic.
Indiana vs. Kentucky
Last played: 2005
All-time series: Indiana leads 18-17-1
Why it should happen: On the basketball court, on the football field, on the badminton court, I don’t care. Indiana and Kentucky should be facing off. Bring back the Bourbon Barrel trophy and let these two bitter border-state rivals duke it out on the football field like they used to.
Iowa vs. Stanford
Last played: 2016
All-time series: Stanford leads 1-0
Why it should happen: Ok, I get that this wound is a little fresh and the Rose Bowl was their first meeting. But the Stanford band’s controversial halftime performance was the type of stuff that starts rivalries. Can you imagine how badly the Stanford band would get booed at Kinnick? I don’t care what State Senator Mark Chelgren says. This game needs to happen again (after Christian McCaffrey graduates, of course).
Maryland vs. Virginia
Last played: 2013
All-time series: Maryland leads 44-32-2
Why it should happen: One of the downsides of Maryland’s breakup with the ACC was that its rivalry with Virginia, which had been played for 57 straight years, came to an end. Even though they’re in different conferences now, the two schools still fight over recruits, and even students. You can bet Mike London would like to see that rivalry renewed, too.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Last played: 2014
All-time series: Michigan leads 24-17-1
Why it should happen: Thankfully, it looks like it will happen. New Michigan AD Warde Manuel said he was open to the idea, as did Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. Despite the fact that Brady Hoke infamously said the Irish were “chickening out” of facing Michigan, one of college football’s most historic rivalries could be back in the works. Thankfully for Michigan, Jim Harbaugh would be involved in it again…and not Hoke.
Michigan State vs. Alabama
Last played: 2015
All-time series: Alabama leads 2-0
Why it should happen: Again, I realize that this is a fresh wound and not a rivalry with much history. There likely aren’t many in East Lansing that want to see the Tide anytime soon, but MSU can roll the dice and hope that Nick Saban won’t be coaching come 2023. But even if he still was, seeing Saban come back to MSU and giving the Spartans a chance at some College Football Playoff redemption would make for a huge headliner.
Minnesota vs. North Dakota State
Last played: 2011
All-time series: Minnesota leads 6-2
Why it should happen: To be clear, I’m not holding my breath on this one happening. After North Dakota State went to Minnesota and won in 2011, Jerry Kill said “I feel bad for our students, I feel bad for the state of Minnesota. I feel bad for our fans, and I feel bad for our kids.” That season was the first of five straight FCS national titles for the Bison, and based on those quotes from Kill, that was the last time the Gophers would put NDSU on the schedule for a long time. But Minnesota’s two losses to NDSU were when the Gophers were B1G cellar dwellers. Without any more Carson Wentz, Minnesota can make a recruiting statement — NDSU gets a ton of kids from Minnesota — and restart the rivalry.
Nebraska vs. Missouri
Last played: 2010
All-time series: Nebraska leads 65-36-3
Why it should happen: There are Nebraska fans that dislike Missouri more than Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. The Chase Daniel era fueled a hatred that still exists, even if the rivalry doesn’t. The former Big Eight/Big 12 rivals split when both schools found new homes, but both fanbases would welcome reigniting this old flame. Nebraska already has future matchups with old rivals Colorado and Oklahoma. Why not add Missouri to that list?
Northwestern vs. USC
Last played: 1996
All-time series: USC leads 5-0
Why it should happen: This is all about Pat Fitzgerald. Some thought the Northwestern coach would be the next coach at USC. That didn’t happen and likely never will happen. But more importantly, this would be a chance for Fitzgerald to get some redemption after the 1996 Rose Bowl loss. You can bet he would draw up quite the game-plan to hold USC to less than 41 points this time.
Ohio State vs. Florida
Last played: 2012
All-time series: Florida leads 2-0
Why it should happen: This one is pretty self-explanatory. There’s a guy on Ohio State’s sideline that has a small connection to Florida. In fact, he won a couple of national titles there, one of which was against Ohio State. Buckeye fans probably wouldn’t mind a chance at some redemption from the Gators, and the storylines would write themselves. But it might be wise for Urban Meyer to let a little more time pass before he takes a trip back to the Swamp in scarlet and gray.
Penn State vs. Miami (FL)
Last played: 2001
All-time series: Penn State leads 7-6
Why it should happen: Two of the most storied football programs battled in one of the most historic national title games nearly 30 years ago. Miami infamously wore fatigues on its team flight, Vinny Testaverde infamously threw five interceptions and Hurricanes infamously complained about the game for decades. Even though both programs are in different places than they were then, this would be an easy marketing sell.
Purdue vs. Washington
Last played: 2002
All-time series: Washington leads 7-2-1
Why it should happen: Purdue fans might take this the wrong way, but it’s meant with the right intentions. Recruits were in diapers when Purdue last played in a Rose Bowl against Washington. Bring back Drew Brees and the rest of that 2000-01 team, play up the historical element and remind fans that Purdue has plenty of history, too. Nebraska did so successfully in its series with Miami (FL) and Purdue easily could, too.
Rutgers vs. Navy
Last played: 2014
All-time series: Rutgers leads 13-11-1
Why it should happen: One of college football’s oldest rivalries was put on hold after both joined new conferences. Scheduling the service academies is tricky because they force a team to adjust for a completely different look on defense. Well, if Rutgers scheduled it as a season-opener, it would have an entire offseason to prepare for it. Plus, Keenan Reynolds finally ran out of eligibility.
Wisconsin vs. Arkansas
Last played: 2007
All-time series: Wisconsin leads 2-0
Why it should happen: Getting to square off with Bret Bielema again would be all sorts of legendary for Wisconsin. Can you imagine the pregame conversation he would fire up? The reaction he would get from the Camp Randall crowd would be must-see-TV. This might not be a rivalry now or ever, but this would certainly have a buildup that would make it a hype-worthy headliner for any college football fan.