Five dream non-league games SEC fans should get in 2016
On Sunday, the SEC announced its format for future football schedules. There’s very little new about this format, as SEC teams will stick to eight-game conference schedules that include six divisional games, one annual cross-division matchup and one game against a rotating opponent. One fun wrinkle is that beginning in 2016, all teams will be required to play at least one non-league game against a team from the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 (most already do this). If we had full control of the SEC’s non-conference schedules, here are five dream games we’d set up for 2016.
Joel Auerbach Kevin C. Cox Stacy
No. 5: Auburn Tigers at Oregon Ducks
Marcus Mariota – and other current stars – will be gone, but there’d still be an incredible amount of offense on one field. What would the over/under for this game be – 90? 100? The most interesting storyline entering this game would be a rematch of the 2010 national title game (Auburn 22, Oregon 19) but with a completely different Auburn team. Gone is the Nick Fairley-led defense that smothered the Ducks in 2010, and in is Gus Malzahn’s first-to-50-wins attack. Put this game in Autzen and enjoy the show.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
No. 4: LSU Tigers at Michigan Wolverines
Les Miles under the lights at the Big House? Yes, please. The “Miles homecoming” storyline would be played up relentlessly during game week, and if Michigan doesn’t have a new coach by then, the signs in the Wolverine student section asking Miles to come retire in Ann Arbor would be tremendous. Usually, any game would be improved by playing in Tiger Stadium, but this one feels like an exception.
Getty ImagesChris Graythen
No. 3: Ohio State Buckeyes at Florida Gators
Urban Meyer back in Gainesville – what’s not to like? Both teams figure to be national title contenders, and the spectacle of the Gators’ most successful head coach back in The Swamp would be must-see TV. Florida would have to honor Meyer in some way – you can bet Tim Tebow would be involved – while realizing some fans would probably not be so warm to their former coach. Either way, the show would be spectacular even before the game kicks off.
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY SportsJerry Lai
No. 2: Texas A&M vs. Texas Longhorns (Dallas)
Texas AD Steve Patterson said last week the rivalry game against the Aggies is all but dead for now, with Texas A&M in the SEC removing any obligation to play the game. Patterson said Texas would need a “real business or branding case” to play Texas A&M. That’s a shame, but it shouldn’t be a surprise coming from the guy who’s trying to figure out how to play Texas football in Mexico City. OK, so how about we put this game in Jerry World as the primetime matchup of opening weekend? Think that wouldn’t be huge business? Somehow, this game needs to happen.
No. 1: Kentucky Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY SportsMark Zerof
No. 1: USC Trojans at Alabama Crimson Tide
Two powerhouse programs with a deep and important history, USC-Alabama should be a semi-regular game. The brief backstory: In 1970, John McKay’s Trojans and their all-black starting backfield beat Bear Bryant’s all-white Crimson Tide 42-21 in Birmingham, Ala., initiating the integration of Alabama football. In ’71, Alabama beat USC in Los Angeles with John Mitchell, the program’s first active black player, starting on the defensive line. It would be fun to have Nick Saban and Alabama in the Coliseum, but this game feels like it must be in Bryant-Denny. Every fan in the country would watch.
Getty ImagesKevin C. Cox
What games would you like to see?
Have other suggestions for non-conference SEC games that you would love to see? Drop them in the comments and state your case for them to crack this top 5.