College Football’s Top Non-Conference Games of 2011

As the time continues to tick away on the start of the 2011 college football season, our attention has turned to the biggest non-conference games of the season. Once again the first few weeks will be filled with huge match-ups that will help shape the title picture. Check out our list of the top 5 must-see non-conference games this fall:


5. Alabama @ Penn State, September 10th
Any time Nick Saban matches up with Joe Paterno, it’s worth tuning in. Despite last year’s 24-3 score and a potential dominant Tide defense this year, PSU shouldn’t be dismissed as a non-threat in this game. Turnovers doomed the Nittany Lion offense in last season’s meeting, and the crowd at Beaver Stadium will be a force. No matter the outcome, the outstanding tradition of both teams combined with two of the best coaches in the business will make this one a must-see.

4. Texas A&M vs Arkansas (Arlington, TX), October 1st
An old Southwest Conference rivalry renewed, this game will be the biggest meeting between these two teams in over 20 years. Both teams figure to be ranked in the top 15-20 for this contest, and both have the playmakers to entertain a national audience. Unfortunately for both teams this one is sandwiched between two tough conference games for each, but this old-school rivalry should turn out to be one of the most exciting non-conference games all year.


3. Boise State vs. Georgia (Atlanta), September 3rd
If there is one thing Boise State has proved to BCS schools over the past few years, it’s that the Broncos come to play for big-time games. This year their one game on a national stage is against the Bulldogs. Georgia is coming off their worst season under Mark Richt and has seen its record fall for four straight seasons, but the Bulldogs are poised for a rebound this fall. If QB Aaron Murray and RB Washaun Ealey can match Boise’s Kellen Moore and Doug Martin, this one could turn into one of the best games of the season.

2. Oklahoma at Florida State, September 17th
Last season the Sooners dismantled Florida State in Norman, and Oklahoma are the early favorites to be ranked #1 coming into this game. This game will have early national title implications for both teams; the winner should be near the top of the polls for the rest of the season. Coach Jimbo Fisher has FSU back on the rise though, and the Seminoles should make this one more of a game this time around. The Oklahoma offense may still prove too much for FSU to overcome, but a win here would put them into the top 5 heading into a manageable conference schedule.

1. LSU vs. Oregon (Arlington, TX), September 3rd
There is no better way to start the college football season than a matchup of two likely top-5 teams on a neutral site. A game between these two teams would be one of the highest profile BOWL games, and we are lucky enough to get it on opening weekend. An Oregon win would show that the Ducks are a serious threat to return to the national championship, while an LSU win would reinforce the SEC’s position as kings of college football and set the Tigers up nicely for a murderous schedule.

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