Pac-12 football: Future non-conference schedules loaded with SEC opponents, including Alabama, Georgia and LSU – The Denver Post
In his first public comments as Pac-12 commissioner, George Kliavkoff noted that “everything is up for review” when it comes to improving the football product, including the schedule.
One component requires little, if any improvement: The lineup of home-and-home series against peer conferences.
With the announcement last week that Oregon and Ohio State would tangle in the early 2030s, the Pac-12 now has 117 games scheduled against Power Five opponents over the next dozen years, according to Hotline research.
And more than one-third of those dates — 44 in all — are against the SEC.
Colorado leads the way with 17 matchups against Power Five opponents. At the other end: Washington has just five Power Fives currently scheduled.
Opponents under contract include Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia, plus multiple home-and-home series against LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M and Florida.
The Hotline compiled all the Pac-12 non-conference matchups through 2033 using team schedule sites, news release and media reports, then cross-checking our list against games listed on the fabulous fbschedules.com.
Please note: The situation is highly fluid — a new series could be announced tomorrow, while an existing series could get moved, or canceled.
Also, we have only listed the years in which games are scheduled.
Grab some coffee and get comfortable …
(Power Five opponents in italics.)
2021: vs. BYU (in Las Vegas), vs. San Diego State, vs. Northern Arizona2022: vs. Mississippi State, at San Diego State, vs. North Dakota State2023: at Mississippi State, vs. NAU, vs UTEP2024: at Kansas State, vs. NAU2025: vs. Kansas State, at Hawaii, vs. Weber State2026: at BYU, vs. NAU2027: at Colorado State, vs. BYU, vs. NAU2028: at Nebraska, vs. Colorado State2029: vs. Virginia Tech2030: at Virginia Tech, vs. Wyoming2031: vs. Nebraska2032: at Alabama2033: vs. Alabama, at Wyoming
Total vs Power Five: 10Best series: Alabama.Comment: Plenty of B- and C- level dates are needed in later years, but we like the mix of Power Five matchups. The Wildcats can thank former athletic director/current Alabama boss Greg Byrne for the Crimson Tide series. (Nick Saban will be 79 when the 2032 season begins, by the way.) Of note: Mississippi State coach Mike Leach put up 257 points in his last five games against Arizona while at Washington State.
2021: at BYU, vs. Southern Utah, vs UNLV2022: at Oklahoma State, vs. Eastern Michigan, vs. NAU2023: vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Fresno State, vs. Southern Utah2024: vs Mississippi State, vs. Wyoming, at Texas State2025: at Mississippi State, vs. NAU, vs. Texas State2026: at Texas A&M, vs. Bowling Green, vs. Hawaii2027: vs. Texas A&M, vs. San Diego State2028: vs Florida, at San Diego State, vs. NAU2029: at LSU2030: vs LSU2031: at Florida2032: vs. Texas2033: at Texas
Total vs. Power Five: 12Best series: LSUComment: First-rate scheduling by the Sun Devils using the popular A-B-C approach, which features one Power Five opponent, one Group of Five opponent and one FCS foe. ASU is willing to play anyone, anywhere, and surely benefits from Power Five blue bloods desiring exposure in metropolitan Phoenix, which has become a recruiting hotbed. Then again, ASU has expanded the scope of its recruiting, too.
2021: at TCU, vs. Nevada, vs. Sacramento State2022: at Notre Dame, vs. UC Davis, vs. UNLV2023: vs. Auburn, at North Texas, vs. Idaho2024: at Auburn, vs. UC Davis, vs. San Diego State2025: vs. UNLV, at San Diego State2026: at Florida, at UNLV2027: vs. Florida2028: at Minnesota, vs Wyoming2029: vs. Minnesota, at Wyoming
Total vs. Power Five: eightBest series: vs. FloridaComment: The Bears have a slew of dates to fill, especially with B- and C- level games. Notre Dame is that rare one-off in which a Pac-12 program is paid for a road game with no home date in return. Sure, the experience will be popular with alumni and donors, but the reported $1.9 million payday will make the administration very happy. Four quarters of pain (or joy) in exchange for a paycheck that almost covers the entire travel budget for Cal’s Olympic sports.
2021: vs. Texas A&M (in Denver), vs. Minnesota, vs. Northern Colorado2022: vs. TCU, at Minnesota, at Air Force2023: at TCU, vs. Nebraska, vs. Colorado State (CSU)2024: at Nebraska, at CSU, vs. North Dakota State2025: vs. Georgia Tech, at Houston2026: at Georgia Tech, at Northwestern, vs. Houston2027: vs. Northwestern, vs. Kansas State, vs. Colgate2028: at Florida, at Kansas State, vs. UMass2029: vs. Florida, at CSU2030: at Missouri, vs CSU2031: vs. Missouri2033: vs. CSU
Total vs. Power Five: 17Best series: NebraskaComment: The Buffs believe their fans want quality opponents, even at the risk of defeat, and have acted on that sentiment with a stellar lineup of Power Five opponents. We’d love an annual game against Nebraska but will take anything available. Of note: The home game against Missouri was scheduled for 2025 — on the 35th anniversary of the Fifth Down game — but has been moved to 2031. And in news from the future: Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell has called in sick for the month of September in 2022.
2021: at Ohio State, vs. Fresno State, vs. Stony Brook2022: vs. Georgia (in Atlanta), vs. BYU, vs. Eastern Washington2023: at Texas Tech, vs. Portland State, vs. Hawaii2024: vs. Texas Tech, vs. Boise State, vs. Idaho, at Hawaii2025: vs. Oklahoma State, at Boise State, vs Montana State2026: at Oklahoma State, vs. Portland State, vs. Boise State2027: at Baylor, vs. Utah State2028: vs. Baylor, at Utah State2029: at Michigan State, vs. Utah State2030: vs. Michigan State2032: vs. Ohio State2033: at Ohio State
Total vs. Power Five: 12Best series: Ohio State* and Georgia*Comment: Forget the wait until 2032-33. Our selections for the best series are single games against the Buckeyes (Week Two in 2021) and Bulldogs (Week One in 2022), which carry high stakes for the Ducks and the Pac-12. Boise State and Utah State are ideal B-level games, with the Ducks’ road dates coming in years they host a Power Five foe. Note that four games are scheduled in 2024 thanks to the Hawaii travel exemption.
2021: at Purdue, vs. Hawaii, vs. Idaho2022: vs. Boise State, vs. Montana State, at Fresno State2023: vs. San Diego State, vs. UC Davis, at Boise State2024: vs. Purdue, vs. Idaho State, at San Jose State2025: at Texas Tech, vs. Portland State, vs. Fresno State2026: vs. Texas Tech, at San Diego State2027: at Mississippi, vs. New Mexico, vs. Portland State2028: at New Mexico2030: vs. Mississippi
Total vs. Power Five: sixBest series: Texas TechComment: We selected Texas Tech as the top series, over Ole Miss, because the recruiting is more valuable for the Beavers in Texas than the Deep South. That said, Purdue, Ole Miss and TTU are all quality series for Oregon State — they stand out on the home schedule but are also winnable on the road. (Unfortunately, the 2022-23 windows are devoid of Power Five opponents.) Wisely, the Beavers don’t have two non-conference road games in any single year.
2021: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Kansas State (in Arlington), at Vanderbilt2022: at Notre Dame, vs. BYU, vs. Colgate2023: vs. Notre Dame, at Hawaii,, vs Sacramento State2024: at Notre Dame, vs. TCU, vs. Cal Poly2025: at BYU at Hawaii2026: vs. Hawaii, vs. BYU2027: vs. Vanderbilt, at TCU2028: at Boston College, vs. BYU2029: vs. Boston College, at BYU2030: vs. Hawaii2031: at BYU2032: vs. Vanderbilt2033: at Vanderbilt
Total vs. Power Five: 13Best series: VanderbiltComment: This year’s schedule is pure brutality — all Power Five opponents and only one at home — but the lineup turns manageable in ’22 and remains so through the decade. (The four-game series with Vanderbilt was arranged years ago by David Shaw and then-Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, a former Stanford assistant.) BYU makes sense in several regards, not the least of which is the Cougars’ availability in late November in years that Stanford doesn’t finish with Notre Dame. The Cougars work for USC for the same reason.
2021: vs. LSU, vs. Hawaii, vs. Fresno State2022: vs. Bowling Green, vs. Alabama State, vs. South Alabama2023: at San Diego State, vs. Coastal Carolina, vs. North Carolina Central2024: at LSU, vs. UNLV, vs. Fresno State2025: vs. Georgia, vs. New Mexico, at UNLV2026: at Georgia, vs. San Diego State, vs. Nevada2027: vs. Auburn, vs. Hawaii2028: at Auburn2029: vs. Wisconsin2030: at Wisconsin
Total vs. Power Five: eightBest series: LSU or Georgia (coin flip)Comment: Much has been made of the Bruins’ recent decision to schedule two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Alabama State and N.C. Central) and end their existence as one of the three programs to never face an FCS opponent (USC and Notre Dame are the others). Less has been made of the reason UCLA had the two vacancies: Michigan backed out of a home-and-home series in 2022-23 that would have given the Bruins a perfect lineup of A-level games through the decade.
2021: at Notre Dame, vs. San Jose State, vs. BYU2022: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Fresno State, vs. Rice2023: at Notre Dame, vs. Nevada, vs. BYU2024: vs. Notre Dame, vs. San Jose State2025: at Notre Dame, vs. Mississippi2026: vs. Notre Dame, at Mississippi, vs. Fresno State2028: vs. Fresno State
Total vs. Power Five: eightBest series: Notre DameComment: Two games against former coach Lane Kiffin, assuming he’s still in charge at Ole Miss in 2025, should be loads of fun, but the Notre Dame series is one of the grandest in the sport and seems likely to be extended beyond the current end point. The Trojans are taking a wait-and-see approach for the second half of the decade as the structure of the playoff, which should be determined this summer, could impact their strategy with Power Five opponents.
2021: at BYU, at San Diego State, vs. Weber State2022: at Florida, vs. San Diego State, vs. Southern Utah2023: vs. Florida, at Baylor, vs. Weber State2024: vs. Baylor, vs. BYU, vs. Southern Utah2025: at BYU, vs. Wyoming2026: vs. Arkansas, vs. BYU, at Houston2027: vs. Houston, vs. Wyoming, at BYU2028: at Wisconsin, vs. BYU, vs. Dixie State2029: vs. Arkansas2030: vs. Dixie State2031: vs. LSU2032: at LSU2033: vs. Wisconsin
Total vs. Power Five: 10Best series: FloridaComment: Well, look who’s loading up on Power Five opponents. The Utes have dramatically upgraded their schedule in recent years and agreed to home-and-homes with three SEC programs. The Florida matchup reportedly will mark the first time a Pac-12 team has faced the Gators since 1989. (UF coach Dan Mullen and Utah’s Kyle Whittingham were assistants together on Urban Meyer’s staff in Salt Lake City.) We’d love to see the Holy War every year, but the two-season pause is a small price for the Florida series.
2021: at Michigan, vs. Montana, vs. Arkansas State2022: vs. Portland State, vs. Kent State2023: vs. Tulsa, vs. North Dakota2024: vs. Ohio State, vs. Weber State2025: at Ohio State, vs. UC Davis2026: vs. Eastern Washington2027: vs. Fresno State2028: vs. Michigan State, vs. Eastern Washington2031: at Michigan State
Total vs. Power Five: fiveBest series: Ohio StateComment: We fully expect the Huskies to add a slew of Power Five opponents to what is, as this point, a light lineup: They need at least one game every year starting in 2022. (Hopefully, UW and Michigan will find a way to reschedule the lost 2020 showdown in Husky Stadium.) Future duels against Power Five foes could come in the form of neutral site affairs on Labor Day weekend, similar to UW’s tangle with Auburn a few years ago in Atlanta. In that regard, Washington could be one of the prime beneficiaries if the Pac-12 secures an annual marquee showdown in Las Vegas, which should be a priority for Kliavkoff.
2021: vs. Utah State, vs. BYU, vs. Portland State2022: at Wisconsin, vs. Idaho, vs. Colorado State2023: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Northern Colorado, at Colorado State2024: vs. Portland State, at San Diego State2025: vs. San Diego State, vs. Idaho2026: at Kansas State, vs. Fresno State2027: vs. Kansas, at Fresno State2028: at Kansas2029: vs. Kansas State2030: at Mississippi State2031: vs. Mississippi State2032: at Boise State2033: vs. Boise State
Total vs. Power Five: eightBest series: WisconsinComment: We selected Wisconsin as the top series because of deep skepticism that 60-year-old Mike Leach will still be coaching MSU when the next decade arrives. (If he is, the game-week news conference will be sensational.) All in all, the Cougars have done quite well for themselves: Convincing Power Five teams to visit Pullman isn’t easy, and they have four committed to making the trek. (After much internal debate, we decided to count Kansas as a Power Five.) For logistical and competitive reasons, Boise State and BYU are excellent opponents for WSU, and there are plenty of openings for more of both.
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