For the most part, the NCAA is pretty good at scheduling some quality (or at least appealing on paper) non-conference games every season.
2018 will definitely be no exception to that as proud die-hard fans of the sports (like myself) will be treated to a healthy dose of intriguing non-conference matchups.
Even though there is a “healthy dose” of games, it’s one of those things that seems like there could always be more of. And it seems like teams are agreeing, such as Nick Saban and the reigning National Champions.
Staying with the upcoming 2018 season, here are 3 of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in the first month of the season:
1. Michigan vs. Notre Dame Sept. 1
The rivalry between two of the winningest programs in college football history returns in week 1 of the season after a 4-year absence.
For a die-hard Irish fan like myself who happens to live with a die-hard Wolverines fan at school, the return couldn’t be bigger. Not only do these teams look good together on the same field and have the historical stats to back it up, this rivalry is known for providing some real down to the wire, nail-biting contests. Whether both teams are having a good season or not, most can agree, this matchup is one of the best college football has to offer.
An example of great games would be the three-game stretch from 2009-2011 in which the winning touchdown was scored with 30 seconds or less to go in the 4th quarter.
Of course, each of those touchdowns were scored by Michigan. The last of those 3 came during the first-ever night game in the “Big House” and capped off a Wolverines comeback after being down 17 going into the 4th quarter.
2. USC vs. Texas Sept. 15
Another matchup between two of the winningest programs, the Trojans and Longhorns will duel it out for the second consecutive year with USC winning in a double-overtime thriller 27-24 in 2017.
Now, this matchup is very similar to the previously listed one not just in the programs prestigious status and looking good on the same field, but these two teams are also known for producing some classic games.
The most memorable of these is the 2006 BCS National Championship Game.
3. LSU vs. Miami Sept. 1 in Arlington, Texas
What sticks out about this game is fact that both teams have great potential to be great in 2018. But no one is 100% sure how good they’ll actually do.
Hurricanes head coach and alumni Mark Richt has the program on the verge of returning to their former glory thanks to his exceptional coaching and recruiting.
As for Tiger’s coach Ed Oregon, experts and fans are still speculating whether or not he has what it takes to get LSU to contend for a playoff spot.
This game has great potential to set the tone for both team’s seasons.
The image used in this article was provided by Jim Small’s ND Go Irish Blog