With all the talk about teams scheduling future non-conference opponents, it would only be right to acknowledge five future scheduled, or potentially scheduled, contests that should be played annually.
Now, it should be said that these contests are not very likely to become future annual games for various reasons, but then again, you really never know in college football.
Stanford vs. Vanderbilt
This contest, which could be dubbed the “Battle of the Brains,” has been proposed by new Commodores head coach Derek Mason, who was an assistant with the Cardinal from 2010 to 2013. It’s a perfect combination – except for the fact that they are over 2,000 miles apart from one another. Aside from that fact, Stanford is already a well-established football program and Vanderbilt is not a team to be slept on with Mason at the helm. Although we would probably not see this game until 2018 at the earliest, it would be a great game to see year-after-year.
Miami vs. Florida
The two teams duke it out on the gridiron every few years, but why not create an annual matchup? When the two come together every few years, it’s always a must-attend game for recruits – much like when both schools battle rival Florida State on a yearly basis. For the most part, minus a few years here and there, the two programs have been among the best in the nation, let alone the state. It would almost certainly improve the strength of schedule for each team, provided the Gators can quickly rebound from their awful 2013 campaign.
Texas vs. Texas A&M
Yes, this contest was an annual contest in the past. However, with the two squads no longer conference foes, the future is pretty murky due to scheduling conflicts. Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin and new Longhorn leader Charlie Strong are very smart in the recruiting department and it would be foolish for them to not use a tool that is basically sitting right in front of them.
However, both squads have key future games under contract. The Aggies’ 2015 contest against Arizona State in Houston could be one to keep for recruiting purposes, but the Aggies should do something with the UCLA (2016, 2017) and Oregon (2018, 2019) matchups. For the Longhorns, the 2015 and 2016 contests versus Notre Dame need to be kept, but a little rearranging in 2017 and 2018 with USC could be required. But, then again, the Longhorns have games with the Fighting Irish also scheduled for 2019 and 2020 and against Ohio State in 2022 and 2023.
UCLA vs. Texas Tech
This contest would be a great matchup because these two programs are more-or-less on a rise recently. The Bruins are coming off of a 10-3 season, while the Red Raiders are set to do well with Kliff Kingsbury in charge. Kingsbury and his staff have been hitting the recruiting trail hard and scored a big one in signing running back Nigel Bethel of Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington, the best high school squad last fall. Although Bethel will be suspended the first three contests for an off-the-field issue, once on the field, he should make a huge impact.
LSU vs. Wisconsin
It was announced back in October that the squads had completed a two game series deal, both at neutral sites. However, this would be another fantastic contest to see yearly. The two programs have had tremendous success and never fail to have a few key names in each recruiting class. The two will meet this fall at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Aug. 30 and at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field on Sept. 3, 2016.
It should be noted, however, that the Big Ten conference, home to the Badgers, will be moving to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016. SEC commissioner Mike Slive reiterated at this summer’s media days that they will stick with an eight-game conference slate for now, but will require each team to schedule one non-conference opponent from a power conference. The new requirement would be perfect for LSU because Wisconsin just so happens to fall into a “power conference”.
George Harvey is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @G_Harvey_.