If all of the Power Five conferences go to a conference-only college football schedule – like the Big Ten and Pac-12 will do – here are 20 potentially great matchups
As the man said, always look on the bright side of life.
If there really is college football in 2020, the potential is there for one of the coolest seasons ever – if you’re a fan of a Power Five conference.
And why? All of a sudden, we might get a whole slew of great conference matchups that weren’t going to happen had the season gone off like normal.
Oh sure, your athletic department is totally screwed if you’re in the FCS, and the Group of Five programs – American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt – are going to take a massive hit, but let’s table the cataclysmic side of things for another time.
For now, just enjoy the flower growing through the gigantic pile of (bleep).
In an attempt to control protocols, schedules and pandemic guidelines – and, if you’re cynical, to not have to pay those Group of Five and FCS programs in non-conference games that won’t have fans in the stands to generate any revenue – it’s possible that all Power Five conferences will go to a conference-only football schedule for just this one year.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already decided to go there, and while the ACC and SEC are still figuring it out, and the Big 12 is still waiting and seeing what the options are, be shocked if everyone doesn’t make the move.
Yeah, it stinks to miss out on Ohio State vs. Oregon and Alabama vs, USC, but think of what we’re possibly getting with a world without fluffy tune-ups or cupcakes.
All ten teams in the Big 12 already play the other nine, so there won’t be any new matchups, but the potential is there for a whole slew of amazing games in the other leagues.
Here are 20 potentially awesome games that aren’t currently scheduled, but could be – not all of them could happen, though – if the Power Five conferences keep things in-house.
20. Louisville vs. Miami
Miami would LOVE to keep its conference scheduling as is with no Clemson – more on that in a moment – NC State or Louisville. The Cardinals and Canes have only played twice in ACC play – Miami won 52-27 last year – and this time around it might be an even more fun offensive shootout.
19. Stanford vs. Utah
Stanford catches a huge, huge break by not getting Utah from the South – Arizona State is the other team missed. For a team looking to bounce back from a clunker of a 2019, somehow not getting the Utes would be a huge help.
If Stanford really is back to form, Utah would get the gut-punch of having to play a strong Cardinal team along with Oregon if the conference goes to an 11-game format.
18. Arizona State vs. Washington
The last two games were close, but these two didn’t play last season. This year, this might be an elimination game – if they play – considering all the big things ahead for both of them.
As it currently stands, Washington misses the Sun Devils and UCLA – it would rather have the Bruins if they had the choice.
17. Clemson vs. North Carolina
Clemson 21, North Carolina 20. Can we have the same sort of thrill ride the 2019 game was? Please?
The Tar Heels are also supposed to miss Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse and Wake Forest. Considering them peeved if out of all those teams, they get Clemson again.
16. Florida State vs. Virginia Tech
This feels like one of those pecking-order-behind-Clemson games that needs to be played.
It would be a huge moment for the Mike Norvell era at FSU with a win, and a bad look for the Coastal if the Hokies dropped this. No matter what, a slew of narratives would come from it.
Virginia Tech won the 2018 season opener 24-3, but the previous meeting was in 2012. The two have only played three times since 2008, and once was a fun 44-33 Hokie win in the 2010 ACC Championship.