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Sports >  NCAA football

Pac-12 football: Future nonconference schedules loaded with SEC opponents, including Alabama, Georgia and LSU

UPDATED: Wed., June 2, 2021

By Jon Wilner Bay Area News Group

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 recent announcement 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 nonconference matchups through 2033 using team schedule sites, news releases 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.)

Arizona

2021: vs. BYU (in Las Vegas), vs. San Diego State, vs. Northern Arizona

2022: vs. Mississippi State, at San Diego State, vs. North Dakota State

2023: at Mississippi State, vs. NAU, vs UTEP

2024: at Kansas State, vs. NAU

2025: vs. Kansas State, at Hawaii, vs. Weber State

2026: at BYU, vs. NAU

2027: at Colorado State, vs. BYU, vs. NAU

2028: at Nebraska, vs. Colorado State

2029: vs. Virginia Tech

2030: at Virginia Tech, vs. Wyoming

2031: vs. Nebraska

2032: at Alabama

2033: vs. Alabama, at Wyoming

Total vs. Power Five: 10

Best 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.

Arizona State

2021: at BYU, vs. Southern Utah, vs UNLV

2022: at Oklahoma State, vs. Eastern Michigan, vs. NAU

2023: vs. Oklahoma State, vs. Fresno State, vs. Southern Utah

2024: vs. Mississippi State, vs. Wyoming, at Texas State

2025: at Mississippi State, vs. NAU, vs. Texas State

2026: at Texas A&M, vs. Bowling Green, vs. Hawaii

2027: vs. Texas A&M, vs. San Diego State

2028: vs. Florida, at San Diego State, vs. NAU

2029: at LSU

2030: vs. LSU

2031: at Florida

2032: vs. Texas

2033: at Texas

Total vs. Power Five: 12

Best series: LSU

Comment: 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.

California

2021: at TCU, vs. Nevada, vs. Sacramento State

2022: at Notre Dame, vs. UC Davis, vs. UNLV

2023: vs. Auburn, at North Texas, vs. Idaho

2024: at Auburn, vs. UC Davis, vs. San Diego State

2025: vs. UNLV, at San Diego State

2026: at Florida, at UNLV

2027: vs. Florida

2028: at Minnesota, vs. Wyoming

2029: vs. Minnesota, at Wyoming

Total vs. Power Five: eight

Best series: vs. Florida

Comment: 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.

Colorado

2021: vs. Texas A&M (in Denver), vs. Minnesota, vs. Northern Colorado

2022: vs. TCU, at Minnesota, at Air Force

2023: at TCU, vs. Nebraska, vs. Colorado State (CSU)

2024: at Nebraska, at CSU, vs. North Dakota State

2025: vs. Georgia Tech, at Houston

2026: at Georgia Tech, at Northwestern, vs. Houston

2027: vs. Northwestern, vs. Kansas State, vs. Colgate

2028: at Florida, at Kansas State, vs. UMass

2029: vs. Florida, at CSU

2030: at Missouri, vs. CSU

2031: vs. Missouri

2033: vs. CSU

Total vs. Power Five: 17

Best series: Nebraska

Comment: 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.

Oregon

2021: at Ohio State, vs. Fresno State, vs. Stony Brook

2022: vs. Georgia (in Atlanta), vs. BYU, vs. Eastern Washington

2023: at Texas Tech, vs. Portland State, vs. Hawaii

2024: vs. Texas Tech, vs. Boise State, vs. Idaho, at Hawaii

2025: vs. Oklahoma State, at Boise State, vs Montana State

2026: at Oklahoma State, vs. Portland State, vs. Boise State

2027: at Baylor, vs. Utah State

2028: vs. Baylor, at Utah State

2029: at Michigan State, vs. Utah State

2030: vs. Michigan State

2032: vs. Ohio State

2033: at Ohio State

Total vs. Power Five: 12

Best 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.

Oregon State

2021: at Purdue, vs. Hawaii, vs. Idaho

2022: vs. Boise State, vs. Montana State, at Fresno State

2023: vs. San Diego State, vs. UC Davis, at Boise State

2024: vs. Purdue, vs. Idaho State, at San Jose State

2025: at Texas Tech, vs. Portland State, vs. Fresno State

2026: vs. Texas Tech, at San Diego State

2027: at Mississippi, vs. New Mexico, vs. Portland State

2028: at New Mexico

2030: vs. Mississippi

Total vs. Power Five: six

Best series: Texas Tech

Comment: 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 nonconference road games in any single year.

Stanford

2021: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Kansas State (in Arlington, Texas), at Vanderbilt

2022: at Notre Dame, vs. BYU, vs. Colgate

2023: vs. Notre Dame, at Hawaii, vs. Sacramento State

2024: at Notre Dame, vs. TCU, vs. Cal Poly

2025: at BYU, at Hawaii

2026: vs. Hawaii, vs. BYU

2027: vs. Vanderbilt, at TCU

2028: at Boston College, vs. BYU

2029: vs. Boston College, at BYU

2030: vs. Hawaii

2031: at BYU

2032: vs. Vanderbilt

2033: at Vanderbilt

Total vs. Power Five: 13

Best series: Vanderbilt

Comment: 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.

UCLA

2021: vs. LSU, vs. Hawaii, vs. Fresno State

2022: vs. Bowling Green, vs. Alabama State, vs. South Alabama

2023: at San Diego State, vs. Coastal Carolina, vs. North Carolina Central

2024: at LSU, vs. UNLV, vs. Fresno State

2025: vs. Georgia, vs. New Mexico, at UNLV

2026: at Georgia, vs. San Diego State, vs. Nevada

2027: vs. Auburn, vs. Hawaii

2028: at Auburn

2029: vs. Wisconsin

2030: at Wisconsin

Total vs. Power Five: eight

Best 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.

USC

2021: at Notre Dame, vs. San Jose State, vs. BYU

2022: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Fresno State, vs. Rice

2023: at Notre Dame, vs. Nevada, vs. BYU

2024: vs. Notre Dame, vs. San Jose State

2025: at Notre Dame, vs. Mississippi

2026: vs. Notre Dame, at Mississippi, vs. Fresno State

2028: vs. Fresno State

Total vs. Power Five: eight

Best series: Notre Dame

Comment: 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 endpoint. 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.

Utah

2021: at BYU, at San Diego State, vs. Weber State

2022: at Florida, vs. San Diego State, vs. Southern Utah

2023: vs. Florida, at Baylor, vs. Weber State

2024: vs. Baylor, vs. BYU, vs. Southern Utah

2025: at BYU, vs. Wyoming

2026: vs. Arkansas, vs. BYU, at Houston

2027: vs. Houston, vs. Wyoming, at BYU

2028: at Wisconsin, vs. BYU, vs. Dixie State

2029: vs. Arkansas

2030: vs. Dixie State

2031: vs. LSU

2032: at LSU

2033: vs. Wisconsin

Total vs. Power Five: 10

Best series: Florida

Comment: 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.

Washington

2021: at Michigan, vs. Montana, vs. Arkansas State

2022: vs. Portland State, vs. Kent State

2023: vs. Tulsa, vs. North Dakota

2024: vs. Ohio State, vs. Weber State

2025: at Ohio State, vs. UC Davis

2026: vs. Eastern Washington

2027: vs. Fresno State

2028: vs. Michigan State, vs. Eastern Washington

2031: at Michigan State

Total vs. Power Five: five

Best series: Ohio State

Comment: 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.

Washington State

2021: vs. Utah State, vs. BYU, vs. Portland State

2022: at Wisconsin, vs. Idaho, vs. Colorado State

2023: vs. Wisconsin, vs. Northern Colorado, at Colorado State

2024: vs. Portland State, at San Diego State

2025: vs. San Diego State, vs. Idaho

2026: at Kansas State, vs. Fresno State

2027: vs. Kansas, at Fresno State

2028: at Kansas

2029: vs. Kansas State

2030: at Mississippi State

2031: vs. Mississippi State

2032: at Boise State

2033: vs. Boise State

Total vs. Power Five: eight

Best series: Wisconsin

Comment: 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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