Daily Blog •June 17, 2011

Marquee Non-Conference Games: Who Will Win?

Today I will take a break from the best case/worst case scenarios. I released the non-conference polls the other day and hundreds of you have already voted on who you think will win each game.

Here is a look at how the early voting has gone for all of the marquee non-conference games.

September 3rd

  1. Georgia (34%) vs Boise St (66%) Georgia Dome. Like last year’s Virginia Tech game, national title hopes are on the line for the Broncos and this could be the only game all season that UGA is an underdog. Right now 66% of you have the Broncos picking up the huge win on opening weekend.
  1. LSU (47%) vs Oregon (53%) Cowboys Stadium. This game will feature two Preseason AP Top 5 teams and just may be the biggest non-conference game this season. As of now the voting is tight and 53% of you have the Ducks coming out on top but keep in mind LSU has won 17 straight September games.
  1. USF (15%) at Notre Dame (85%). This one could be called the “Lou Holtz Bowl” and it will be interesting to see which team he picks to win. Naturally he was the last coach to lead ND to a national title but his son Skip who graduated from ND and was the Offensive Coordinator under him here in the early 90s will be leading the Bulls into South Bend for the first time.
  1. UCLA (65%) at Houston (35%). Last year the Bruins won 31-13 as Houston QB Case Keenum was injured. I think Houston has a great shot of a double digit win season this year and this is one of the biggest games on their schedule. However 65% of you have the Bruins winning this one on the road.

September 9th

  1. Missouri (34%) at Arizona St (66%). These two have not met since 1990 and it is an intriguing non-conf game because I have the Sun Devils ranked #22 in my preseason Top 40 and Missouri has won 8 or more games for 5 straight years. 

September 10th

  1. Alabama (87%) at Penn St (13%). Alabama is my preseason #1 team and this is clearly their toughest non-conference test but 87% still think they win on the road. Last year Alabama won 24-3 and had a 409-283 yd edge.
  1. Notre Dame (82%) at Michigan (18%). Michigan has won the last two meetings with touchdowns in the final :30 and this will be the first night home game ever at Michigan with both teams wearing retro uniforms. However, 82% of you think the Irish come out on top.

September 17th

  1. Auburn (36%) at Clemson (64%). Last year Clemson nearly derailed Auburn’s national title hopes before they got started as they blew a 17-3 HT lead and lost in OT. As of right now 64% say they get revenge this year.
  1. Michigan St (32%) at Notre Dame (68%). Last year’s “Little Giants” play (fake FG in OT) was one of the more memorable plays of the entire season. This year 68% think ND gets revenge.
  1. Ohio St (20%) at Miami, Fl (80%). This will be a huge test for the inexperienced Buckeye QB and HC Fickell. It is a night game and will probably be a rare sellout for the Canes. Right now 80% of you have Miami getting a key win for new coach Golden.
  1. Washington (13%) at Nebraska (87%). These two met twice last year with Nebraska winning the first 56-21 and naturally played uninspired ball in the bowl rematch as UW won 19-7. This year 87% of you have the Huskers winning the Rubber match.
  1. Oklahoma (63%) at Florida St (37%). Last year the Sooners dominated the Seminoles leading 47-10 before the Noles got a TD on the last play. OU is a different team on the road and this will be their biggest non-conference test as they figure to enter Tallahassee ranked #1 off a bye.
  1. Texas (84%) at UCLA (16%). The Horns have actually dropped 3 straight in this series including two embarrassing losses at home. Last year UCLA won 34-12 in Austin but 84% of you have the Horns getting revenge this year.
  1. Utah (58%) at BYU (42%). Holy War. This will mark only the 2nd time in the last 21 years that this game is not played as the final regular season game (2001). BYU nearly pulled the road upset last year as their 42 yd FG was blocked as time expired. This year 58% of you have the Utes making it two straight over their arch-rival.

September 24th

  1. LSU (86%) at West Virginia (14%). This is the Tigers first trip to Morgantown  and last year LSU led 17-0 2Q before hanging on for a 20-14 win. Right now 86% of you have the Tigers grabbing a key non-conference win.

October 1st

  1. Arkansas (36%) vs Texas A&M (64%) Cowboys Stadium. Despite the Razorbacks winning the last two years in Cowboys stadium, surprisingly 64% of you have the Aggies winning this year.
  1. Nevada (6%) at Boise St (94%). These former conference rivals are non-conference opponents this year and will again be conference opponents next year. Last year’s game between these two teams was one of the more entertaining of the entire year as the Wolf Pack rallied from a 24-7 deficit to tie it and benefited from two Boise missed FG’s to hand the Broncos their only loss of the year. 94% of you say the Broncos get revenge!
  1. Air Force (49%) at Navy (51%). This game is important because 89% of you have Air Force beating Army and 89% of you also have Navy continuing their domination of Army. So this one is essentially for the Commander-In-Chief trophy and it is very tight. As of right now Navy gets the nod but just a few votes either way could make a big difference.

October 15th

  1. Utah (64%) at Pittsburgh (36%). Last year in the season opener Pitt dropped a heartbreaker on the road to the Utes 27-24 in OT. This year surprisingly 64% have Utah going on the road and making it two straight over the Panthers.
  1. BYU (71%) at Oregon St (29%). I included this game because I find it surprising that a majority of you think the Cougars go in to Corvallis and get the win.

October 22nd

  1. USC (34%) at Notre Dame (66%). Naturally this rivalry is one of the best non-conference games each year and this year it will be ND’s first night home game in 21 years. Last year ND snapped a 8-gm losing streak to the Trojans and 66% of you think they make it 2 straight over their arch-rivals this year.

November 19th

  1. Miami, Fl (79%) at USF (21%). The Bulls were able to defeat the Canes on the road last year 23-20 in OT. This year they get the Canes at home (UM off road game vs FSU) but 79% think Miami gets revenge.

November 26th

  1. Florida St (86%) at Florida (14%). Last year’s 31-7 loss to the Seminoles broke a 6-gm series winning streak for the Gators. The Noles have lost their L/3 trips to Gainesville by 29 ppg but 86% of you say they make it 2 straight over their in-state rivals.
  1. Clemson (26%) at South Carolina (74%). These two have played every year since 1909. The Gamecocks have won two straight and according to 74% of you, SC gets their 3rd straight series win for the first time since 1968-1970.
  1. Notre Dame (33%) at Stanford (67%). This could possibly be the only game all year that ND is an underdog in and as of right now it is the only game you have them losing in as BCS hopes could be on the line for both teams and the Heisman for Stanford QB Luck in the final regular season game.

If you have not already signed up to vote all you have to do is fill out your name and email with a password and you will be all set to take part in the voting. Remember throughout the season, weekly prizes will be awarded that include great PhilSteele.com merchandise!

If you want to see where you rank against other voters, as soon as your vote is entered in, you will see the % stacked with or against you.

The Non-Conference Poll will run throughout the summer and look for the conference poll to be up on PhilSteele.com very soon!

Click Here to Vote for Non-Conference Games!