One Game Every College Football Team Wishes It Could Opt out of for 2012
Every year, college football fans start to take a look at the out of conference schedules and see what primetime games are going to happen in the upcoming season.
This coming year does bring some great matchups, but they also continue through conference play and all the way through the end of November.
When reviewing the schedule, some teams look and wish that they could just opt out of a game that they will be involved in due to the location, team or timing in the season. Here is a look at the game that each team in the nation would opt out of if they had the opportunity.
at Notre Dame
Last year, Wake Forest welcomed in Notre Dame and lost the game by a touchdown. This year, the Demon Deacons have to head on the road in late November and will face an Irish team that could be competing for a BCS bid.
Right out of the gates, Clemson will be tested with their game against Auburn. The game will be played at the Georgia Dome and if Clemson has hopes of being a title contender, they will have to be ready right away.
While Florida State is not looking to shy away from any game on their schedule, if they could get rid of a game, it would have to be against Clemson. The Tigers have the talent to match them point for point and could beat them again in 2012.
Mike London did a fabulous job last year at Virginia, but the bar will be set high and an early test will put Virginia on the road to take on TCU. TCU will have just moved to the Big 12 and knows they need every out-of-conference win they can get.
While the ACC schedule is not out, Virginia Tech has to be hoping that when it is released, they do not see Clemson on their schedule. Last year, the Hokies played the Tigers twice and lost by a combined score of 61-13.
at Virginia Tech
Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets had their shot to take out Virginia Tech at home last year and ended up losing 37-26. This year, they will have to head on the road and will face a much tougher obstacle in beating the Hokies on the road.
Last year, Louisville earned a share of the Big East title, and in the third week of the season, North Carolina will head on the road to take them on. Under new coach Larry Fedora, it will be interesting to see how the Tar Heels look this year.
at Virginia Tech
Last year, Duke almost caught Virginia Tech sleeping and lost a close one 14-10. This year, the Hokies will give the Blue Devils their full attention and will not be caught off guard.
To kick off the 2012 season, NC State and Tennessee will be meeting in the Georgia Dome. Tennessee has the talent to really push NC State and will likely pull away early.
Last year, Boston College got their disappointing season off to a start with a loss at home to Northwestern. This year, the Eagles head to Northwestern and cannot afford to start the season the same way it did in 2011.
at Kansas State
Two weeks into the season, Miami will have to head on to the road and will take on Kansas State. Kansas State had an outstanding 2011 season and will be just as explosive this year as they were last season.
at West Virginia
After a rough year in 2011, Maryland will get a huge test to see how far they have come when they make the trip to take on West Virginia. Last year, the Mountaineers gave LSU a run at home and will certainly give the Terrapins all they can handle.
While the Wildcats should not beat the Trojans, it may be a game that USC overlooks. The Trojans will have Oregon at home the following week, and both teams have be undefeated. This could be a recipe for a trap game.
Two weeks into the Jim Mora era, the Bruins will welcome in Nebraska and will have their hands full. Not only will the Bruins have trouble containing the Huskers run game, but will have trouble with their defense as well.
at Arizona State
After a big rivalry game against BYU, Utah will have to head on the road to open their Pac-12 schedule against Arizona State. Utah should have the upper hand in this game, but it will depend on how much energy they expend against BYU.
While playing against USC will not be fun for most teams in the Pac-12, Colorado is still struggling to find their way in their new conference. With the offensive firepower that the Trojans have, Colorado will get run off the field.
vs South Carolina
Last year, Arizona got buried by a rough opening schedule and couldn't dig their way out. This year, they take on some talented teams, but their game at home against South Carolina will be tough for first-year coach Rich Rodriguez.
With some key losses to their defense and the USC offense coming back almost fully intact, Arizona State is in for a rough game at the Colosseum as Matt Barkley will throw all over their secondary.
vs Tennessee Tech
Whenever a top-10 team takes on a FCS team, you can feel the collective eye roll around the nation and that is what will happen when Oregon plays Tennessee Tech. The game will be nothing but a glorified scrimmage at Autzen Stadium.
For the past four years, Oregon has dominated the Civil War and three out of four of those games have been blowouts. Until Oregon State is able to rebound and strengthen their roster, they may not want to see the Ducks for a while.
at Ohio State
Granted, last year was a down year for Ohio State, but with head coach Urban Meyer now in Columbus, the Buckeyes will view out of conference games like this as a bowl game while they wait for their one-year ban to end.
While Mike Leach is taking over at Washington State, the Cougars open up their season on the road against a tough BYU team. While the Cougars will improve under Leach, things will likely start off with a loss.
With Andrew Luck, Stanford has been blown out twice in a row by Oregon, and this year, the Cardinals will be without Luck and will have to head back to Autzen Stadium, where they lost by 21 points in 2010.
In the second week of the season, Washington heads south and will be taking on LSU. While the Huskies have a strong team, the LSU defense will suffocate the Huskies and win this game big.
at Southern Miss
The reason that Louisville would want to drop this game is because Southern Miss is a strong team out in Conference USA and a win in this game would mean less than a loss would. Most overlook a win by the Cardinals, but a loss could really hurt the Big East's perception.
vs Virginia Tech
This year, Cincinnati will meet up with Virginia Tech at FedEx Field. The Hokies always have a strong team and will have their way with a Cincinnati team that will struggle to put up points throughout the game.
vs Florida State
Last year, South Florida got off to a quick start but then had their season go up in flames. Based on their schedule, it appears that the Bulls should get off to a quick 3-0 start and this game against Florida State could start another downward spiral.
The worst case scenario for the Huskies is going on the road and facing their old coach and laying an egg. This will be a high pressure game with a lot of emotions and may end up being the beginning of the end for the Huskies 2012 season.
When the 2012 season kicks off, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be playing without head coach Greg Schiano. While the game on paper does not appear to be a huge stumbling block, it will be interesting to see how the Knights respond to being without their head man for the first time.
Last year, the Mountaineers got blitzed by the Orange and lost, 49-23. This year, the Mountaineers have another strong team and need to make sure they are focused at home when the Orange come to town.
vs Virginia Tech
While Pittsburgh still struggles to find some offensive success, the Panthers have the daunting task of playing host to Virginia Tech early in the season. This game could get ugly for the home team.
With some of the losses that Syracuse had during the offseason, having USC come to town in the second week of the season is not something the Orange wanted to see. Look for the Trojans to open this up early.
vs Notre Dame
Notre Dame and Oklahoma will be getting together this year in late October, and it could be an important game to both in respect to the BCS rankings. With this game coming in the middle of the season, it could distract Oklahoma from the Big 12 schedule.
Anytime you lose a rivalry game, you find yourself with extra motivation the following year. In 2011, Oklahoma State embarrassed the Sooners and they will be waiting in Norman for a shot to repay the favor.
at Ole Miss
Three weeks into the season, Texas will head into SEC country but will only have to take on Ole Miss. The problem that Texas must resolve is making sure that the quarterback situation is settled before heading on the road.
Things changed this year for TCU. This year, the Horned Frogs enter the Big 12 and the level of competition picks up in a big way. While TCU should compete with most teams in the Big 12, the Sooners are on a different level.
Their Entire Out of Conference Schedule
Texas Tech needs to rethink their entire out of conference schedule. This year, they have Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico lined up. This lineup will do nothing for them down the road in terms of the rankings.
Last year, Baylor had an outstanding season and took down the Sooners at home. Bob Stoops is not one to forget about losses and will likely take it out on the Bears, who will be without Heisman winner and 2012 NFL draftee Robert Griffin III.
at Oklahoma State
While Oklahoma State will be missing some of their offensive weapons, the loss to Iowa State in 2011 should still be fresh in their minds considering it cost them a shot at the BCS National Championship.
Kansas had a rough 2011 season and it caused them to part ways with Turner Gill and bring in Charlie Weis. The Jayhawks still have not improved their defense and will run into some trouble with the Sooners.
vs North Texas
Two weeks into the season, Kansas State will host Miami in a huge out of conference game. The next week, the Wildcats stay home to take on North Texas and will need to remain sharp and not assume that this game will go in the win column.
at Arizona State
Just two weeks into the season, Illinois will have to head down to the desert to take on Arizona State. During the offseason, the Illini had some key loses on defense that could ultimately make it difficult for them to keep up with the wide open offense of the Sun Devils.
at Ohio State
Nebraska faces the same challenge that other Big 10 teams face. Going on the road to take on a motivated Ohio State team and playing in one of their biggest games of the year is a bad position to be in.
vs Ohio State
After only winning one game last year, Indiana will be challenged every week of their schedule, but will be taking on a rejuvenated Buckeyes team that will be motivated weekly do to the inability to go to a bowl game this year.
at Michigan State
For the first time in three years, the Hawkeyes have to head on the road to take on Michigan State. Over the past two years, they have gone 1-1 but will be going up against an outstanding defense playing at home.
Northwestern will be heading on the road this year to take on Michigan, and the Wolverines offense should have their way with the Wildcats. This year, Dan Persa is gone so the offense could be in real trouble.
at Notre Dame
In the second week of the season, Purdue has to head on the road to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. Notre Dame will have aspirations of getting back to a BCS bowl game and this will be a key win for them to achieve that goal.
After a surprising season in 2011, Michigan will be starting off their season in Dallas against the Crimson Tide. While Michigan is getting back to form, they are not in the same class as Alabama and will be overmatched.
vs Boise State
While this would normally be a huge game for the Spartans, a win over Boise State without Kellen Moore will not carry the same cache that it usually will. Michigan State must win this game or it will hurt them the entire year in the polls.
The schedule is rather favorable for the Nittany Lions until they have to head on the road in early November to Lincoln to take on the Huskers. While both teams have strong defenses, Penn State does not have the offense to keep up.
at Michigan State
For the majority of the 2012 season, Ohio State will play the majority of their tough games at home. One exception will be their trip to Lansing to take on Michigan State, who they lost to in 2011.
at Oregon State
Last year, Oregon State traveled to Wisconsin and left with a huge loss and the start to the end of their season. This year, the Badgers must make the cross-country trip and will take on a Beavers team that will not be short on motivation.
Making a trip to Iowa is always a tough task but in the current state that Minnesota finds its football program, the Gophers will have real issues with competing in this road game.
While Alabama won't shy away from any game, the game at LSU will have huge meaning for both teams. In 2011, the Tide and Tigers split their two match ups but Alabama left the season with the title. This year, the Tigers will be desperate for revenge.
Last year, the Razorbacks only lost to Alabama and LSU, and both games were on the road. This year, they get both teams at home, but ultimately they may want to avoid Alabama more since it is so early in the season.
No different then Clemson, Auburn faces a lot to gain and a lot to lose from this opening week game against the Tigers. Both teams will meet up in Georgia and the winner will have a huge addition to their 2012 resume.
vs Mississippi State
Since Dan Mullen has taken over at Mississippi State, the Egg Bowl has gone the other way and Ole Miss fans are getting tired of the disappointment of losing this game. This year looks to be no different, so taking them off the schedule this year may be best.
at Texas A&M
After a warm up game against Bowling Green, the Gators will be the first team in the SEC to get a taste of what it is like to take on the Aggies on the road. With it only being the second game of the season, the Gators will need to have everything together.
vs Georgia Tech
The Bulldogs schedule sets up very nicely in 2012. The Bulldogs have a lot of their important games at home and may be a dark horse team for the national title game but will have to finish strong as they play Georgia Tech in the end of the year.
Joker Phillips has done a nice job at Kentucky but has not been able to move them from the middle of the pack in the SEC. Their conference schedule doesn't start slow as they head on the road to take on Florida in a hostile environment.
After beating Alabama in their matchup in 2011, Alabama ended up back in the national title game and beat the Tigers in their rematch. Another loss to Alabama could be a huge hit to the program.
Their Entire Out of Conference Schedule
Another team to have a pathetic out of conference schedule is the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In 2012, the Bulldogs will be facing Jackson State, Troy and South Alabama. Hardly a noteworthy schedule.
South Carolina is going to be one of the front runners to make it to the SEC title game but there is a two-game stretch that could challenge that. First, they play at LSU, and then at Florida, but the game at LSU will not be an enjoyable visit.
While Tennessee is in position to have a good season, the ultimate test of how far Derek Dooley has brought this program will come when Alabama comes to town. If the Vols are able to defend their home turf, things could be looking up for them.
vs South Carolina
There will be no time for Vanderbilt to get comfortable at the start of the season as they jump right into conference play. James Franklin has done a great job while at Vanderbilt but an opening week conference game may be too much to handle.
vs Arizona State
Along with now playing an SEC schedule, Missouri is finishing up a home-and-home series with Arizona State. While the Sun Devils are not a powerhouse, they do not provide a break for the Tigers as they enter their first SEC season.
Texas A&M also enters their first season as part of the SEC, and if they struggled to hold on to leads in the Big 12, things will not go smoothly in the SEC. Look for their first trip to Alabama to be a one-sided affair.
Notre Dame heads down to Norman this year and with the return of Landry Jones to the Sooners, this game is not shaping up the way the Irish had anticipated. For a team that needs to stay below two or three loses, this could hurt their BCS chances.
at Boise State
Anytime you can pull off a win at Boise State, it is important but with the Broncos losing Kellen Moore, a BYU win will not mean as much. With the stakes being lowered, BYU may be better served by finding someone else.
at Wake Forest
After missing a bowl game in 2011, the Black Knights will set out to get back into College Football's postseason this year. Unfortunately for Army, they have to make the trip to a much improved Wake Forest team in late September.
vs Notre Dame
To open the season, Navy and Notre Dame are traveling overseas to Ireland to go head-to-head. Going up against the Irish in Ireland seems like a really bad proposition for the Midshipmen.
vs Appalachian State
Appalachian State has not only given some FBS teams some issues, but has also found a way to beat Michigan at the Big House. While East Carolina should win this game, it has very little upside and a lot of downside.
at West Virginia
Marshall has the daunting task of starting their season out on the road in Morgantown against West Virginia. The Mountaineers have way too many offensive weapons, and this could turn out to be an extremely demoralizing way to start a season.
After the Cougars took care of UCLA last year, they head out onto the road this year to take on the Bruins again. This time, the Cougars will be without Case Keenum and it could result in a much different outcome.
While most games will be a struggle for the Tigers, their road game against SMU may be one that they do not want to show up to. The Mustangs are continually improving and have remained focused throughout the year and will not overlook Memphis.
A lot of teams like to start their season out on a high note at home by showing up and taking care of business in the first game of the year. For Rice, they welcome in UCLA, who should over match the Owls even at home.
Before the calender turns to October, SMU gets a visit from TCU who will be more than ready after losing to the Mustangs last year. While the road win last year may have been sweet, it could come full circle this year.
Tulane opens the 2012 season with a game at home against Rutgers. The tricky part about this game is that with Greg Schiano gone, the Green Wave will not know what to expect from Rutgers.
Not only does Southern Miss lose their head coach Larry Fedora but they also have to start the year out in Lincoln against Nebraska. While Southern Miss had a great 2011 season, 2012 will get off to a bumpy start.
Tulsa has a very manageable schedule in 2012, but the one thing that they cannot avoid this year is their trip to Arkansas. Arkansas has a shot at not only winning the SEC, but also going to the National Championship and will not let Tulsa get in their way.
at South Carolina/at Ohio State
Let's be honest, neither one of these games is something that UAB could want, let alone playing these teams in back- to-back weeks on the road. This will be an ugly stretch for the Blazers.
at Ohio State
Much like for UAB, UCF has to head on the road to take on the Buckeyes and it will not be a fun experience. Between the environment around them and the talent on the field, the Knights will not enjoy this visit to Columbus.
Teams rarely enjoy their trip up to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers, but with the announcement that Montee Ball will be back for another season, the Miners trip got even less enjoyable.
To close out their out of conference schedule, Akron has the task of heading to Knoxville to take on the Vols. Akron is still a ways away from being a competitive MAC team and will not even keep this game close.
Since Turner Gill left the program, Buffalo has gone back to being a low end MAC team. To start the season, Buffalo has to travel down to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs.
at Virginia Tech
While starting the year off at the Swamp is not what the Falcons need, they also get to head on the road and play an even better Virginia Tech team.
Not much is worse than going to play at Norman against Oklahoma like the Cardinals did last year, but they follow it up this year by heading to Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers. Expect the same kind of result.
vs Michigan State
Over the past few years, Central Michigan has struggled so bad that Eastern has passed them up. The only good news about playing Michigan State this year is the game is being played at home.
at Michigan State
Ron English has done an incredible job of turning the Eastern Michigan Eagles around in a short time. While they are improved, the trip to Lansing will not be one of his bright spots.
While Rutgers is going through a transition after losing Greg Schiano as their head coach, they still have a good amount of talent and will take care of Kent State at home.
at Ohio State
While Miami of Ohio has made their fair share of trips to Columbus, they are not fun for the Red Hawks. This year will be no different as they once again head to the home of the Buckeyes.
Right out of the gate, Northern Illinois will be put to the test. To start the year, the Huskies travel to Chicago to take on Iowa, a team who will be hungry to rebound from last years disappointing season.
at Penn State
Most college football fans know that Happy Valley is a tough place for any college football team to play, and Ohio is going to find out first hand how difficult it can be to earn a win there.
at Penn State
Just like Ohio, Temple makes the trip to Happy Valley but unlike the Bobcats, Temple got Penn State's attention last year and will not forget how difficult that game ended up being.
Toledo is making their way down to the desert to start the 2012 season and they will be the first team to face Rich Rodriguez's offense with Arizona. The unknown intangibles of the new offense could cause the Rockets some difficulties.
Western Michigan will start the year off on the road by taking on Illinois. Although it is not an awful match up for the Broncos, it is still not a game that will be a whole lot of fun for them.
While Air Force has been one of the more consistent military academies, their scheduled date at the Big House will not be pleasant. With Denard Robinson back at Michigan, the Wolverines will run all over the Falcons.
at Michigan State
The Kellen Moore era is over at Boise State and now with the Broncos will see if they can keep on rolling or if they will face a setback. There won't be much time to figure it out as they start the year on the road in East Lansing.
The only thing good about this opening week game for Hawaii is the fact that it is the first game of the year for Matt Barkley and he may come out rusty, but either way the Trojans will roll in this week one game.
In the second week of the season, Fresno State will be making the trip to Autzen Stadium to play Oregon. While these two teams had some great games in the early 2000's, this should be a gimme for the Ducks.
After having to start the year at Oregon last year, the Wolf Pack head out on the road to start 2012 against Cal. Nevada didn't fair to well against the Pac-12 last year and will start off on the wrong foot again.
Last year, Colorado ended up beating Colorado State and the two teams will meet up again this year. If the Rams lose again, it could be a bad start to their 2012 season.
Last year was bad, this year could be even worse. The Lobos head on the road in the second week of the season and will be in Austin to take on the Longhorns.
at Utah State
UNLV starts out the year with three straight home games but then will head out on to the road to take on Utah State. The Aggies hung in most games last year and will be a hard team to take on when on the road.
San Diego State
Right out of the gates, San Diego State will be heading on the road and taking on Washington. The Aztecs will have a hard time containing the Huskies offense and keeping up in this game.
Right out of the gates, Wyoming is heading down to Austin for a game against the Longhorns. While Texas is still sorting things out at quarterback, their defense should stifle the Cowboys.
After an extremely rough 2011 season, the Florida Atlantic Owls are in for a worse 2012. Along with having to head to Georgia to play the Bulldogs, they follow that up by playing the defending champions Alabama
at Georgia Tech
In the second week of the season, Middle Tennessee makes the trip to take on Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have a powerful offense that will take advantage of a weak Blue Raiders defense.
While their first three out of conference games should not present a huge issue, the Golden Panthers will run into a road block when Louisville comes to town for a game in late September.
Last year, North Texas took on LSU and had their struggles. This year, they head on the road to take on LSU and will run into the same sorts of trouble.
Starting the year at Oregon is never a position a team wants to find themselves in, but that is what Arkansas State has to do. Despite a new coach and getting Michael Dyer on a transfer, the Red Wolves will get run out of Autzen.
With the season almost over, Troy will head on the road to Knoxville to take on Tennessee. Tennessee should be rolling at this point and with Tyler Bray at quarterback, Troy will be in trouble.
The Ragin' Cajuns have come a long way and had a great 2011 season. While they should remain competitive in 2012, the game at the Swamp will be a struggle, as it is for most teams from the Sun Belt or non-BCS conferences.
Unlike UL Lafayette, UL Monroe did not have the same level of success. The other bad news is they won't start the 2012 season with momentum as they head on the road to take on one of the nation's best offenses in Arkansas.
On Sept. 9, Western Kentucky travels to Alabama and the only good news for the Hilltoppers will be that they will leave with a nice paycheck because the game will be ugly.
Like other small programs, Idaho is going up against a top team in their out of conference schedule and Idaho is heading to take on LSU. LSU is clearly dominate in all phases and will make this a long four quarters for the players and their fans.
Utah State was extremely competitive last year and pushed Auburn to the limit in the opening week of the 2011 season. This year, they are heading to Wisconsin but will have a lot of trouble controlling their running game.
San Jose State
Despite not having Andrew Luck, making a trip up to the Farm to take on the Cardinals is never easy. With the power running game that Stanford possesses, they will pound on San Jose State all game long.
vs Texas A&M
Before the Aggies step into their new home in the SEC, they will take on Louisiana Tech during their out of conference schedule. This is a bad matchup for the Bulldogs and especially as the start to their season.
New Mexico State
New Mexico State is in for a long and challenging year, and it will remain that way until the end. The Aggies travel in early November to take on Auburn and will likely get burned big time by the Tigers.