Oregon State's 2010 Non-Conference Schedule Nation's Toughest?
The Beavers of Oregon State were hoping to make a statement before the 2010 season even started, and it appears it's mission accomplished.
The Black and Orange will take on a non-conference schedule that rivals some of the toughest schedules in the country.
Hoping to stay in the national media spotlight, the Beavers will play two teams that participated in a BCS bowl game last season.
The only non-conference opponent they will play that didn't rank in the BCS Top 25 last season is a team that plays in a conference featuring four 2009 top 25 finishers.
Here is how Oregon State's non-conference schedule stacks up against others from around the country.
A related OSU article: 2010 College Football Predictions: Oregon State Will Upset TCU
Week One: Oregon State at TCU (Cowboy Stadium), Sept. 4, 4:45 PST on ESP
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This game has been hyped to the max, and rightfully so.
The match-up features a hungry TCU team that got embarrassed by the Boise State Broncos in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last season.
The Horned Frogs will be returning most of their starters on both sides of the ball, and are preseason ranked No. 6 in the country.
The Beavers will bring back offensive standouts James Rodgers and his brother Jacquizz Rodgers, but may have a weak spot at quarterback in unpolished Ryan Katz.
TCU is predicted to win as at least 10-point favorites, but most insiders would argue this game may be much closer.
Week One inter-conference games that rival this one: Well, there isn't much. They are only a few other games featuring two Top 25 teams.
3. No. 15 Pittsburgh at Utah on Thursday, Sept. 2, 8:30 pm EST.
Pittsburgh ended their 2009 season with a second-place finish in the Big East, and an overall record of 10-3. They bring back several weapons and will take on a Utah team depleted by graduating seniors.
Utah is not far from the Top 25, and the recently successful program may enter the Top 25 by season's end coming out of the Mountain West.
The SEC will meet the ACC in this battle. There are few other teams in the NCAA that bounce around the Top 25 like the LSU Tigers.
Maybe this season will be the year they return to the Top 5 to stay...
North Carolina has been steadily rising over the last few seasons in the ACC, and finally holds a ranking in the Top 25.
They will have something to prove against the Tigers, but will be playing in a neutral location.
Perhaps this game may overshadow the Beavers and the Horned Frogs.
However, it will be a Monday night game and must overcome the weekday viewer reduction.
A Top 10 match-up in Week One is certainly worth noting. Both teams will be looking at this game to set the pace for their entire season.
Boise State has officially arrived on the national scene, coming out of the WAC conference, after beating TCU decisively in the Fiesta Bowl last season.
Virginia Tech looks to keep their program in a position of prominence in the ACC. The Hokies have had strong recruiting classes and look to be rebuilt.
Week Two: Bye
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With the Beavers taking a break in Week Two, other games other games of interest will be on the menu.
A conference game between the Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina Gamecocks will be featured, but here are the non-conference games that raise eyebrows:
JoePa leads his squad against Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
If The Nittany Lions can pull off the upset, analysts and experts would have been wise to write their predictions in pencil, since serious erasing and re-formatting will be needed.
The Big 10 will be clashing with the SEC in this one, a battle of the titans of college football.
Where did Miami come from? Back on the scene in the ACC with new starters and an improving program.
Ohio State is still in the hunt for another BCS berth and Big 10 championship. Look for this game to be foreshadowing of things to come or both schools.
The ACC and the Big 12 will be well-represented in this match-up. Everyone wants to see how the Seminoles will handle their first season without Bobby Bowden.
Oklahoma once again looks to be in the mix for a national title bid.
Honorable mention: Michigan at Notre Dame, 3:30 pm EST
Both teams will try to battle back from a tough stretch of losses over the last few seasons.
Week Three: Louisville at Oregon State, Sept. 18, 2:30 PM PST
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Louisville is looking to rebound after nearly finishing last in the Big East last season. They may be playing an Oregon State team recently knocked out of the Top 25 by TCU.
If the Beavers find a way to defeat the Horned Frogs, they may get another major boost in rankings after being well-rested and going up against a struggling Cardinals squad.
This game looks to be the easiest of the three non-conference games for Oregon State, but the Beavs shouldn't sleep on Louisville. The Cardinals come from a tough conference with several Top 25 contenders.
Here are better non-conference games in Week 3:
With two major BCS conferences clashing, the Big 12 and the Pac-10, this game looks more interesting than the rankings would make it appear.
While Washington is the clear underdog, they will feature a future NFL quarterback in Jake Locker. These two teams may mesh well for an interesting game.
Air Force is an unpredictable team and may put up a respectable fight against Oklahoma.
The Mountain West conference may only have a few high-caiber programs, but Air Force is certainly one of the top teams.
The Big 12 will be watching this game as the Sooners look to show Air Force how it's done in the Big 12.
ACC vs. SEC. Great match-up of two major programs. This should be the game to watch in Week Three.
Week Four: Oregon State at Boise State, Sept. 25, TBA
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As if TCU isn't enough of a challenge for the Beavers, Boise State will be the ultimate test. Oregon Sate will travel to Idaho to play one of the nation's top teams on the infamous Blue Turf.
With so many offensive weapons and trick-play calling, The Blue and Orange will be the Goliath to the Black and Orange's David.
The hype of this game will largely rely on the outcome of Oregon States' first two games.
If the Beavers fail to show up against the Purple Machine, and struggle against Louisville, this game may not mean much in the nation media's eye.
The same goes for Boise State after they faced Virginia Tech in Week One.
Here are other non-conference games to consider:
These two teams don't play each other often, and hats off to UCLA for scheduling this game.
The Bruins are trying to put together a winning program, but have been stifled by injuries and coaching changes in recent years.
Texas, as everyone knows, has the most dense talent pool in the country and continues to develop future NFL talent.
If UCLA has improved greatly this season, this may be a good game. If they haven't, this will be a blowout.
One of the WAC's best against SEC's middle class, but a solid match-up nonetheless.
These teams will probably not be so close in the rankings come Week Four.
However, the Big East and the SEC feature several clashes in the beginning weeks, and this game seems to be high on the list.
Expect this game to be fast-paced and full of offense.
Top 5 Power Rankings For Non-Conference Schedules
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1. Oregon State: Had to rank them No. 1 for the simple fact they play two teams ranked No. 6 or better in the first three games of their season. They get a small break with Louisville, but it's no walk in the park.
2. LSU: The Tigers have two Top 25 non-conference opponents in the first four weeks and will have Vanderbilt sandwiched in the middle. Being just barely in the Top 25, the Tigers will have to prove themselves against non-conference opponents.
3. Oklahoma: With No. 20 Florida State starting things off against the Sooners, it only gets slightly easier for FSU against Air Force and Cincinnati.
4. Michigan: The Wolverines will have Connecticut and Notre Dame on its list of teams to conquer on the way back from the basement of major college football. If they can beat the Fighting Irish, it may show experts and pollsters why they are making a legitimate case for a comeback.
5. Notre Dame: As an independent, Notre Dame has free reign over opponents, but they went big in 2010, hoping to demonstrate their rebuilding process. They will have Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, USC and Pittsburgh to overcome.
These lists are always debatable, and readers are encouraged to comment with their own ideas of major match-ups, or to debate these. Also, if you liked this article, check out this one: