Our countdown continues with No. 3:
UCLA at Texas A&M, Sept. 3
Is this a marquee nonconference game? The Bruins and Aggies both finished 8-5 last season, so -- objectively speaking -- no, it's not.
But we've been begging, pleading, screaming and crying for a chance to see the Pac-12 take on the SEC more often. The rarity of such an interconference matchup has turned us into the Twitter equivalent of 200 toddlers throwing temper tantrums, all at once. Online debates about conference superiority oscillate between jabs about strength of schedule (or lack thereof) and taunts about games that happened several years ago.
Yes, there are folks that, for some reason, still point to Auburn's win over Oregon in 2011 as evidence for the conference pecking order here in 2016. Heck, I've even seen USC's 70-17 drubbing of Arkansas mentioned in a recent argument -- and that was way back in 2005.
The main takeaway: The Pac-12 and SEC need to give us more data points. We need games between the two leagues to provide debate fodder on Twitter and message boards everywhere. We need more firm events to hang our hats on when we blast just about every team in the other league as "overrated."
Last year, we got one such gift -- the first of its kind in a while. Arizona State played Texas A&M. But that turned out to be a 6-7 Sun Devils team against only a marginally good Aggies squad. There was nothing tremendous on either side. And then the College Football Playoff, once viewed as a potential supplier of Pac-12 vs. SEC madness, come up empty in that department again. The four-team system is now 0-for-2 in terms of giving Pac-12 fans the matchup they really want.
So UCLA against Texas A&M excites us, even if these programs aren't at the top of their respective conferences. They're both more than capable, winning teams -- and that'll do for a spot on this list.
Plus, there's another Pac-12/SEC matchup on this very same day. We won't name names yet, but chances are that it'll make this countdown too. So after years of clamoring for more action between the two conferences, we'll be spoiled with not one -- but two -- games between them on Sept. 3.
That may make the tantrum stop. At least for three and a half hours. And then, the message boards will catch fire again.