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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Poll: Best North nonconference game?

By Kevin Gemmell

The nonconference primer series came to a close Monday afternoon with the final installment of Washington State. Consider yourselves primed.

Looking over the nonconference slate for each team, there are some good games. Too many to limit to the five-option maximum of a normal poll. So we're going to split them up with a North poll today and a South poll tomorrow. (Auto-correct is trying to change it to North Pole and South Pole, kinda funny). Both divisions have some quality nonconference matchups. Today, we'll vote on the North and tomorrow we'll vote on the South.

What's the most intriguing nonconference game in the North Division? Your options (determined by chronological order):

Aug. 31, Washington vs. Boise State: The Pac-12 blog hasn't been shy expressing its thoughts about this game. The rematch of last year's MAACO Bowl Las Vegas showdown -- which Boise State won in the fourth quarter -- could have tremendous ramifications for the Huskies -- win or lose.

Aug. 31, Washington State at Auburn: Two teams that were down last season, and two teams with offensive-minded coaches. And there is always Pac-12/SEC pride on the line.

Sept. 14, Cal vs. Ohio State: It's not every day that a potential No. 1 team in the country comes to the East Bay for a nonconference game. And considering how Cal pushed the Buckeyes last season, it's certainly worth tuning in for. I wouldn't say Ohio State is on upset alert -- especially with Cal thrusting a green quarterback into a new system with a new coach. But I'm not completely sold that Ohio State wins this one without a little effort.

Sept. 21, Oregon State at San Diego State: It should be a winnable game for the Beavers ... should be. But the Aztecs have been on a hot streak in recent years -- including a gutty road win at Boise last season that helped them get a slice of the conference title. Adam Muema is one of the nation's top backs, and Qualcomm Stadium and Mike Riley never really agreed. This smells like a trap.

Nov. 30, Notre Dame at Stanford: This one could have BCS bowl game implications. Last year's game -- and its controversial ending -- proved to be a turning point for both teams. Will this year's have the same implications?