Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Looking at Pac-12 dream matchups
By Chantel Jennings and Kyle Bonagura
This week, Michigan State and Arizona State announced a home-and-home series for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, which got the Pac-12 blog thinking about what other dream nonconference matchups we’d like to see in the next few years.
Obviously, Oregon-Alabama is one that has been talked about for years and one that we never saw during the BCS era. Perhaps those teams will have the opportunity to see each other sometime soon, but until then, if schedules weren’t an issue and the Pac-12 blog were off scheduling everyone’s games, there would be a few interesting home-and-home matchups in the near future.
Jennings picks Washington-Oklahoma
As much as we want to see some Pac-12-SEC matchups, I’m going to throw a Pac-12-Big 12 matchup into the mix.
First of all, there’s some history there between Washington coach Chris Petersen and Oklahoma. Sooners fans surely haven’t forgotten the 2007 Fiesta Bowl when Petersen’s Boise State upset Oklahoma, 43-42. I think every Oklahoma fan would love to see their team get a crack at taking down Petersen again, even if it’s at another school. And for Washington, it’s an opportunity for a program that has become nationally relevant to take the field against a perennially storied program.
These two teams met in 2008 and the Sooners absolutely stomped the Huskies. It was Bob Stoops’ 100th win and it happened in Seattle, so Huskies fans probably remember vividly what it felt like to be shut out in the first half before stumbling to a 55-14 loss. It was the Huskies’ biggest loss at home since 1929, so I’m positive fans from both Norman, Okla., and Seattle would pack in to see this rematch.
On top of that, the storylines leading into this home-and-home would be really intriguing. It’d be one of those David-Goliath matchups that I think would actually be pretty evenly matched once the two teams hit the field. Yes, Oklahoma has seven national titles. Washington only has two. Oklahoma has five Heisman winners. Washington has never had a Heisman winner. Oklahoma has 44 conference titles. Washington has 15. But, with Petersen building Washington into a program that I think will be able to compete at a very high level in the next few seasons and Stoops keeping his program where it is, this is a matchup I would absolutely love to see.
Bonagura presents the Pac-12 vs. Big Ten challenge
No doubt a Washington-Oklahoma game would be full of intrigue. I like that pick, count me in.
When I was messing around with several options, I decided to go a different route. Instead of one game, here’s my proposal for a Pac-12 vs. Big Ten challenge. For the sake of making this more fun (and relevant), this hypothetical challenge would take place this year.
They're not all perfect -- some far from it -- but there are several intriguing matchups worth talking about in May. Plus, there were about 15 other combinations that were tough not to include.
Listed in alphabetical order by Pac-12 school:
Arizona vs. Michigan: Who isn’t watching Rich Rodriguez vs. Michigan? Anyone? Also, this game must be at the Big House.
Arizona State vs. Minnesota: Two programs that have had a steady rise over the past few years.
Cal vs. Purdue: Neither beat an FBS opponent last year. Problem solved.
Colorado vs. Nebraska: For tradition’s sake. Conference realignment ended this rivalry that dated back to 1898.
Oregon vs. Ohio State: Braxton Miller and Marcus Mariota on the same field? Yes, please.
Oregon State vs. Northwestern: Over the last two years, Oregon State is 15-10 and Northwestern is 16-10.
Stanford vs. Iowa: A throwback game in terms of style, Stanford (No. 11) and Iowa (No. 18) were both featured in Mark Schlabach’s Post-Spring Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25.
UCLA vs. Michigan State: Both schools have national title aspirations in 2014.
USC vs. Wisconsin: A pair of programs that know what it's like to spend New Year's Day in Pasadena.
Utah vs. Indiana: Both fell a win shy of bowl eligibility last year.
Washington vs. Penn State: Like Chantel's UW vs. Oklahoma game, there's a lot of tradition here. Although, it's almost a waste because if these teams are playing each other, one of the nation's best venues would be empty for The Challenge.
Washington State vs. Illinois: Want scoring? Mike Leach's Texas Tech teams scored 49 and 56 points against Tim Beckman-coordinated Oklahoma State defenses in 2007 and 2008.