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Ranking college football’s best September nonconference games of 2021

The long-winding 2020 faculty soccer season ended with Alabama successful one other Faculty Soccer Playoff championship.  

The Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24, which accomplished a schedule that was impacted by COVID-19 from begin to end. A number of of these nonconference matchups within the common season that make September particular had been canceled. We’re not speaking concerning the conventional matchups like Iowa-Iowa State, which shall be good, too. We’re speaking concerning the recreation we do not normaly get to see. 

MORE: SN’s Way-Too-Early 2021 Top 25

This is hoping that adjustments in 2021. Listed here are 10 nonconference matchups we’re trying ahead to subsequent September.  

Greatest 2021 September nonconference matchups 

1. Clemson vs. Georgia (Sept. 4)  

The Tigers and Bulldogs meet at Financial institution of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., in what needs to be the primary top-five matchup of the season. D.J. Uiagalelei takes over for Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, and that have from this season ought to repay in opposition to one other loaded Bulldogs’ protection. It’s the first sizable piece of the Faculty Soccer Playoff puzzle.  

2. Oregon at Ohio State (Sept. 11)  

This was among the best nonconference matchups that was worn out in 2020. The Geese are the two-time defending Pac-12 champions and return a troublesome protection led by Kayvon Thibodeaux and Noah Sewell. Ryan Day, a former Geese assistant, could have one other loaded offense in Columbus.  

3. Miami vs. Alabama (Sept. 4)  

Hopefully D’Eriq King, who suffered a torn ACL within the Cheez-It Bowl, is recovered for this matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide stay excellent in neutral-site openers underneath Nick Saban, and Bryce Younger seemingly will be the beginning quarterback for the defending nationwide champions.  

4. Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame (Sept. 25)  

The Badgers and Irish had been supposed to satisfy at Lambeau Discipline final season. The matchup at Soldier Discipline in 2021 needs to be simply pretty much as good between two faculties which might be constructed round their offensive traces. Graham Mertz leads the Badgers’ offense, and it is going to be even extra intriguing if Wisconsin switch Jack Coan begins for the Irish.  

5. Auburn at Penn State (Sept. 18) 

Massive Ten-SEC matchups at all times draw curiosity, and first-year coach Bryan Harsin faces a problem on the street at Blissful Valley. Veteran quarterbacks Bo Nix and Sean Clifford have loved measured success the previous two seasons, and this one will decide who may be severe about making a run of their convention.  

6. Cincinnati at Indiana (Sept. 18)  

The Bearcats additionally face Notre Dame, however that matchup is on Oct. 2. The matchup in opposition to Indiana will set the desk for that both approach. Tom Allen and Luke Fickell have made important breakthroughs to place their packages on this stage. Michael Penix Jr. needs to be again, and receiver Ty Fryfogle is returning for the Hoosiers. Desmond Ridder introduced he is returning to Cincinnati, too.  

7. Texas at Arkansas (Sept. 11)  

This traditional Southwest Convention rivalry comes again to life in Fayetteville. Sam Pittman made progress in his first 12 months with the Razorbacks, and Steve Sarkisian could have a potent offense in his first season with the Longhorns. These faculties haven’t performed since 2014.  

8. Washington at Michigan (Sept. 11)  

This was one other home-and-home altered by COVID-19 this season. The Wolverines are sticking with Jim Harbaugh, and the quarterback competitors shall be a spotlight in Ann Arbor this offseason. Washington needs to be ranked for this recreation underneath second-year coach Jimmy Lake.  

9. LSU at UCLA (Sept. 4)  

The Tigers take a uncommon nonconference journey to the Rose Bowl, the place a younger roster led by quarterback Max Johnson and cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. shall be anticipated to steer a turnaround in 2021. The Bruins are getting into Chip Kelly’s fourth season, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson will search for a signature victory in his senior season.  

10. Nebraska at Oklahoma (Sept. 18)  

There was a time when this was the marquee recreation in all of school soccer. The Sooners needs to be ranked within the high 5 with an offense that options quarterback Spencer Rattler. It is enterprise as standard with Lincoln Riley. Scott Frost enters his fourth season nonetheless seeking to put Nebraska again on the nationwide stage. A win right here would do the trick.

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