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Pac-12’s 5 Most Intriguing Non-Conference Games of 2015

We’re less than two weeks from actual college games, so what better time than now to start penciling in a schedule for how you plan to spend your Saturdays this fall?

We’ve combed through the Pac-12 out-of-conference schedules to identify the five games that you are going to want to see in 2015.

Set your DVRs accordingly.

Sept. 4: Washington at Boise State

Shall we rename this one the Chris Petersen bowl? The former long-time Boise State coach will take his Washington squad to Boise, Idaho to face off against many of the players he recruited, while on the blue turf he helped make famous, in a Friday night thriller on college football’s opening weekend.

02 January 2015: Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen during the Ticket City Cactus Bowl game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Washington Huskies at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Az.

02 January 2015: Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen during the Ticket City Cactus Bowl game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Washington Huskies at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Az.

Interestingly enough, Petersen is 1-2 in this series, winning as Boise State’s head coach in the 2012 Las Vegas Bowl, but dropping both regular season games played in Seattle (2007 and 2013). The game shifts to Broncos home turf for the first time ever, but it will be no benefit to Petersen, who will likely be in a most uncomfortable position sandwiched between his first love and his current love.

Sept. 5: Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Houston, Texas)

Alright Pac-12 fans, here is your one and only shot at the SEC in the regular season. While technically a neutral site game, Arizona State will pack its bags for a Texas-sized match-up on the season’s opening weekend.

There should be no shortage of points as Sun Devils coach Todd Graham and Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin square off in a match of two of the best offensive minds in the sport. The potential for highlight reel performances from each team’s skill position players is reason enough to make this a “must watch” game on your list.

There is some historical value  to watching as well, as it is the first time these two schools have played against each other on the gridiron.

Sept. 12: Oregon at Michigan State

College football needs more Power 5 clashes like this one. Remember how much fun this game was last year?

Now, take away Oregon’s Heisman Trophy winning QB Marcus Mariota and move the game to East Lansing, Mich. Still sound like fun, Ducks fans? I know it will be for the rest of college football fans.

January 1, 2015:  RB Byron Marshall (9) of the Oregon Ducks makes a catch during the Florida State Seminoles game versus the Oregon Ducks in their College Football Playoff Semifinal played in the Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

January 1, 2015: RB Byron Marshall (9) of the Oregon Ducks makes a catch during the Florida State Seminoles game versus the Oregon Ducks in their College Football Playoff Semifinal played in the Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Watching the offensive speed and flash of Oregon clash with the workman-like defensive grit of Michigan State is the type of game you just can’t help but get excited about.

Will the Spartans be able to keep the Ducks under 46 points this time around? Will the loser of this game be out of the College Football Playoff hunt before the second week of the college football season is over?

Sept. 19: UCLA vs. BYU

Quick, can you name the score of the last UCLA/BYU football game?

If you recalled the 59-0 beatdown the Cougars put on the Bruins in Provo, Utah in 2008, you’re likely either a UCLA fan suffering from flashbacks from the Rick Neuheisel era, or a USC fan that has that game on the brain for easily recollection when someone tells you to go to your “happy place.”

This time, the Cougars will come to Pasadena to take on a UCLA team that is far more likely to be up for the task.

This game could go a long way in showing us how prepared the Bruins offense is for Pac-12 with someone other than Brett Hundley calling the shots at quarterback for the first time in a few years.

Oct. 17: USC at Notre Dame

How could we make a list of Pac-12 non-conference games without referencing this gem?

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 27 National University Holiday Bowl - Nebraska v USC

While we make a big deal about teams like Oregon and Arizona State reaching out to play big name opponents, sometimes we forget that USC is stepping to the plate against the big boys each season with this game on the schedule.

The Trojans broke a two-game losing streak to the Fighting Irish with a 49-14 route in 2014.

But the series shifts to South Bend, Ind. for the 81st meeting in 2015, and both teams have aspirations of moving from 8 (Notre Dame) and 9 (USC) win seasons into positioning themselves to content for the College Football Playoff in 2015.

A loss in this game will likely seal the fate of one of the two teams.

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