Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats potential future football non-conference opponents: Big 12 Conference



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The Arizona Wildcats’ football program, the only Pac-12 team without an opponent from the Power 5 conferences between 2015-2020, has seven non-conference slots to fill in those six years. Over the next few days, this site will look at potential teams from Power 5 conferences other than the Pac-12, who could play against the Wildcats. The other four conferences include the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC. Notre Dame is a major independent that will play five ACC opponents each year. BYU is also an independent and it plays Arizona in 2016, 2018 and 2020. The Cougars have recently competed in the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conference.

Atlantic Coast Conference
Big Ten Conference

— Houston, Vanderbilt schedule 2015 & 2021 football series
— Penn State adds future games vs. Georgia State & Kent State
— Tulsa, Louisiana-Lafayette schedule 2017 & 2019 football series
— Virginia Tech, West Virginia to open 2017 season at FedExField
— Kansas State and Mississippi State agree to series in 2018 and 2019
— Colorado State completes 2015 non-conference schedule
— Missouri, Purdue finalize 2017-18 football series
— Michigan, Oklahoma schedule 2025-26 football series


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Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne says the Wildcats are in scheduling discussions with three other Power 5 conferences

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne says the Wildcats are in scheduling discussions with three other Power 5 conferences

Anthony Gimino of reported yesterday that Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne is “going to gear up” the Wildcats’ non-conference schedule with coach Rich Rodriguez completing what will be his third year in Tucson this season.

As an in-studio guest on Fox Sports 910 in Phoenix yesterday, Byrne said, “I told Coach Rodriguez when we hired him that we were going to give him a few years to get going. We felt that was needed. That is why you have seen some of the non-conference games early on that you have. But we’re going to gear that up a little bit going forward.”

That means Arizona’s diet of UNLV, Nevada, Texas-San Antonio will likely be upgraded to include a few more teams from the other Power 5 conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC — in the coming years.

Byrne made the interesting comment yesterday that BYU is a team of “major-conference quality”, according to Gimino’s report. The Cougars, who have competed in the WAC and Mountain West, have never played in a major conference, although they must schedule aggressively with their independent status. Through 2020, BYU plays the likes of Texas, Nebraska, Boise State, UCLA, Michigan, Utah, Arizona, West Virginia, Cal, Wisconsin, USC, Washington State, ASU and Stanford.

*Glendale, Ariz. **UA can play 13 games due to Hawaii Exemption Rule.
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Arizona’s last regular-season game against a Big 12 opponent was a good one for the Wildcats against Oklahoma State in 2012

Arizona plays BYU in 2016 (Glendale, Ariz.), 2018 (Tucson) and 2020 (Provo, Utah). With Byrne’s philosophy about BYU being major-conference quality that may mean the Wildcats will not fill remaining holes in the 2016 and 2020 schedules with a team from the Power 5. Arizona has one non-conference game to schedule in both years.

NAU, a common opponent for Arizona, is currently not scheduled through 2020. Byrne said yesterday that Arizona wants to continue its series with the Lumberjacks because “it’s good for the state”. That means NAU will probably occupy at least one of the remaining seven spots that are open from 2015-2020.

Byrne mentioned that Arizona is in discussions with three other Power 5 conference schools about filling holes in the upcoming schedules. This series is an overview about what program might be out there for the Wildcats to play. Three conferences have been analyzed. The mighty SEC will be looked at next in the upcoming days.

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Arizona’s overall regular-season record against: 20-41-5

Last regular-season game: Sept. 8, 2012, defeated Oklahoma State 59-38 at Arizona Stadium

Most played in regular season: Texas Tech, 31 times. Arizona has 4-25-2 record against old Bolder Conference foe.

Never played in regular season: Baylor (teams played once in the 1992 Sun Bowl) and West Virginia (never met).

Chances for scheduling a Big 12 team: Should be good given proximity of the conferences. Why Arizona has not played Texas Tech since 1988 is a mystery. Texas Tech is one of the handful of regional non-conference rivals who have played at least 30 games against Arizona. The Red Raiders have faced the Wildcats 31 times. That trails only New Mexico (65), UTEP (51) and New Mexico State (37). Texas Tech also has seven slots to fill from 2018 to 2020. It’s time to get the rivalry (albeit one-sided toward the Red Raiders) alive again.


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Forget about it: As long as the Stoops (Bob and Mike) are involved with Oklahoma, chances are Arizona won’t face its former coach. Mike Stoops returned to Oklahoma as its defensive coordinator after coaching Arizona for eight years (2003-11). … Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, who helped groom Stoops to be a head coach, is unlikely to schedule a series with Arizona because he is known to annually put together a second-tier schedule. Auburn, which Kansas State plays this season, is the only Power 5 conference team on Snyder’s schedule through 2017. Kansas State has also only scheduled 13 regular-season games against Pac-12 schools dating to 1950. … Iowa State schedules in-state rival Iowa of the Big Ten annually so don’t count on the Cyclones filling Arizona’s scheduling needs. Iowa is Iowa State’s only Power 5 conference opponent scheduled through 2021. The Cyclones have played only three regular-season games against Pac-10 teams, the last one in 1975 against UCLA. …

Intriguing: West Virginia, Rich Rodriguez’s alma mater and a coaching stop in his career, has not scheduled a non-conference opponent in 2018 and 2019. The biggest problem is Rodriguez did not leave West Virginia on good terms when he was hired by Michigan in 2008. A 2013 Public Policy Polling poll in West Virginia indicates people still look upon Rodriguez unfavorably (43 percent) compared to only 11 percent who are favorable with 41 percent undecided. … A game between Baylor and Arizona with Art Briles and Rodriguez as head coaches would be worth the price of admission. Both teams use a fast-paced spread offense. Like Arizona, Baylor needs to improve its schedule. Through 2020, the only non-conference teams of note on Baylor’s schedule are SMU (2014-16) and Duke (2017-18). … Why not have two traditionally strong basketball schools play each other in football? Kansas, with the popular Charlie Weis as head coach, has four holes to fill in 2019 and 2020 with only a home-and-home scheduled against Houston in those years. Historically, Kansas does not schedule games against Pac-12 schools, however. The Jayhawks’ 2001 loss to UCLA is the only regular-season game against a Pac-12 school in the last 22 years. … Oklahoma State has five holes to fill in 2019 and 2020. The Cowboys and Wildcats experienced a competitive home-and-home arrangement recently in 2011 and 2012 with each team winning at home. … TCU, which is known to take on all-comers, does not have an opening really until 2020. The Horned Frogs already have Power 5 opponents slated through 2019 with Minnesota, Arkansas and Oklahoma. … Texas, which plays Pac-12 teams UCLA, Cal and USC over the next five years, has five openings from 2018-2020, but the Longhorns have not scheduled Arizona since 1925. …

Big 12 upcoming games vs. Pac-12 through 2020: Oklahoma has a home-and-home arrangement with UCLA in 2018 and 2019, hosting the Bruins in the first year. … Texas plays UCLA at Arlington, Texas, this season on Sept. 13. The Longhorns also have a home-and-home with Cal on 2015 and 2016 and USC on 2017 and 2018. … Texas Tech plays at ASU in 2017 and hosts the Sun Devils the following year.

Source: Number in parenthesis is number of openings. *-UA does not have an opening.
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Source: Number in parenthesis is number of openings. *-UA does not have an opening.
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Source: Number in parenthesis is number of openings. *-UA does not have an opening.
[table “” not found /] publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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