B1G Football: Ranking the top 5 non-conference matchups for 2021

Penn State Nittany Lions players take the field (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Penn State Nittany Lions players take the field (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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After losing non-conference matchups last season, the Big Ten will feature some of the best matchups of the 2021 season, including Penn State Football’s clash with Auburn

One of the first dominos to fall leading up to the 2020 college football season was the elimination of non-conference games dues to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Almost all the power five conferences went to conference only schedules, cancelling a few major matchups like Penn State Football -Virginia Tech, LSU-Texas and Oregon-Ohio State.

The good news, it seems as we inch closer to normalcy on the back end of this pandemic, we should too see the return of some of these early season out of conference games.

For Penn State Football, 2020 saw the cancellation of that trip to Blacksburg for a date with the Hokies which was going to be the first leg of a home and home with them. A neutral site trip was rumored to have been discussed between the two schools but, with the Nittany Lions filling up some open dates of late, it appears we may not get to see those two play any time soon.

The Big Ten will be squarely in the mix of some of the best non-conference games in the country next fall, and could even ultimately play a factor in the Big Ten race and who ends up in Indianapolis in December.

Let’s take a look at the top five non-conference games around the Big Ten:

Honorable Mentions

Nebraska at Oklahoma – September 18th

Nebraska and Oklahoma will renew an old classis rivalry in Norman next September after last season’s game in Lincoln was cancelled due to Covid-19.

This game fails to make the top five because it may be lopsided on the scoreboard as Nebraska figures to be a heavy underdog in this one, however it may be one of the better uniform games on the schedule, as classic uniforms will rule the day on this one.

The storylines though however if Frost can get his bunch to compete and win this one would be something.

Cincinnati at Indiana – September 18th

This game features two of the darlings of the 2020 season. Cincinnati finished undefeated and represented the group of five in the Peach Bowl against Georgia, while Indiana lost once and were awarded a New Year’s Day Bowl game.

We will see if both of these team’s are for real and if they can carry the momentum into 2021 as this game just misses the list of top five games next fall.

The Hoosiers faithful did not get to enjoy the programs breakthrough season inside the stadium so it’s likely a a safe bet this game should bring out  a great atmosphere in Bloomington.