Ranking Auburn football’s top future non-conference opponents

During the current circumstances in the sports climate, many people are looking ahead, especially in the college football world. With non-conference games scheduled as far out as 2028, we decided to rank Auburn football’s top future non-conference opponents.

5. vs. North Carolina (Atlanta) – September 12, 2020

Mack Brown is building up the North Carolina program. In a year where there wasn’t substantial expectations, Brown went 7-6 last season, coaching the Tar Heels to a Military Bowl win over Temple. All six of North Carolina’s losses were by seven points or less, including a one-point loss to Clemson. Entering 2020, there is reason to believe the Tar Heels will take strides forward. How far along will they be in week two? Regardless, the game in Atlanta will be better than most people originally thought.

4. Baylor – 2025 & 2026

Auburn and Baylor haven’t played since 1976, and the Tigers trail in the series 1-2-1. While Baylor’s recent history suggests this could be an intriguing matchup in 2025 and 2026, there isn’t a lot drawing me to this matchup. Comparing this home-and-home series to the others I have in front of it, the other locations (California, Penn State and UCLA) draw more interest for potential road trips. Nonetheless, this series has the potential to produce some competitive games.

3. California – 2023 & 2024

This game checks a name off the list of teams Auburn has never played, which places them above Baylor on my list. Furthermore, pictures of the University of California, Berkeley show a lush landscape. Considering Berkeley is near San Francisco, the road trip to the game at California provides Auburn fans an unique opportunity.

2. UCLA – 2027 & 2028

Check off another opponent that Auburn has yet to play, even though they have played in their stadium before. Auburn and UCLA have never met, but the Tigers’ trip to Pasadena for the national championship in 2014 saw Auburn play in one of college football’s historical venues, the Rose Bowl. The game against the Bruins provides Auburn with an opportunity to generate some good memories in Pasadena, while also giving Auburn fans that didn’t have the chance to go in 2014 the ability to travel to Los Angeles and experience the city and the Rose Bowl.

1. Penn State – 2021 & 2022

If we are talking about the pageantry of college football, Penn State is a part of the discussion. The Tigers and Nittany Lions have only met two times with both games being at neutral locations. Home-and-home series allows college football’s pageantry to be put on full display. Not only will Auburn fans be able to experience Happy Valley, but Penn State fans will be able to experience Jordan-Hare Stadium. Hopefully, when the two teams tangle, the games will be played at night in order to get the full effect from the two environments. Tradition runs deep at these two programs, providing the grounds for some memorable matchups.