Top Pac-12 nonconference games of 2016

With a record 10 bowl-eligible teams in 2015, there are a number of Pac-12 games to look forward to over the next few weeks. That doesn't mean we can't take a peek at next year, which will bring several intriguing nonconference games.

Here are the 10 we're most looking forward to:

10. Kansas State at Stanford, Sept. 2

The Cardinal learned all too well what kind of ramifications a Week 1 loss can have after their loss to Northwestern prevented a trip to the College Football Playoff. Stanford will break in a new starting quarterback -- Keller Chryst or Ryan Burns -- as running back Christian McCaffrey tries to build of his sensational sophomore year.

9. Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 26

Played in the final week of the regular season, this has the potential to turn out to be the most important nonconference game of the season. That’s what both teams are hoping for, at least.

8. BYU at Utah, Sept. 10

A rematch of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, the Holy War is back on the regular-season schedule for the first time since 2013. In a related note, Kalani Sitake, as of early Friday morning, was still employed as the defensive coordinator at Oregon State.

7. Washington State at Boise State, Sept. 10

Always a tough place to play, a win in Boise has the potential to make the WSU-Oregon game three weeks later a national game of the week candidate.

6. Texas Tech at Arizona State, Sept. 10

New Arizona State offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey guided Southern Miss to huge offensive numbers this year and playing Texas Tech at home -- after opening with Northern Arizona -- gives him a stage to make favorable impression on Sun Devils fans.

5. Texas at Cal, Sept. 17

The Bears won in Austin this year, but that was with Jared Goff and Co. With Goff likely headed to the NFL, Cal is a bit of an unknown. This should answer a lot of questions.

4. Oregon at Nebraska, Sept. 17

If Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop really is Vernon Adams Jr. 2.0, a trip to Lincoln -- where Mike Riley awaits -- should provide a good environment to introduce him to the country.

3. Stanford at Notre Dame, Oct. 15

This year’s meeting was an all-time great, so it’s not too early to look ahead. Except, Stanford doesn’t have that luxury as it faces an absolutely brutal slate to open the year: Kansas State, USC, at UCLA, at Washington, Washington State, at Notre Dame. Ouch.

2. UCLA at Texas A&M, Sept. 3

About a week ago this game had the potential to be one of the more intriguing quarterback battles in nonconference play. Now, after Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen decided to transfer from Texas A&M, it just figures to be UCLA QB Josh Rosen’s opportunity to make an early impression on Heisman Trophy voters.

1. USC vs Alabama, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Sept. 3

Texas is home to a pair of Pac-12 vs. SEC games on the same day. This one, though, is the main event. The Trojans and Crimson Tide, two of college football’s most storied programs, haven’t met since 1985. With its Heisman-winning running back Derrick Henry, Alabama might come in as the defending national champion and, barring an unforeseen change, will have former USC coach Lane Kiffin calling plays. More of this, please.