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Big Ten Football: 5 Non-Conference Rivalries That Should Become Annual Games

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Big Ten Football: 5 Non-Conference Rivalries That Should Become Annual Games

Big Ten Football Non-Conference Rivalry Games
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With the new college football playoff system placing an emphasis on a strong non-conference schedule, some of the old natural rivalries nixed by conference realignment could spring to life again. While the most exciting current rivalry games are the product of years of in-conference battles, a few programs have also cultivated interesting matchups outside the Big Ten. Here are five that should become annual clashes.

5. Maryland vs. Virginia

Maryland vs. Virginia Football Rivalry Game
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5. Maryland vs. Virginia

Maryland vs. Virginia Football Rivalry Game
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These longtime ACC foes have been playing for DMV (District-Maryland-Virginia) bragging rights since 1919, but with the Terrapins' switch to the Big Ten, the game's future is in jeopardy despite 57 consecutive years of battles. However, the schools could turn this into a big annual non-conference event by choosing to alternate between their respective stadiums and FedEx Field, the home of the Washington Redskins.

4. Illinois vs. Missouri

Illinois vs. Missouri Football Rivalry Game
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4. Illinois vs. Missouri

Illinois vs. Missouri Football Rivalry Game
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The 'Arch Rivalry' dates back to 1896, and though these schools have only played 24 times since then, the game still creates a lot of interest due to the proximity of both schools to St. Louis. A clash with an SEC team each year at the St. Louis Rams' Edward Jones Dome would boost Illinois' national presence and provide an opportunity for both schools to improve their chances of claiming a spot in the college football playoff.

3. Penn State vs. Pittsburgh

Penn State vs. Pittsburgh Football Rivalry Game
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3. Penn State vs. Pittsburgh

Penn State vs. Pittsburgh Football Rivalry Game
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An intrastate rivalry between ACC and Big Ten schools is too convenient and buzz-worthy not to agree to. These programs have already met 96 times since 1893 and obviously butt heads each year on the recruiting trail, so hopefully they will decide to extend their upcoming 2016 to 2019 series. There's always the opportunity to schedule games at the Eagles' and Steelers' stadiums, too.

2. Michigan State, Michigan or Purdue vs. Notre Dame

Michigan State vs. Notre Dame Football Rivalry Game
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2. Michigan State, Michigan or Purdue vs. Notre Dame

Michigan State vs. Notre Dame Football Rivalry Game
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Notre Dame should be willing to play at least one of their Big Ten rivals every season despite their new five-game commitment to playing ACC teams -- six in 2015. All three of these games are ripe with history, as MSU, Michigan and Purdue all played their first games against the Fighting Irish before 1900. While Notre Dame should be a Big Ten member in the first place, and all parties would benefit from continuing these annual Midwest clashes.

1. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Football Rivalry Game
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1. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Football Rivalry Game
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Since Nebraska and Oklahoma first squared off in 1912, the schools have played each other through four conferences, so there's no reason to put an end to a great game over conference realignment. Two of the greatest college football programs to ever suit up, the Cornhuskers and Sooners will forever be linked due to their classic 1971 game, which was dubbed the "Game of the Century." Two scheduled games isn't enough for this rivalry.

Michael Briggs is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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