Under new commissioner George Kliavkoff, the Pac-12 Conference has a renewed emphasis on earning a spot in the College Football Playoff and playing for a national championship.  

“I want to be 100% clear, going forward the Pac-12 Conference will make all of our football-related decisions with the combined goals of optimizing (College Football Playoff) invitations and winning national championships,” Kliavkoff said last Tuesday during Pac-12 football media day. 

One of the major factors for the Pac-12 to be in position for a CFP berth, of course, is success in nonconference games.

Here’s a look at the biggest nonleague games for the Pac-12 in 2021.

Sept. 4 

LSU at UCLA — Former USC assistant Ed Orgeron, who led the Tigers to the 2019 national title, returns to Los Angeles to face Chip Kelly and the Bruins. 

Arizona vs. BYU — This will mark Jedd Fisch’s debut as the Wildcats’ new coach against a Cougars team that finished 11-1 a year ago. The game will be played at the Raiders’ new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Sept. 11

Utah at BYUThe Utes will be trying to win their 10th straight game against their arch-rivals. The last time Utah lost to the Cougars was in 2009 in Provo

Oregon at Ohio State — Could this be a playoff elimination game? Oregon is picked to win the Pac-12 while the Buckeyes are favored to win the Big Ten. 

Colorado vs. Texas A&M — The Buffaloes will be looking to upset an SEC program in Denver. 

Washington at Michigan — The Huskies could make a statement in the heart of Big Ten country.

Oct. 23

USC at Notre Dame — The longtime rivals resume their rivalry that was put on hold in 2020, due to the pandemic, for the first time since 1945. Depending on how the season goes, this could be a game with playoff implications for both blue blood programs. 

Nov. 27

BYU at USC — The Trojans are looking to avenge a 2019 loss to the Cougars in Provo in 2019. 

Notre Dame at Stanford — The Cardinal are hoping to return to national prominence. A victory over the Fighting Irish could help in that regard.