Nick Kranz: My dream non-conference matchup would be against a team that I would really want to visit when Cal plays them on the road, and that would bring a festive atmosphere at Memorial Stadium. There are probably a few different teams that fit that profile, but I'll go with LSU. The Tigers obviously bring cachet as a national power. The contrast in culture between the fans of both programs would be fun. And when Cal plays in Death Valley you could visit New Orleans, which is about an hour outside Baton Rouge.
atomsareenough: Syracuse!!! We've played them a lot in basketball recently, which makes me happy (though I wish we'd win one against them for a change), but we haven't played them in football recently. They're a major conference team, they've been decent-ish lately, but they're still beatable. Really we should be playing at least one beatable major conference team per year. We've kind of been doing that with teams like Maryland and Northwestern and Minnesota, but the problem is that we haven't ourselves been good in recent years, so we haven't really been taking full advantage of the opportunity. But yeah, Syracuse. Having gone to 'Cuse for grad school, it's always a no-lose proposition for me when we play them (though I always root for Cal, if we lose to Syracuse it takes the edge off slightly compared to other losses). Two great tastes that taste great together!
In the non-personal-reasons category, I'd have to say Michigan or Wisconsin. I've always appreciated the Big 10/Pac-12 historical relationship, and both of those schools are major, well-regarded state schools that are probably the closest counterparts to Berkeley in our sister conference. They're also powerhouse programs with great, historic venues, and it would be great to play there, and beating them would be a big deal for Cal.
If we are suddenly good again and/or we don't care about getting our posteriors walloped, I'd love to play LSU. Death Valley is one of the most fearsome venues in college football, LSU is always extremely good, anything can happen with a Les Miles team, and it would be a good excuse for a side trip to New Orleans.
Berkelium97: Michigan. I've wanted to play Michigan for as long as I've been a Cal fan. It's a big, highly acclaimed public school with a long, storied history and whose colors also happen to be blue and gold. That's not so different from us (well, the storied history part only really goes until '59 for us). I've appreciated our OOC games against Big Ten teams because it helps rekindle historic Rose Bowl matchups. I'm sure there are some alumni out there itching for some vengeance for that 1951 Rose Bowl loss.
Nam Le: Having already traveled to Ohio, and planning on traveling to Austin next year, my answer is definitely LSU. An SEC game remains on my must see list and Death Valley does have a reputation...
Vlad Belo: My first thought was Michigan but I figured that would be a popular response. So I will go with Notre Dame. I'd love to go to that storied venue and watch Cal play there.
HydroTech: Texas. We need to bash them around for a good decade to make up for 2004.
LeonPowe: Everyone already said Texas and LSU. I'd love to go back and play Nebraska or Wisconsin again, like we did in the late 80s and late 90s. But I think it'd be really interesting to play Mississippi. Could there be a bigger contrast in schools in terms of history, current tailgating culture and student culture? I think it would be illustrative for our students to learn about some of the history of the deep south and how that manifests now in the current students in both universities. They're not that great at football either, so that might be appealing from a W-L perspective.
We also asked our Twitter followers. This was their answer.
Fill in the blank #Cal fans. The non-conference team I want to schedule the most is... _______________.— GoldenBlogs (@GoldenBlogs) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs Arkansas— calderon11 (@calderon11) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs Miami— Matthew Ondesko (@mattondesko) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs Penn State— J Flores (@bestcoastin) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs The non-conference team I want to schedule the most is LSU. Bama close second.— David E. Rodriguez (@DavidERod) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs Tennessee.— John Rees (@Tiny_JohnDancer) February 26, 2014
@GoldenBlogs Presbyterian: The Sequel.— Ed Yevelev_MarinIJ (@EdYevelev) February 26, 2014