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Arizona football to host Northern Illinois in 2026, per report

arizona-wildcats-football-northern-illinois-huskies-2026-nonconference-schedule-future-opponents Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While we only know a handful of the nonconference games for Arizona men’s basketball for the upcoming season, and none of the women’s team’s non-league games have been announced, football scheduling is a completely different animal.

The Wildcats have nonconference foes lined up as far out as 2034, with a full slate locked in for the next several years. The most recent addition, according to, is a 2026 home game against Northern Illinois.

The Huskies are scheduled to visit Arizona Stadium on Sept. 19, 2026, with the UA paying NIU $700,000 to play the game.

It will be the first matchup between the schools in football, and the first time Arizona will have faced a Mid-American Conference school since beating Toledo at home to open the RichRod era in 2012. The Wildcats are 7-0 all-time against MAC schools.

Arizona’s 2026 nonconference schedule also includes a home/season opener against NAU and a visit to BYU.

As it stands, the next potential opening on Arizona’s non-league schedule would be in 2029. That’s when the Wildcats are scheduled to open the season at Hawaii before hosting Virginia Tech and Air Force. The NCAA’s “Hawaii Rule” allows for a team that plays at Hawaii to add a 13th game, though the UA passed on that chance in 2019.

If the UA doesn’t choose to add a fourth nonconference game in 2029, the next opening would be in 2032 when it needs to find a third game to go with playing at Alabama (!) and hosting NAU.

Arizona football future opponents

  • 2023: NAU, at Mississippi State, UTEP
  • 2024: New Mexico, NAU, at Kansas State
  • 2025: Hawaii, Weber State, Kansas State
  • 2026: NAU, at BYU, Northern Illinois
  • 2027: at Colorado State, BYU, NAU
  • 2028: Colorado State, Prairie View A&M, at Nebraska
  • 2029: at Hawaii, Virginia Tech, Air Force
  • 2030: at Virginia Tech, NAU, Wyoming
  • 2031: NAU, at Air Force, Nebraska
  • 2032: at Alabama, NAU
  • 2033: Alabama, NAU, at Wyoming
  • 2034: at Texas Tech