By Allyus Fritz
There are a variety of factors that go in to choosing the most intriguing games of the season. It’s more than just the games with all of the best teams. Some teams are looking for revenge. Some games are stepping-stones to division titles. Others are rivalry games that are going to be intense no matter what. To put this simply, if the game is on this list, you don’t want to miss it.
The Starting 25
25. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama, Sat. Aug 31
This game will be hyped but seriously, we all know Alabama will kill them. If Virginia Tech somehow wins though, it will change the landscape of the entire college football season, opening up possibilities no one thought possible.
24. Oklahoma vs. Texas, Sept. 12 in Dallas
This game will inevitably be important to the Big 12 standings. I honestly don’t like either team, but this will still be one of the highest rated games of the year because of the rivalry. How many times will they show Jerry Jones up in his luxury box during this game? My over/under is 10.
23. Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Oct. 5
Ohio State could easily go undefeated this season. As Urban Meyer would know, it’s important to stay focused if a squad is going to stay unbeaten. The week before Ohio State travels to Northwestern it plays Wisconsin. Northwestern has a bye week to prepare for the Buckeyes. My bet is that this game will be a lot closer than people think.
22. Oklahoma St. vs. Texas, Nov. 16
The Cowboys are poised for a fantastic season. In order to fulfill the fan base’s expectations they will have to take down the giant. Oklahoma State is only 4-23 against Texas all-time. If the Cowboys ever want to make the jump in to the “big” time, they need to start beating the “big” boys. This match-up is also late in the season, which only heightens the potential drama that could develop in Austin.
21. Nebraska vs. Michigan, Nov. 9
Michigan appears on this list many times, and to be honest I’m not sure why. It is the tradition? Is it pure and simply the fact that it’s MICHIGAN? I’m not sure either, but anyway this game should be a doozy. Taylor Martinez and the Cornhuskers traveling in to the Big House has fun written all over it.
20. Tennessee vs. Oregon, Sept. 14
This made the list purely because a SEC team is willing to travel to Eugene to play ball. To me it looks like Tennessee is thirsty for a beating. The ducks play at Virginia the week before this game and then never have to fly away from the western time zone the rest of the season.
19. Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 28
The Sooners were supposed to end the Fighting Irish’s undefeated season last year. Instead of making a statement they were dominated on both sides of the ball. Both sides had key players exodus for the NFL, including Manti Te’o and Landry Jones. Oklahoma’s first season without Jones in years should be fun to watch develop.
18. TCU vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 5
TCU has ten returning starters on defense. If TCU wants to make its presence felt in the Big 12, this is where they start. A win over Oklahoma in Norman would be huge for the Horned Frog program.
17. Oregon State vs. Oregon, Nov. 29
The Civil War will have high stakes this season. Oregon will most likely be nearing a BCS birth. The Beavers look forward to this game all year long. Oregon State could win one game a season and if it were against Oregon it would be worth it. The Beavers will most likely have a lot at stake when this game is played as well.
16. Texas A&M vs. LSU, Nov. 23
Johnny Football and the Bayou Bengals appear on this list more than once. Let’s be honest, we all know why this game is interesting. I’ll leave it at that.
15. Clemson vs. South Carolina, Nov 30
The Clemson Tigers begin their season with the Georgia Bulldogs and end with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Scheduling two championship caliber teams isn’t the best way to reach the BCS Title game. What if Clemson reaches this game unbeaten? Things could get very interesting.
14. Boise State vs. Fresno State, Sept. 20
This early season Friday night in Fresno may decide who wins the Mountain West Conference. Coach Chris Peterson and quarterback Joe Southwick will be in charge of leading a team who is replacing 14 starters from last season. Playing in Fresno is never easy, and this early season test for the Broncos will not be any different.
13. Wisconsin vs. Ohio St., Sept 28
The fate of the Big 10 rests on this game. Wisconsin could walk out of Columbus with a huge win. They could also walk out of Columbus knowing that Ohio State will have a free ride all the way to the Big 10 Championship game.
12. Louisville vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 5
This will be the American Athletic Conference game of the year. Saying the words “American Athletic Conference” still doesn’t seem right. Regardless, Teddy Bridgewater will hopefully still be in the Heisman race by this point in the season. Can Louisville cause some BCS chaos? We shall see.
11. LSU vs. Georgia, Sept. 28
Les Miles and the boys travel to Bulldog country to face a hungry team led by Aaron Murray. LSU will have to have a tremendous season to reach the BCS title game against. The only thing I can promise is that they won’t lose to Furman.
10. UCLA vs. USC, Nov. 30
My pick to win the Pac-12 South will need to beat USC to make it a reality. Coach Jim Mora Jr. will have the Bruins ready to play.
9. South Carolina vs. Georgia, Sept. 7
NFL talent will be everywhere in this game. Even though it is being played so early on in the season it will make a heavy imprint on who wins the SEC East.
8. Florida St. vs. Clemson, Oct. 19
As I illustrated earlier, Clemson has some tough matchups this year. This game will likely be the ACC game of the year. Sammy Watkins and the speedy Tigers against the brute force of Florida State. Buy a six-pack and nachos before viewing.
7. Florida vs. Florida St., Nov. 30
This game is marked on my calendar this year because of the Seminoles, not the Gators. Florida State will smell oranges by this point, and obviously Florida would love nothing more than to crush their rival’s hopes of playing in a BCS bowl. Florida State will have the advantage because the game is being played in Tallahassee.
6. Ohio State vs. Michigan, Nov. 30
Michigan could very likely be the last roadblock between Ohio State and an undefeated season. Even if the Buckeyes have lost by this point they still will be in the hunt for the conference crown. There will be an entire season’s worth of work hanging in the balance.
5. Oregon vs. Stanford, Nov. 7
I probably could have just put Oregon’s entire schedule on here as a separate article so I could have put other games on this list. The Ducks high-flying (get it?) offense is incredibly fun to watch no matter who they’re playing. Oregon and Stanford both have ruined perfect season for the other the last two seasons. Hopefully this game can be just as enthralling.
4. Michigan vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 7
This may be one of the last times we ever see these two historic schools battle. Notre Dame will not be renewing their contract with Michigan, meaning that this game will have a little extra juice. This game will ooze tradition from its every pore. Like always, expect these two teams to be over-hyped.
3. Alabama vs. Texas A&M, Sept. 14
This is of course only the number three game of the year if Johnny Manziel is still able to play. This autograph fiasco is holding A&M in limbo and all of us holding our breath. Provided he does play, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will be seeking revenge.
2. Florida vs. Miami (FL) Sep. 7
This should be one of the best early games of the season. Florida was lucky to get in to a BCS bowl last season. It survived games against Texas A&M and Missouri that it should have lost. Miami will contend for the ACC title and will give Florida all it can handle. I think the Hurricanes pull it out because the Gators still don’t have a reliable quarterback. The rivalry factor alone makes this a must watch.
1. LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9
I’m sure this is not a surprise to anyone. Last year’s match up between these two could easily be the best regular season game I’ve ever watched. Each team is locked and reloaded with fresh recruits and the rivalry will be an intense as ever. This contest will most likely have national title implications. Mark November 9th on your calendar. It will be a day to remember.
Who do you think is the top game of the year? Who should be on the list? Let us know on social media or by commenting at the bottom of this article.