Ever since the 2012 college football season came to a close in Miami fans have patiently been awaiting a new season and a new journey to begin. A lot has happened since January, but it’s finally time to gear up for another year of unbelievable games and unforgettable moments as the road to the national championship starts now–and I for one, cannot wait. With every new season comes the tradition, passion, and pageantry of college football, so sit back and enjoy. Tune in each week as we profile some of college football’s brightest stars and best tailgating parties as well as countdown the best games, stadiums, and fans college football has to offer.
Every year, before the college football season begins, I like to scour the four-month long schedule in order to find the season’s best matchups and potential instant classics. This is quintessential for every devoted college football fan and signifies the beginning of the new season. If you’re anything like me, you probably have trouble deciding which games to watch each Saturday. Between flipping back-and-forth between channels and checking score updates on your phone, you spend all day trying to manage as many games as your brain can possibly handle. With the college football season stretching over 15 weeks–not including the bowl games, of course–everyone could use a little bit of help picking the year’s best matchups. In case you’re too “busy” with syllabus week at school to map out your college football journey, we’ve done all the work for you.
10. no. 10 Florida at Miami (FL)-Saturday, September 7th
The state of Florida has always been viewed as a football powerhouse. This season, one of the great in-state rivalries is expected to write it’s final chapter when the Canes take on the Gators, and the timing couldn’t be better. We already know Florida is a legitimate SEC contender, but you all need to watch out for Miami this year. It may have taken some time, but the Canes are poised to shake up the ACC standings this year and possibly make a run at a BCS bid behind the likes of Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson. Let’s not forget about the importance of bragging rights.
9. no. 2 Ohio State at no. 17 Michigan-Saturday, November 30th
People are coming to expect great things from this rivalry, and why shouldn’t they? Both coaches have rebuilt their respected programs and have fans in Anne Arbor and Columbus thinking national championships. If you’re not excited for this game, you need to check your pulse. It is Ohio State-Michigan after all. Ohio State and Michigan have transformed their programs into recruiting juggernauts and there is no reason why these teams cannot compete for a Big Ten crown. Both teams feature athletic, gun-slingers at the quarterback position and young, unproven defenses, so you can expect a lot of offense!
8. no. 16 Oklahoma at no. 15 Texas-Saturday, October 12th
For over 100 years, the Red River Rivalry has served as one of college football’s greatest traditions. Unlike it’s last two installments, this year’s matchup is expected to be as competitive as ever and possibly determine the Big 12 champ. With 19 players returning from last year, Texas will rely heavily upon its experience while Oklahoma looks to maintain its winning formula under freshman quarterback Trevor Knight. With the Big 12 no longer hosting a conference championship, this game becomes exponentially important as far as crowning a conference champion. As a Texas fan, this game extremely high on my list. If Texas were to only win one game this season, I pray to God it’s this one.
7. no. 14 Notre Dame at no. 4 Stanford-Saturday, November 30th
We all remember how this game ended last season, so expect Stanford to come into this game looking to make a statement. There are enough defensive standouts in this game you could construct a super set on world domination, including Reynolds, Tuitt, and Skove, so look out for turnovers and sloppy offensive play. On top of that, this also happens to be the last regular-season game of the year, with BCS hopes and possible title implications on the line.
6. no. 12 LSU at no. 1 Alabama- Saturday, November 9th
If you can only watch one game this year, it better as hell be this one. After producing two of the greatest games in SEC history the last two years, expectations for this season are astronomical for arguably the two best programs in the entire country. Although Alabama is a heavy favorite to win it’s third consecutive national championship, none of that matters when the Tide and the Tigers go head-to-head. With one of the best, most efficient quarterbacks in the country in AJ McCarron and a historically tenacious LSU defense, expect both teams to leave it all out on the field.
5. no. 5 Georgia at no. 8 Clemson-Saturday, August 31st
With two of the country’s most explosive offenses facing a pair of unproven defenses, you can expect points, and a lot of them. Featuring two projected first-round quarterbacks in Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray alongside two of the country’s top playmakers in Sammy Watkins and Todd Gurley, I’d be surprised if we don’t see one of the best offensive performances of the entire season. Not to mention, we could potentially see the beginning of a Heisman campaign, just keep that in mind.
4. no. 11 Florida State at no. 8 Clemson-Saturday, October 19th
For the second straight year, the Florida State-Clemson winner is heavily favored to punch a ticket to the BCS, some may even say all the way to the national title. Tigers’ quarterback Tajh Boyd returns to Death Valley for his senior season as Clemson looks to avenge it’s only conference lost of 2012 against the Noles and freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. The talent and athleticism in this game will be on full display in what is expected to be a high-scoring, offensive shootout. It’s difficult not to be super pumped for this game!
3. no. 6 South Carolina at no. 5 Georgia-Saturday, September 7th
The story lines surrounding this game are almost endless. Will Aaron Murray finally deliver a big, marquee victory for the Dawgs? Will this game serve as the jumping off point for Jadeveon Clowney’s Heisman campaign? Many presume this game will ultimately decide the fate of the SEC East for a shot at the conference championship. To say the South Carolina-Georgia game carries conference and national championship implications is a huge understatement.
2. no. 3 Oregon at no. 4 Stanford-Thursday, November 7th on ESPN
This game pitches Oregon’s high-powered offense, headlined by Heisman hopefuls Marcus Mariota and the “Black Mamba”, De’Anthony Thomas, against Stanford’s tenacious defense. The two have split their last two seasons, with the road team picking up the victory each time, and this year’s winner is widely expected to win the PAC-12, regardless of their opponent in the conference championship. That alone, speaks volumes to how evenly matched these two teams are and how important this game is to the make up of the BCS.
1. no. 1 Alabama at no. 7 Texas A&M-Saturday, September 14th
This game has been on everyone’s mind ever since A&M upset Alabama last season in Tuscaloosa, in what was Bama’s only loss of 2012. Expectations are as high as ever in College Station for Johnny Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, especially after the busy off-season he had as the success of the Aggies’ season rests solely on his shoulders. Luckily, the football gods have decided to grant us this game early on in the season, so expect both teams to be healthy and undefeated. Not to mention, this game will put the winner in a great position to reach the SEC title game and possible national title run, with only LSU standing in their path. Considering the story lines surrounding these times, both on and off the field, this is the most anticipated game of the year.