College football season is fast approaching and we are literally counting down the hours until the first kick-off. Here are the Top 10 games we’re looking forward to the most this season (in calendar order).
10) August 30th – LSU vs. Wisconsin (@ Reliant Stadium in Houston) – Few teams reload like the Bayou Bengals who have had 9 players chosen in each in the last two NFL Drafts. Few teams also schedule such top-notch OOC games in the opening weekend like the Bayou Bengals, in what could be the lone top-15 match-up on the first Saturday of the college football season. Wisconsin is a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten West division in its inaugural season and has a favorable schedule to could set them up for an unblemished record in November, if they can win this SEC-Big Ten match-up.
9) August 30th – Clemson @ UGA – This rematch from Labor Day weekend a year ago is arguably the top match-up for the first Saturday of the season. Clemson is coming off of back-to-back 11-2 seasons and an Orange Bowl win, while Georgia will look to avenge last year’s 38-35 road loss after an injury-filled 2013.
8) September 14th – UGA @ South Carolina – The Bulldogs will have a week to recover from their Clemson game before facing the Gamecocks, unlike a year ago. Georgia and South Carolina are once again heavy favorites to win the SEC East, with this game potentially serving as a de facto SEC East title game early on in the year.
7) October 4th – LSU @ Auburn – October 4th will be Separation Saturday in the SEC West with LSU/Auburn, Alabama/Ole Miss, and Texas A&M/Mississippi State all on the conference schedule that day. However, the Tiger Bowl could have the biggest implications of all those match-ups. Auburn has lost three straight games to LSU and suffered their only regular season loss a year ago down in Baton Rouge. This will be the first conference game of the season for the Bayou Bengals, who have a very favorable schedule between their games against Wisconsin and Auburn.
6) October 18th – Notre Dame @ Florida State – This mid-season showdown may be the most anticipated game in the month of October. College football fans always recall their #1 vs. #2 match-up when these teams play and could see more of this match-up now with Notre Dame’s partnership with the ACC. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles have the toughest OCC schedule in 2014 with games against Oklahoma State and Florida also on the calendar.
5) November 1st – Stanford @ Oregon – Once again the Pac-12 North and a potential spot in the College Football Playoff could be decided in this clash of styles. Oregon’s high scoring offenses make them a national title contender every year, but the Ducks have come up short against the Cardinal in consecutive years ending their national title aspirations. Stanford and Oregon were the only Pac-10/12 teams that made it to BCS bowl games in the last five years.
4) November 8th – Alabama @ LSU – The Saban Bowl is always one of the most anticipated match-ups of the year and the ninth edition should be no different. Alabama has made it three in a row over LSU and will look to make it four straight for the first time since 1992.
3) November 8th – Ohio State @ Michigan State – Urban Meyer’s 24-0 start as the Buckeyes head coach came to a halt against the Spartans in last year’s Big Ten Championship Game. This rivalry should continue to grow in the coming years with Ohio State and Michigan State now in the same division.
2) November 22nd – USC @ UCLA – This year’s Battle of L.A. should be one of the important in years with national title implications on the line, as well as the Pac-12 South division title. Both teams could be ranked in the top ten heading in to the season. UCLA has won a combined 19 games in the first two years of the Jim Mora, Jr era, while USC looks to begin its return to prominence under new head coach Steve Sarkisian.
1) November 29th – Auburn @ Alabama – The dynasty in Tuscaloosa and a bid for a three peat came to end in last year’s Iron Bowl. A missed field goal by the Crimson Tide lead to the Kick Six and one of the greatest finishes ever in any sport. That moment will be on the minds of college football fans throughout 2014 and will create buildup for arguably the one of the most anticipated games in recent memory.