Posted: 5:38 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013
By Brett Ludwiczak
While we have no idea to know if the hype leading up to these games will actually come to fruition, we do our best to let you know why these games could be so big in the grand scheme of things.
We must have done something to right to get such a spicy matchup on a Thursday night. In the last two editions of this series, the winner has gone on to earn the bid from the North division in the Pac-12, win the Pac-12 title game, and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. While both teams want to earn the berth in the Pac-12 title game and a trip to Pasadena, they are hoping that is for a bigger prize than the Rose Bowl. While a loss by either team before this game would take a little bit of the shine off this matchup, I'm anticipating both teams to come into the game unblemished.
As punishment for Johnny Football doing something to get suspended for a half against Rice, I'm going to enforce my own punishment and drop this to second of this list. I know, how will Texas A&M; recover from such strict sanctions? This has certainly been the most talked about matchup of the upcoming season during the offseason and the crowd at Kyle Field should be insane.
The opening weekend of the college football season gives us this gem of a matchup between two schools that are separated by less than 80 miles. While the schools are in close proximity to each other, they haven't met since 2003 when Georgia shutout Clemson 30-0. The quarterback duel between Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd should set the tone for a great season of college football.
The three matchups that will mostly likely decide the SEC West are on this list, and this is the second of those showdowns (to find out the third keep reading). These two rivals have met four times in the last three years, with three of those meetings being decided by four points or less. The road teams has won the last two regular season meetings, but it's hard to believe that Nick Saban will let a team beat him twice in a row at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The marquee game of the ACC season will feature a matchup of teams that have alternated wins in the last six editions of the rivalry. The potential quarterback matchup of Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd should give college football fans a tremendous primetime (no start time scheduled yet, but it should be) mid-October matchup at Death Valley.
With the results of the last two editions of the "Red River
Shootout Rivalry" it might be surprising to see this game not only on this list, but near the top 5. While Oklahoma has won the last two meetings by a combined scored of 119-38, signs are pointing to Texas closing that gap this year. Now if only we can get a game between these two where a safety wins it for Texas while Mack Brown is coaching. The jokes, there would be all of them.
While I'm always rooting for the meteor to win the matchups between these two teams, the last few games between these teams have made me glad that it didn't The last four meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less and with the announcement that the rivalry is taking a break in a couple years only adds more heat. Also, as much as a hate everything about That State Up North, this being the second night game at The Big House adds some intrigue for me.
The rivalry between these two schools is the ninth-oldest in college football with the first meeting happening all the way back in 1899. While there have been breaks in the rivalry since then, it is assured of heating back up now that both teams are in the SEC West. Depending on the results of the two games higher on this list, it could have a major impact on which team goes to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Next year's matchup could very well end up on this list as well, as it has been announced these two teams will play on Thanksgiving.
Since Florida pasted Georgia in 2008 and 2009, the last three editions of this yearly battle have been decided by eight points or less. The addition of former Georgia player and now Florida coach to the rivalry has added some zest to a rivalry that wasn't exactly hurting for intrigue before.
Last year's 51-48 win in overtime by the Sooners will be hard to top in the Bedlam Series, but I have faith that this edition will come close. While there are questions about the Oklahoma quarterback position, but this game isn't until December so hopefully they will all be answered by then. If there is one thing this matchup will likely give you it is points, with both teams scoring 40+ points in three of the last five games these teams have played.
There really is no explanation needed for why this game is number one on the list. We all know the importance of it.
While I feel like a homer putting Ohio State in the top two games of the season, there is something special about night games at The Horseshoe. I was at the game in 2011 and it took me a few days to regain my voice after that classic. Ohio State will look to continue their recent success in the rivalry, having won five of the last six games between the teams.
This early-November showdown between these two schools could go a long way in determining who will win the Legends Division in the Big Ten and head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. Buckeye fans should pay close attention to this game for that reason as a Michigan win could very well setup Ohio State/Michigan two week in a row at the end of the year.
The week before the Nebraska/Michigan game will see the Wolverines head to East Lansing to try and build on their win last year against the Spartans. The series had been streaky before last year's Michigan victory, with the Spartans winning the previous four before than and Michigan winning the five matchups before Sparty's winning streak.
The week following the Wisconsin game will see Ohio State hit the road for another night game when they head to Evanston to try and build on their dominance of Northwestern. Ohio State has won the last four meetings between the schools, but the last time they played was in 2008. Hopefully 2004 doesn't play out again where the Buckeyes went to Northwestern and lost at night 33-27, which gave Northwestern their first win in the last 29 meetings between the schools.
The last two games between these teams have been decided by three points or less, with each school winning on the road. Both teams return key components from their offenses which should result in a high-scoring battle between two teams fighting for supremacy in the Legends Division.
These two teams haven't met since 2010, but the renewal of this series could provide for a hotly contested matchup. While Penn State is ineligible for postseason play, there are two games this season that you know they have circled more than others. We'll get to the other matchup in a minute, but this one has been slated for a 5 PM start time, which could also create some great twilight scenery in Happy Valley.
The second night game at The Horseshoe this year will feature Ohio State trying to erase the demons of what happened the last time Penn State came to Columbus at night. This matchup will come five years and a day after that 2008 game, but a different result will have to come out of it if the Buckeyes want to continue what could be a march to the national title game.
This game makes the list because of the potential implications of the Legends Division race that it could hold. While Michigan has won seven of the last eight meetings between these two, last year Northwestern really should have won. While it was a while ago, I remember the great matchup in 2000 between these teams where Northwestern won 54-51. Hopefully we can get another classic like that one this year.
Another quality game on November 16th is the meeting between Michigan State and Nebraska in Lincoln. Last year's 28-24 win by the Cornhuskers in East Lansing was one of the best Big Ten games of the year, even if it did end in controversy. Sparty will be trying to beat Nebraska for the first time in history, as they have dropped the previous seven meetings.
Now if this list of the best games of the college football season doesn't get you excited for the upcoming season, I don't know what will. What are you thoughts? Any that we are missing? Let us know in the comments.