With college football on the cusp of returning, we all go through the schedule and see what match-ups will catch our eye and who is playing who, who is playing when and where will they be playing? I could have easily narrowed this down to 15 games but 5 will do. Here’s what caught my eye.
1. Alabama at Texas A&M– What a game this one could be. You have the most explosive and exciting player in the country in Johnny Manziel set to take on the top team in the country as the roll tide come to town. Early season games never really mean too much but with these two, this could determine who’s in the driver’s seat for an SEC title and a national championship. Yes, a lot of season will remain after this game but this will be a tough taks for both teams. Last season, Manziel led the Aggies to an upset victory over a number one ranked Alabama team in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban has had this game circled on his calendar since the schedules were released. One thing to watch in this one is the quarterback match-up. A.J. McCarron and Johnny Manziel. Two of the conutry’s best going at it.
2. Notre Dame at Michigan– The one question that surrounds Notre Dame entering this season is can they be as good as they were a season ago? This match-up of two rivals will determine where both teams are headed. Can Michigan make that next step under Brady Hoke? With the Irish and Wolverines, they could easily be mentioned in the national championship conversation or they can disappoint many people. With these two teams, it’s truly up in the air. This is a rivalry game, how could you not look forward to that? Over the last four seasons, these two have played in games that have been decided by a touchdown or less. This will be a great one at the big house in Ann Arbor.
3. LSU at Alabama– It’s only fitting that this game would be featured on here. You have two of the best coaches in the country squaring off against one another and when these two programs play each other, it’s always going to be an instant classic. With Texas A&M now a member of the SEC, LSU has gone under the radar somewhat. You can say what you want about the Tigers but when it comes to the SEC West, it will always come down to LSU and Alabama no matter what. The last two regular season match-ups had us on the edge of our seats. We saw a defensive battle in 2011 and a game that came down to the wire in 2012, what will we see in 2013 between these two?
4. Oregon at Stanford– These are the two best teams in the Pac-12. Until USC can answer it’s questions at quarterback, Oregon and Stanford will decide the outcome of this conference. Both these teams can get to BCS bowl games or even be mentioned in the conversation for the national championship. Both these programs are complete opposites. Oregon has that high-flying, quick and explosive offense and Stanford has a very aggresive and physical defense. When they met last year, Stanford got the best of the Ducks and knocked them out of the national title picture. That game came down to the end and I expect nothing different in this year’s match-up.
5. Ohio State at Michigan– It’s not college football without Ohio State and Michigan now, right? With that being said, if there’s any team in the Big Ten that can really give the Buckeyes a run for their money, I truly think that team is the Wolverines. No disrespect to the Northwestern’s, Penn State’s or Wisconsin’s but the Wolverines pose as such a big threat to an Ohio State team that is looking to return back to the promised land of college football. This is the best rivalry in the country and something memorable always happens. Don’t expect anything different when they meet yet again.
Others to watch for: Notre Dame at Stanford, Tennessee at Oregon, Florida at Georgia, Florida State at Clemson.