Six more days … can you make it?
Big games for 2013 include Florida-Georgia, Alabama-Texas A&M and Ohio State-Michigan
The 2013 college football season starts next Thursday. We thought it would be interesting to look at the three top games in each weekend of the season. Well, that idea mushroomed to where we found 50 must-see games for 2013.
Using the preseason Associated Press poll, there are seven games that will match up preseason top-10 teams.
These include Georgia-Clemson (Aug. 31), South Carolina-Georgia (Sept. 7), Alabama-Texas A&M (Sept. 14), Florida-Georgia (Nov. 2), Oregon-Stanford (Nov. 7), Florida-South Carolina (Nov. 16) and Clemson-South Carolina (Nov. 30). With Oregon ranked third and Stanford fourth, their game at Palo Alto is the only one currently matching preseason top-five teams.
Earlier this week, we published our Preseason Consensus Poll. Stay tuned for Big Ten picks for 2013 in the days ahead.
Here is a week-by-week look at some of the best games on the docket for 2013 because we know you don’t want to miss one single moment of this season (all times Eastern time):
Week 1 (Sat., Aug. 31)
* Georgia at Clemson, Aug. 31, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- A top-10 match-up to start the season. Clemson has lost its last five meetings with Georgia. Great QB match-up with Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd.
* LSU vs. TCU (at Arlington, Texas), Aug. 31 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- These schools have not met since 1968. Should be a fun defensive struggle at Jerry World.
* Florida State at Pittsburgh, Mon., Sept. 2, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- Pittsburgh gets a welcome to the ACC by hosting powerful Florida State. Pitt is 5-3 all-time against FSU, however.
* Others To Watch -- North Carolina at South Carolina, Thurs., Aug. 29, 6 p.m. (ESPN); Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, Aug. 29, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN); Northern Illinois at Iowa, Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network); Penn State vs. Syracuse (at East Rutherford, N.J.), Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2); Oklahoma State vs. Mississippi State (at Houston), Aug. 31, 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2); Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (at Atlanta), Aug. 31, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN); Boise State at Washington, Aug. 31, 10 p.m. (Fox Sports 1); Ohio U. at Louisville, Sun., Sept., 1, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Week 2 (Sat., Sept. 7)
Uh, quite a tripleheader here on the Worldwide Leader.
* Florida at Miami (Fla.), Sept. 7, noon (ESPN) -- First meeting for these instate foes since 2008 (Florida won 26-3). Miami looking to get back on front page.
* South Carolina at Georgia, Sept. 7, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Coming off the Clemson game, Georgia dives into SEC East play by hosting rival South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won the last three in the series, including 35-7 last year in Columbia.
* Notre Dame at Michigan, Sept. 7, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- This will be Notre Dame’s last visit to Michigan under their current contract. They will wrap it up next year. ND snapped a three-game losing streak to UM with last year’s 13-6 win at South Bend. UM leads the all-time series 23-16-1.
* Others To Watch -- South Florida at Michigan State, Sept. 7, noon (ESPN or ESPN2); Oregon at Virginia, Sept. 7, 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2); San Diego State at Ohio State, Sept. 7, 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2); Syracuse at Northwestern, Sept. 7, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network); Texas at BYU, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. (ESPN2); West Virginia at Oklahoma, Sept. 7, 7 p.m. (FOX).
Week 3 (Sat., Sept. 14)
* UCLA at Nebraska, Sept. 14, noon (ABC)-- Huskers will look for revenge after 36-30 loss at UCLA last year.
* Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept. 14, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- A&M and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel shocked the world with last year’s 29-24 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Now the Crimson Tide will head to College Station to try and even the score.
* Others To Watch -- TCU at Texas Tech, Thurs., Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Louisville at Kentucky, Sept. 14, noon (ESPN); Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 14, 6 p.m. (Fox Sports 1); Notre Dame at Purdue, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. (ABC); Ole Miss at Texas, Sept. 14, 8 p.m. (Longhorn Network); Wisconsin at Arizona State, Sept. 14, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Week 4 (Sat., Sept. 21)
* Michigan State at Notre Dame, Sept. 21, 3:30 p.m. (NBC) -- ND’s defense locked up MSU in a 20-3 win at East Lansing last year. The Irish have won three of the last four in the series and own a 47-28-1 edge all-time.
* Arizona State at Stanford, Sept. 21 -- Stanford is 23-3 at home in the last five years.
* Kansas State at Texas, Sept. 21 -- The defending Big 12 champions head to Austin. The Wildcats took a 42-24 win in Manhattan last year. Big game for UT in its bid to get back on top in the conference.
* Others To Watch -- Clemson at N.C. State, Thurs., Sept. 19, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Boise State at Fresno State, Fri., Sept. 20, 9 p.m. (ESPN); Tennessee at Florida, Sept. 21, 3:30 p.m. (CBS); Auburn at LSU, Sept. 21.
Week 5 (Sat., Sept. 28)
* Oklahoma at Notre Dame, Sept. 28, 3:30 p.m. (NBC) -- Notre Dame went down to Norman and pulled out a 30-13 win over Oklahoma last year. ND enjoys a 9-1 edge all-time against Oklahoma.
* Wisconsin at Ohio State, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) -- The top two (eligible) teams in the Big Ten Leaders square off. New UW coach Gary Andersen goes against one of his former bosses in OSU’s Urban Meyer. OSU has won five of the last six meetings, including 21-14 in overtime last year in Madison.
* LSU at Georgia, Sept. 28 -- This may be the best SEC crossover game this year. LSU has won the last two in the series, including a 42-10 rout in the 2011 SEC title game.
* Others To Watch -- Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Thurs., Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Oklahoma State at West Virginia, Sept. 28; USC at Arizona State, Sept. 28; Texas A&M at Arkansas, Sept. 28.
Week 6 (Sat., Oct. 5)
* Ohio State at Northwestern, Oct. 5, 8 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) -- OSU has won 28 of the last 29 meetings with Northwestern. The lone loss in that stretch was a prime time game at Evanston in 2004 (33-27 in overtime). The schools have not met since 2008 (OSU 45-10 win in Evanston).
* TCU at Oklahoma, Oct. 5 -- The Sooners held on for a 24-17 win at TCU last year.
* Georgia at Tennessee, Oct. 5 -- The Bulldogs have won four of their last six trips to Neyland Stadium. UGa. won a wild 51-44 decision last year in Athens.
* Others To Watch -- UCLA at Utah, Thurs., Oct. 3, 10 p.m. (Fox Sports 1); Arizona State vs. Notre Dame (at Arlington, Texas), Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m. (NBC); Clemson at Syracuse, Oct. 5; LSU at Mississippi State, Oct. 5; Kansas State at Oklahoma State, Oct. 5.
Week 7 (Sat., Oct. 12)
* Northwestern at Wisconsin, Oct. 12, 3:30 p.m. -- The visiting team has won the last six games in this series. It is a good Big Ten crossover game this year, although they will both be in the West Division starting next year.
* Florida at LSU, Oct. 12 -- Another great SEC crossover game. The Gators took a 14-6 win at The Swamp last year.
* Texas vs. Oklahoma (at Dallas), Oct. 12 -- The Red River Rivalry has been one-sided in favor of the Sooners in recent years. OU has won the last three meetings by a combined score of 146-58, including 63-21 last year. UT holds the all-time edge 59-43-5. The game has been played in Dallas every year since 1929.
* Others To Watch -- Rutgers at Louisville, Thurs., Oct. 10, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Michigan at Penn State, Oct. 12, 5 p.m. (ESPN or ESPN2); Arizona at USC, Oct. 10, 10:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1); Texas A&M at Ole Miss, Oct. 12; Oregon at Washington, Oct. 12; South Carolina at Arkansas, Oct. 12.
Week 8 (Sat., Oct. 19)
* USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. (NBC) -- After USC had won eight straight, Notre Dame has won two of the last three years (including 22-13 last year at the L.A. Coliseum). ND leads the all-time series 44-34-5. The visitor has won the last four matches. The schools have played every year since 1946.
* UCLA at Stanford, Oct. 19 -- These teams met for the Pac-12 championship last year. Stanford beat UCLA in back-to-back weeks last year, prevailing 35-17 at the Rose Bowl and 27-24 at home in the title game. That title game was tied four times before Stanford pulled it out.
* Florida State at Clemson, Oct. 19 -- This could be the featured game in the ACC this season. FSU rallied from down 28-14 in the second half to take a 49-37 win in Tallahassee. The winner figures to have the inside track in the Atlantic Division.
* Oklahoma State at TCU, Oct. 19 – Some have Oklahoma State pegged as a Big 12 favorite. A win in Fort Worth over the Horned Frogs would go a long way. The Cowboys won 36-14 last year at home.
* Others To Watch -- Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina, Thurs., Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Central Florida at Louisville, Fri., Oct. 18, 8 p.m. (ESPN); Iowa at Ohio State, Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2); South Carolina at Tennessee, Oct. 19; LSU at Ole Miss, Oct. 19.
Week 9 (Sat., Oct. 26)
* Penn State at Ohio State, Oct. 26, 8 p.m. (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) -- It could be freshman QB Christian Hackenberg leading Penn State into the Horseshoe at night. OSU leads the series 15-13, including a 35-23 win at State College last year.
* UCLA at Oregon, Oct. 26 -- A week after traveling to Stanford, the Bruins head off to Oregon. UCLA has lost four straight in Eugene by an average of 21 points. The teams met there in the 2011 Pac-12 title game with Oregon winning 49-31.
* Stanford at Oregon State, Oct. 26 -- Stanford has won three straight in the series, including 27-23 at home last year.
* Texas at TCU, Oct. 26 -- Texas is 28-2 all-time vs. TCU, but the Horned Frogs won the schools’ first-ever Big 12 game 20-13 last year in Austin.
* Others To Watch -- Boise State at BYU, Fri., Oct. 25, 8 p.m. (ESPN); Tennessee at Alabama, Oct. 26; Vanderbilt at Texas A&M, Oct. 26; Louisville at South Florida, Oct. 26.
Week 10 (Sat., Nov. 2)
Big day for Florida’s Big Three. And a big day in the Big Ten Legends Division as well.
* Georgia vs. Florida (at Jacksonville, Fla.), Nov. 2, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- This used to be the World’s Greatest Outdoor Cocktail Party. It’s still one of the biggest games of the college football season. UGa. has won back-to-back games in the series (24-20 in 2011 and 17-9 in 2012) for the first time since 1988-89. Between those two winning streaks, Florida was 18-3 vs. Georgia. But Georgia leads the all-time series still at 48-40-2.
* Miami (Fla.) at Florida State, Nov. 2 -- With the clouds lifting at Miami, these two longtime powers should get back to playing memorable and important games. FSU has won six of the last eight meetings and the last three in a row, including last year’s 33-20 triumph at Miami. Miami leads the fabled series 31-26 all-time.
* Michigan at Michigan State, Nov. 2 -- Michigan stopped a four-game losing streak to MSU with last year’s 12-10 squeaker at The Big House.
* Northwestern at Nebraska, Nov. 2 -- Nebraska was a perfect 5-0 in Legends Division games last year, including a 29-28 thriller at Northwestern. Two years ago, the Wildcats shocked the Huskers 28-25 in Lincoln.
* Others To Watch -- USC at Oregon State, Fri., Nov. 1, 9 p.m. (ESPN2); Navy at Notre Dame, Nov. 2, 3:30 p.m. (NBC); Mississippi State at South Carolina, Nov. 2; West Virginia at TCU, Nov. 2; Wisconsin at Iowa, Nov. 2.
Week 11 (Sat., Nov. 9)
* Oregon at Stanford, Thurs., Nov. 7, 9 p.m. (ESPN) -- As things stand, this is the only game matching preseason top-five teams this season. It could help decide the Pac-12 North title and could send the winner on a path toward the national title game. For a once-a-year thing, it will be great this game will be by itself on a Thursday night. Stanford, behind then-freshman QB Kevin Hogan, stunned top-ranked Oregon 17-14 in overtime last year in Eugene. It ought to be another classic.
* LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9 -- Probably gonna be an 8 p.m. game on CBS for the third year in a row. This has become one of the nation’s best series on an annual basis. Alabama has won four of the last six meetings, including the 2012 BCS national title game (21-0) and last year at Baton Rouge (21-17).
* Nebraska at Michigan, Nov. 9 -- This could be the most critical game in the Big Ten Legends Division. The Huskers lead the all-time series 4-3-1, including a 23-9 win in Lincoln last year.
* Others To Watch -- Mississippi State at Texas A&M, Nov. 9; Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, Nov. 9; Texas at West Virginia, Nov. 9; BYU at Wisconsin, Nov. 9.
Week 12 (Sat., Nov. 16)
* Stanford at USC, Nov. 16 -- Another big Pac-12 crossover game and possible conference title game preview. Stanford has won a school-record four straight in the series, including 21-14 last year at Palo Alto.
* Florida at South Carolina, Nov. 16 -- Should be another SEC East nut cruncher. The Gators routed the Gamecocks 44-11 last year in Gainesville. Florida holds the all-time series lead at 24-6-3.
* Oklahoma State at Texas, Nov. 16 -- Could be the game of the year in the Big 12. Texas has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with Oklahoma State, including a 41-36 shootout last year at Stillwater.
* Others To Watch -- Georgia Tech at Clemson, Thurs., Nov. 14, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Washington at UCLA, Fri., Nov. 15, 9 p.m. (ESPN2); Michigan at Northwestern, Nov. 16; Michigan State at Nebraska, Nov. 16; TCU at Kansas State, Nov. 16; Cincinnati at Rutgers, Nov. 16.
Week 13 (Sat., Nov. 23)
* Boise State at San Diego State, Nov. 23, 10:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) -- These two schools have split their meetings the last two years. The Aztecs took a 21-19 upset win at Boise last year.
* Texas A&M at LSU, Nov. 23 -- LSU has wins over A&M in two of the last three seasons, including the 2011 Cotton Bowl (41-24) and last year at College Station (24-19).
* Michigan State at Northwestern, Nov. 23 -- Another key Big Ten Legends showdown. NU forced four MSU turnovers in a 23-20 win at East Lansing last year.
* Others To Watch -- Northern Illinois at Toledo, Wed., Nov. 20, 8 p.m. (ESPN2); BYU at Notre Dame, Nov. 23, 3:30 p.m. (NBC); Oklahoma at Kansas State, Nov. 23; Michigan at Iowa, Nov. 23; Nebraska at Penn State, Nov. 23; Arizona State at UCLA, Nov. 23.
Week 14 (Sat., Nov. 30)
Rivalry weekend is always a special time. Thanksgiving weekend has become a huge college football showcase now that the Big Ten has joined the fun.
* Oregon State at Oregon, Fri., Nov. 29, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) -- They call this The Civil War. Oregon has won five straight in the rivalry, including 48-24 last year in Corvallis.
* Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 30 -- They call this The Game. Urban Meyer won his debut in this legendary series last year in Columbus (26-21) and now must try and duplicate that feat in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes have won 10 of the last 12 in the series, but the Wolverines hold the series edge at 58-45-6. And this could be the first of two meetings in eight days if both teams can win their respective divisions and advance to the Big Ten title game.
* Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 30 -- Notre Dame snapped a three-game losing streak to Stanford with last year’s 20-13 overtime win in South Bend. That game was decided by a (somewhat controversial) goal line stand. This is the 17th straight year these schools have played.
* Clemson at South Carolina, Nov. 30 -- A possible national top-10 match-up with teams from the Palmetto state. It won’t have any conference title implications, but maybe the winner can make a bid for the national championships. South Carolina has won four straight in the series, including 27-17 last year at Clemson.
* Florida State at Florida, Nov. 30 -- Florida has won seven of the last nine games with rival FSU, including a 37-26 triumph last year at Tallahassee. Again, this game decides no conference championship. But it carries a ton of bragging rights. Florida has the all-time series edge at 34-21-2.
* UCLA at USC, Nov. 30 -- USC had won 12 of the last 13 meetings with UCLA (including 50-0 in 2011). But the Bruins pulled out a 38-28 win in Jim Mora Jr.’s first year on the job last year at the Rose Bowl. The winner could claim the Pac-12 South Division.
* Others To Watch -- Texas Tech at Texas, Thurs., Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1); Ole Miss at Mississippi State, Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN); Iowa at Nebraska, Fri., Nov. 29, noon (ABC); Arkansas at LSU, Nov. 29, 2:30 p.m. (CBS); Miami (Fla.) at Pittsburgh, Nov. 29; Alabama at Auburn, Nov. 30; Penn State at Wisconsin, Nov. 30; Georgia at Georgia Tech, Nov. 30.
Week 15 (Sat., Dec. 7)
* Louisville at Cincinnati, Thurs., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Louisville wraps up its run in the Big East (now the American Athletic Conference) with this game at Cincinnati. Could an unbeaten season or BCS bowl bid be on the line?
* Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Dec. 7 -- The Bedlam rivalry will resume at Stillwater, where a Big 12 championship and BCS bowl bid could be on the line. OU has won nine of the last 10 in this series, including a 51-48 thriller last year at Norman.
* Conference Championship Games -- SEC Championship Game (at Atlanta), Dec. 7, 4 p.m. (CBS); Big Ten Championship Game (at Indianapolis), Dec. 7, 8 p.m. (FOX); Pac-12 Championship Game (at campus site), Dec. 7, 8 p.m. (ABC or ESPN); ACC Championship Game (at Charlotte, N.C.), Dec. 7.
* Others To Watch -- Texas at Baylor, Dec. 7; South Florida at Rutgers, Dec. 7; Army vs. Navy (at Philadelphia), Sat., Dec. 14, 3 p.m. (CBS).
This will be the 16th and final year of the Bowl Championship Series. All games will be televised by ESPN. Here is the schedule for the games in January 2014:
* Rose Bowl (at Pasadena, Calif.), Wed., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. – Pac-12 champion vs. Big Ten champion.
* Fiesta Bowl (at Glendale, Ariz.), Wed., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. – Big 12 champion vs. BCS at-large.
* Sugar Bowl (at New Orleans), Thurs., Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. – SEC champion vs. BCS at-large.
* Orange Bowl (at Miami), Fri., Jan. 3, time TBA – ACC champion vs. BCS at-large.
* BCS National Championship Game (at Pasadena), Mon., Jan. 6, 8:30 p.m. – BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2.
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