Skip to main content
Publish date:

The Top Ten Games That Will Shape the Rest of the Season

1) LSU at Alabama (November 9) - This series won't make any annual list of top college football rivalries, but Tide-Tigers is the biggest thing going in college football on an annual basis. This game has had serious national title implications every year since 2007 and this year will be more of the same with Alabama No. 1 and LSU at No. 6 and rising.

2) Stanford at Oregon (November 7) - The Cardinal used its mulligan on Saturday at Utah, but a second-straight win over the Ducks puts Stanford well in position to return to the Rose Bowl either on January 1 or January 6. Should Oregon avenge its 2012 upset, they'll have a path as clear as it can possibly be in the rough-and-tumble Pac-12 with no ranked teams remaining until the Pac-12 championship game. 

3) Florida State at Clemson (Saturday) - It's my opinion that the SEC West winner and the Pac-12 champion own the first two spots in line on the path to Pasadena but should either of those entities slip up, Saturday night's victor will be next in line. Taking away any national implications, a spot in Charlotte for the ACC championship game as the Atlantic Division winner is all but guaranteed to be decided by midnight on Saturday.

4) UCLA at Stanford (Saturday)
5) UCLA at Oregon (October 26) - We've got to cheat a little bit here, but that's what the situation demands in this case. After Pac-12 championship incumbents each took their turn taking down Washington, now it's UCLA's turn. There isn't a tougher two-week stretch facing any team in college football, and should Jim Mora's team climb this mountain they'll have a great argument as the nation's top-ranked team. 

6) Texas A&M at LSU (November 23) - Whether or not this game has any SEC title implication depends on what happens two weeks earlier in Tuscaloosa, but the entertainment value here should be off the charts. These teams combined for 40 total points in LSU's 21-19 win last season; it's not inconceivable they could meet that number early into the second quarter. If Johnny Manziel has any hope of double Heisman immortality, he'll have to put on a show in Death Valley. 

7) Virginia Tech at Miami (November 9) - Miami's game before this week - at Florida State - could be massive, but we know that Hokies-Canes will decide the ACC Coastal, meeting up with the Florida State-Clemson winner in Charlotte on December 7. 

8) South Carolina at Missouri (October 26) - Considering that both Florida and Georgia may now have more talent on the injured list than the field, the undefeated Tigers and one-loss Gamecocks have to be the favorites to emerge from the SEC East, even if it is by default. Raise your hand if you saw this game as appointment television back in August. 

9) Baylor at Oklahoma State (November 23) - Someone is going to put a challenge into the Bears, and I think we've seen enough to know it won't happen in Waco. Let's go with a road trip into an opposing Big 12 stadium, where Baylor's struggles have come under Art Briles, and (unlike Kansas State) let's take a team with the firepower to keep up with the Bears. In the (albeit short) history of the 10-team Big 12, it was November 18 that undefeated Oklahoma State lost as a road favorite to Iowa State in 2011, and it was November 17 that undefeated Kansas State lost as a road favorite to Baylor. 

10) Ball State at Northern Illinois (November 13) - In what could be the MACtion-iest game in MACtion history, Ball State visits Northern Illinois on a Wednesday night hoping to dethrone the reigning conference champions and take its own seat as the MAC West representative at the conference championship game in Detroit.