1 'Must-Win' Game on Every FBS Football Team's 2012 Schedule

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2012

1 'Must-Win' Game on Every FBS Football Team's 2012 Schedule

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    As college football fans continue to wait and wait for the 2012 season, one thing that we all tend to do is take a look at the schedule. 

    For the most part, all of the schedules are out, and we can take a look at some of the big games or big weeks that we are in store for this fall. 

    When looking at an individual team, some games should be easy wins and some may be a stretch, but every team's schedule has a game that sticks out as a must-win for that program.

    Whether it is a rivalry game, revenge game or game against an opponent that could elevate their program, here is a look at the must-win game for every FBS team in the nation. 

Boston College

1 of 120

    Opponent: Miami

    Last year, the year got off to a rough start as Boston College lost to Northwestern, who was playing without Dan Persa at quarterback. Along with this game setting the tone for the year, this will also be a conference game and an early must-win for the Eagles. 

Clemson

2 of 120

    Opponent: at Virginia Tech

    While their season opener against the Auburn Tigers will be a huge game, their game in the middle of the year will be even bigger as they welcome in Virginia Tech.

    Like last year, this will feature two of the top teams in the conference, and the Tigers can continue their dominance over the Hokies. 

Virginia

3 of 120

    Opponent: At NC State

    The early conference schedule is kind to the Cavaliers, but after getting a bye week, they head on the road to play NC State. After last year's successful season, a win in this game will show that 2011 was not a fluke. 

Virginia Tech

4 of 120

    Opponent: At Clemson

    Last year, the Hokies lost to the Clemson Tigers on two separate occasions. This year, Virginia Tech has to go Death Valley, and a third straight loss to the Tigers could really set them back and will have them doubting themselves should they meet back up in the ACC title game. 

Duke

5 of 120

    Opponent: North Carolina Central

    The season is usually a grind for a team like Duke. During the fall, most Duke fans are just thankful that the basketball season is closing in. In 2012, a loss against FCS North Carolina Central would be devastating, so it is a must-win for the Blue Devils. 

North Carolina

6 of 120

    Opponent: NC State

    Along with being a rival, North Carolina has to be circling their game against NC State this year. In 2011, the Wolfpack shut out the Tar Heels 13-0, and that kind of result will be unacceptable for North Carolina fans this year. 

Maryland

7 of 120

    Opponent: Florida State

    While most games will be huge for Randy Edsall in his second year as head coach, this year's game against the Seminoles will be huge. Last year, Florida State rolled the Terrapins, and a win here would show fans that Edsall has things moving in the right direction. 

NC State

8 of 120

    Opponent: At Miami 

    After a manageable out-of-conference schedule, the Wolfpack open up ACC play on the road against Miami. With Mike Glennon back at quarterback, this game will quickly show if they are ready to make a run at the ACC title. 

Wake Forest

9 of 120

    Opponent: Clemson

    As the month of October comes to an end, Wake Forest will come face to face with a huge test. On a Thursday night, the Demon Deacons host Clemson in a huge ACC game.

    The game will certainly test their defense and will help them measure where they are.  

Florida State

10 of 120

    Opponent: At Virginia Tech

    While an early-season game against Clemson will be huge, the Seminoles' game against Virginia Tech towards the end of the year is even bigger. The game will not only help determine positioning in the conference but also could be huge for national rankings. 

Georgia Tech

11 of 120

    Opponent: At Georgia 

    While all of their conference games are certainly huge, the Yellow Jackets lost to rival Georgia last year by two touchdowns. This year, they have to head into enemy grounds and look to make sure that the Bulldogs don't make it four in a row. 

Miami

12 of 120

    Opponent: Florida State

    Whenever teams from the state of Florida play each other, it is huge for both recruiting and pride to earn that victory. This year, Miami hosts the game against the Seminoles, and for Al Golden and the Hurricanes, this is a huge game.

Baylor

13 of 120

    Opponent: At West Virginia

    Last year was an amazing season for Baylor and Robert Griffin III, but this year Griffin is gone and the Bears will need to retool. This year the conference schedule starts against newcomer West Virginia, and the road game is a must-win if the Bears want to prove they were more than just Griffin. 

Iowa State

14 of 120

    Opponent: At Iowa

    While games in the Big 12 will be big for Iowa State, no game is bigger for the Cyclones than their rivalry game against Iowa. Last year the Cyclones won at home in overtime and are hoping to repeat the effort in 2012. 

Kansas

15 of 120

    Opponent: At Iowa State

    With the recent hire of Charlie Weis, the Jayhawks are starting to put last year behind them, but unfortunately the same issues exist. With the lack of talent on both sides of the ball, their game against Iowa State is within reach, and a win would go a long way. 

Kansas State

16 of 120

    Opponent: At Baylor

    Late in the year, the Wildcats head out onto the road to take on Baylor. After last year's performance, the Wildcats have aspirations of competing for the Big 12 title and a late-season loss would be disastrous. 

Oklahoma

17 of 120

    Opponent: Oklahoma State

    No way around this, Oklahoma got it handed to them last year by rival Oklahoma State, and it is time for payback. This year the Sooners are at home, and after the way the Cowboys ran it up on them in 2011, there should be no lack of motivation this year. 

Oklahoma State

18 of 120

    Oklahoma State: At Oklahoma

    Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their must-win game is going to be an uphill battle as they head on the road to take on Oklahoma. Last year the Cowboys won big and should know that when they go up against the Sooners, they will need everyone at their best to keep things close. 

Texas

19 of 120

    Opponent: Oklahoma

    Like most years, the biggest game for Texas is in the Red River Rivalry against Oklahoma. For the past few years, Texas has been trying to find its way, and another loss to Oklahoma may continue to set them back.  

Texas Tech

20 of 120

    Opponent: Oklahoma

    In 2011, the Red Raiders went on the road and shocked the nation by taking out Oklahoma. Unfortunately for Texas Tech, they squandered that win by losing the rest of their games. 

    If Texas Tech hopes to have a successful season, it needs to start with a win over Oklahoma and continue from there. 

TCU

21 of 120

    Opponent: At West Virginia

    With the addition of both TCU and West Virginia, a lot of teams around the Big 12 are going to be jockeying for position throughout the year.

    For TCU, they want to prove they are the best team to come to the Big 12, and in order to do so, they must take down West Virginia on the road. 

West Virginia

22 of 120

    Opponent: Oklahoma

    After leaving the Big East, West Virginia has landed in the Big 12, and they have a lot to prove. In their first year, West Virginia hosts Oklahoma and will be looking to prove that they are the top team in the conference. 

Illinois

23 of 120

    Opponent: At Arizona State

    Last season, Illinois was able to defeat Arizona State at home, but this year they head on the road to face the Sun Devils. If the Illini can handle them again, they may be able to jump out to another fast start and hope to finish what they started last year. 

Indiana

24 of 120

    Opponent: At Indiana State

    Last year Indiana only managed one victory. This year, they start out the season with FCS opponent Indiana State, and if the Hoosiers fail to defeat them, they may be in for a really long season that could end with zero victories. 

Iowa

25 of 120

    Opponent: Iowa State

    Last year the Hawkeyes suffered a tough overtime loss to rival Iowa State. This year, Iowa is the host and is out for revenge. A loss at home to their rival would be hard for everyone to handle. 

Michigan

26 of 120

    Opponent: At Michigan State

    Usually the game against Ohio State is always the most important game of the year, but in 2012, Michigan's home date against the Spartans is a must-win.

    If Denard Robinson and company are unable to take out the Spartans, then it would be a fifth straight loss for the Wolverines. 

Michigan State

27 of 120

    Opponent: Boise State

    While their games against Michigan and Ohio State are huge, the Spartans start the year at home against Boise State. Despite the losses that the Spartans suffered on offense, this is a statement game that would grab some national attention for the Spartans. 

Minnesota

28 of 120

    Opponent: Western Michigan

    To start the year, Minnesota opens up against UNLV and New Hampshire. If the Gophers can go 2-0 in those games, then a win over Western Michigan could set them up to make a run at a bowl berth this year. 

Nebraska

29 of 120

    Opponent: Michigan

    In 2011 the Cornhuskers made their first trip to the Big House in Ann Arbor and got rolled over by the Wolverines. This year, Michigan has to come to Lincoln, and not only will it be huge for revenge but also a must-win for the division. 

Northwestern

30 of 120

    Opponent: Indiana

    When you play Indiana, it is a must-win because a loss could completely derail your entire season. Last year Northwestern had an average year, but one sure-fire way to suffer a setback would be to lose to the Hoosiers. 

Ohio State

31 of 120

    Opponent: Michigan

    Last year the run of wins over Michigan was snapped as the Wolverines took down the Buckeyes. This year the Buckeyes have Urban Meyer as their head coach, and he needs to set the tone with a first-year win over Michigan. 

Penn State

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    Opponent: Wisconsin

    At the end of the year, Penn State will get a shot at Wisconsin, much like they did last year. With Ohio State being banned from the postseason, this game could determine the division winner and who will move on to the Big 10 title game. 

Purdue

33 of 120

    Opponent: At Minnesota

    In the middle of the season, Purdue faces a rough patch of schedule as they take on Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State in consecutive weeks. The week after that stretch is against Minnesota and having that be a fourth straight loss would be disastrous. 

Wisconsin

34 of 120

    Opponent: At Penn State

    Last year Wisconsin saw how important a win over Penn State would be as it punched their ticket into the Big 10 title game. Again, these two teams meet in the final week of the season, and it is as much of a must-win as it was last year. 

USC

35 of 120

    Opponent: Oregon

    The win over Oregon last year was nice, but it is time to show the nation that the Trojans are back in 2012. Early in the year, the schedule is favorable, and a victory over the Ducks for the second straight year would show people that USC may be starting another run.

UCLA

36 of 120

    Opponent: USC

    In his first year, Jim Mora has come in to UCLA and has a lot to do. One of the first things that the Bruins' head man has to do is turn around the lopsided rivalry with USC. A win in his first year would go a long way for fans and supporters of the program. 

Utah

37 of 120

    Opponent: USC

    This year, Utah may be the only real competition that the Trojans face is the Pac-12 South division. Fortunately for the Utes, they get USC at home. If they have any aspirations of going to the conference title game, then their game against the Trojans is a must-win. 

Colorado

38 of 120

    Opponent: Colorado State

    While things in conference may not be going so well for the Buffaloes, they did defeat their rivals Colorado State last year. This season the rivalry game kicks off the year, and another win in this matchup should keep fans content. 

Arizona

39 of 120

    Opponent: Oklahoma State

    Last year was murder on the Wildcats as it seemed like every week they were playing a top-25 team. This year, the schedule still is difficult, but with the losses that Oklahoma State had on offense, this is a winnable game for the Wildcats and is a must-win if they hope to have a better 2012.

Arizona State

40 of 120

    Opponent: At Arizona

    Last year the Sun Devils were the clear favorite to win the Pac-12 South. As the second half of the year approached, Arizona State fell apart and never recovered. 

    This year, the Sun Devils hope to redeem themselves, and more importantly, they need to get back at their rivals for beating them at home.

Oregon

41 of 120

    Opponent: At USC

    Last year's loss at home to USC was one that took Oregon a while to get over. This year, the Ducks are without LaMichael James and Darron Thomas but still appear to be the favorite in the Pac-12 North. A win here against the Trojans could set the Ducks up with homefield advantage in the Pac-12 title game. 

Oregon State

42 of 120

    Opponent: At Nicholls State

    After an opening-week loss to Sacramento State last year, Oregon State went in a downward spiral and never recovered. This year, the Beavers open up against another FCS opponent, and it has become their must-win game of the season. 

Cal

43 of 120

    Opponent: Oregon

    With Stanford losing Andrew Luck, the door is open for Cal to compete with Oregon for the division. Luckily for the Golden Bears, they get Oregon at home and will need to capitalize on that to take down the Ducks. 

Stanford

44 of 120

    Opponent: At Oregon

    Over the past two years, Stanford has fallen apart against Oregon, and it will not get easier this season as they are without Andrew Luck. If the Cardinal have any hopes of heading to the Pac-12 title game, they must get past the Ducks at Autzen Stadium.

Washington

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    Opponent: At Oregon

    Time is ticking for Washington as they appear to have the offense to compete in the Pac-12 but not necessarily the defense. While the offense may be able to carry them through most games, the Huskies must beat the Ducks at Autzen if they hope to play for the conference title. 

Washington State

46 of 120

    Opponent: Washington

    The 2012 season will be the first year for Mike Leach as head coach at Washington State, and many fans are expecting a big impact. Like most years, Cougar fans want to see a win over in-state rival Washington, and Leach must deliver on that. 

Alabama

47 of 120

    Opponent: At Arkansas

    Last year Alabama was able to handle Tyler Wilson at home, and it proved to be huge as they got into the national title game with one loss. This year, the Razorbacks look strong, and this could prove to be a huge divisional matchup for both teams.

Auburn

48 of 120

    Opponent: At Alabama

    Since Auburn has won a national title in 2010, they had the upper hand over rival Alabama. It didn't take long for the Tide to get even as they beat the Tigers and won the national title last year. Another loss in the Iron Bowl would not sit well for Tiger fans.

Arkansas

49 of 120

    Opponent: Alabama

    Early on in the 2011 season, the Razorbacks failed to defeat the Tide and LSU, their only two losses of the season. This year, the team returns with Tyler Wilson and a healthy Knile Davis and needs to win this game if they are serious about winning the SEC. 

Florida

50 of 120

    Opponent: Georgia

    Since losing Tim Tebow, Florida has been floating in mediocrity and has not gotten back to the top of the SEC. This year, the Gators have some huge games on their schedule, but their rivalry matchup with the Bulldogs is a must-win. 

Georgia

51 of 120

    Georgia: Florida 

    Mark Richt helped turn things around quickly at Georgia, and after a 0-2 start, the Bulldogs ripped off 10 straight wins. This year, the Bulldogs are looking at returning to the SEC title game, and a win over rival Florida is a must. 

Kentucky

52 of 120

    Opponent: At Louisville

    While the games between Kentucky and Louisville are a lot more meaningful in basketball, the two do go at it in football, and it is starting to mean more to both fan bases. Last year, the Cardinals won by a touchdown, so Joker Phillips and Kentucky need a win this year on the road. 

LSU

53 of 120

    Opponent: Alabama

    Last year ended in heartbreak for the Tigers as they beat Alabama in the regular season and won the SEC title game and yet had to face the Tide again and lost. This year, the Tigers get the Tide at home, and for their pride and division, this is a must-win. 

Mississippi State

54 of 120

    Opponent: At Ole Miss

    While most Mississippi State fans are hoping for much larger wins this season, the Bulldogs know that beating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl is a must. So far Dan Mullen has been very successful against the Rebels but needs to continue to beat them while the team looks to be more competitive in the SEC.

Ole Miss

55 of 120

    Opponent: Mississippi State

    Ole Miss is continuing to slip into the abyss of college football, and it is a painful realization for Rebel fans. What makes things worse is that they are losing ground on rival Mississippi State, and their home game this year is a must-win for the Rebels. 

Missouri

56 of 120

    Opponent: Georgia

    With Texas A&M and Missouri both moving to the SEC, most expect that Missouri will be the team that struggles. The Tigers open up the conference schedule against Georgia, and it is a must-win as it will show the conference that they are not in over their head. 

South Carolina

57 of 120

    Opponent: At Florida

    While the Gamecocks do have games against LSU and Clemson, the most important game to them that they must win is at Florida. Along with this being Steve Spurrier's old team, it is a game that will help separate them in their own division. 

Tennessee

58 of 120

    Opponent: Florida

    Back in the 90's, Tennessee against Florida was a huge game. Currently both teams find themselves unable to get back to an elite status, and with a healthy Tyler Bray, Tennessee has a chance to take a step forward this year. It starts with beating Florida. 

Texas A&M

59 of 120

    Opponent: Whichever SEC they hold a lead over at the half

    While Texas A&M has some key games on their schedule, the must-win that they face this year is whenever they hold a halftime lead over a conference opponent. Last year the Aggies struggled when having a lead, and collapsing again could ruin this teams season.

Vanderbilt

60 of 120

    Opponent: South Carolina

    James Franklin is doing a nice job of turning things around at Vanderbilt, but in order for the Commodores to show they are legit, they need a signature win.

    This year, Vanderbilt starts the year against South Carolina at home on a Thursday night, and if they want to show they are for real, this is a must-win for the program. 

Cincinnati

61 of 120

    Opponent: At Louisville

    With the recent departure of West Virginia, the Big East is wide-open. Last year Cincinnati was part of a three-way tie for the title, so beating Louisville—another team involved in the tie—could punch their ticket to the Big East. 

Connecticut

62 of 120

    Opponent: At Maryland

    Even without looking at their conference schedule, Connecticut wants to win their road game against Maryland more than any other game. This game puts them up against former coach Randy Edsall and would be a huge stepping stone for the program. 

Louisville

63 of 120

    Opponent: Cincinnati

    With West Virginia gone, the biggest challenge for the Cardinals is likely going to be Cincinnati. Both teams were part of a three-way tie for the conference title last year, and with the game at home, the Cardinals must win if they hope to repeat. 

Pittsburgh

64 of 120

    Opponent: Louisville

    Pittsburgh is a team that continues to under perform, and with the Big East race being wide open, now is the time to shake that habit and break through. With a game against Louisville at home, Pittsburgh must win this game if they have any hopes of winning the conference. 

Rutgers

65 of 120

    Opponent: Louisville

    Last year, Rutgers lost 16-14 on the road against Louisville, a loss that potentially cost them a shot at the Big East title. Despite losing head coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers still has a shot at the conference title but must beat Louisville at home. 

Syracuse

66 of 120

    Opponent: At Minnesota

    Syracuse starts the season with a very manageable schedule. They play Northwestern, USC, Stony Brook and then head to Minnesota. While the game against USC will be tough, Syracuse at the worst should be heading to Minnesota at 1-2 or possibly 2-1, so the game against the Gophers will be huge before entering conference play. 

South Florida

67 of 120

    Opponent: Pittsburgh

    After an impressive start to their 2011 season, South Florida had their doors blown off by Pittsburgh on the road. This year, South Florida hosts the Panthers and are looking to return the favor. 

Notre Dame

68 of 120

    Opponent: Navy

    To start the 2012 season, the Irish have all the pressure in the world on them as they head across the Atlantic to play Navy in Dublin, Ireland. The Irish must win this game, or it would be a huge blow to Brian Kelly and the program.  

Army

69 of 120

    Opponent: Navy

    For Army this question is simple. At the end of the year, Army will look for revenge against Navy in a game that is unlike any other. When these two service academies get together, it is a sight to see.

Navy

70 of 120

    Opponent: Army

    Just like for Army, the must-win game of the year for Navy is going to be against the Army Black Knights. The one difference for the two is that Navy could be in better positioning to make a bowl game than Army would be. 

BYU

71 of 120

    Opponent: At Utah

    The game between BYU and Utah is more than just a football game. When these two teams get together, it divides families. To make things even more personal, Utah won 54-10 last year, and the Cougars would love nothing more then to exact revenge.

East Carolina

72 of 120

    Opponent: Houston

    At the start of November, East Carolina welcomes in Houston for a big conference game. With the loss of Case Keenum, Houston will have a down year, and the Pirates need to take advantage by coming out of this game with a win.

Houston

73 of 120

    Opponent: At SMU

    After having their perfect season fall apart in the Conference USA title game, Houston won their bowl game but now experience life without Case Keenum. If the Cougars want to return to the conference title game, they must win on the road against SMU. 

Marshall

74 of 120

    Opponent: Memphis

    Late in the year, Marshall is at home and is going up against Memphis. While there is no huge rivalry there, Memphis is one of the worst teams in the nation, and Marshall must not let a win slip away here. 

Memphis

75 of 120

    Opponent: UT Martin

    Last year Memphis only managed two wins, and it appears that the number for 2012 may be very similar. If the Tigers want to have any hope of improving on last year's mark, they must defeat UT Martin at home. 

Rice

76 of 120

    Opponent: At Kansas

    Rice's season starts out with a tough game against UCLA at home, but then they head on the road to face Kansas. Win or lose against UCLA, the Owls need to take advantage of a miserable Kansas team that will be undergoing changes. 

SMU

77 of 120

    Opponent: Tulsa

    Over the past few seasons, SMU has been getting better and better, and with Houston rebuilding, this could be the year that the Mustangs take advantage. At the end of the year, SMU plays Tulsa, and the game could decide who goes to the conference championship. 

Southern Miss

78 of 120

    Opponent: Marshall

    Last year, Southern Miss came out of nowhere and surprised a lot of people by winning the Conference USA title. This year, the Golden Eagles have some rebuilding to do and know that a loss to Marshall would hurt their chances of repeating. 

Tulane

79 of 120

    Opponent: Memphis

    Along with Memphis, Tulane was the worst team in the conference. This year the non-conference schedule is not forgiving, so the Golden Wave must win their matchup with the Tigers late in the year. 

Tulsa

80 of 120

    Opponent: At SMU

    Despite losing their starting quarterback from last year, Tulsa will still be in the running to go to the Conference USA title game. In order to do so, the Golden Hurricanes know that their last game of the year against SMU is a must-win to accomplish their goals. 

UAB

81 of 120

    Opponent: At Tulane

    In 2011, UAB struggled for much of the year and finished 3-9. This year, they will face many of the same challenges.

    While their home game against Memphis should result in a win, they must take advantage of a road game with Tulane and come out with a win. 

UCF

82 of 120

    Opponent: UAB

    Last year both UAB and UCF finished with three wins, and the two teams meet up at the end of the 2012 season. Last year the Knights lost 26-24 to UAB and are going to be desperate to earn some redemption. 

UTEP

83 of 120

    Opponent: Tulane

    In 2011, the only two teams with a worse conference record then UTEP were Memphis and Tulane. In 2012, the Miners are at home against Tulane, and there would be no excuses if UTEP falls short this year. 

Akron

84 of 120

    Opponent: Morgan State

    When you only win one game last year and zero in conference play, you are in a world of hurt coming into 2012. If Akron wants to improve on last year's mark, they must beat Morgan State.

Ball State

85 of 120

    Opponent: At Indiana

    Ball State had an average 2011, and coming into 2012, they are hoping they can make a bowl game. One way to take a step towards that is by making sure they beat Indiana on the road, a team that only managed one win last year. 

Bowling Green

86 of 120

    Opponent: At Ball State

    Bowling Green is a middle-of-the-road team in the MAC conference, and if they hope for that to change, they need to start beating some of the teams ahead of them. This year they head on the road to Ball State, and the game will show people a lot about where Bowling Green is. 

Buffalo

87 of 120

    Opponent: Morgan State

    Like other teams that struggle to win, Buffalo is in the same boat. A loss to Morgan State at home would be devastating, so the Bulls need to earn a win in this game. 

Central Michigan

88 of 120

    Opponent: Western Michigan

    For the past few years, Central Michigan has continued to fall further and further off the map in the MAC. This year, the Chippewas need to turn things around, and it starts with a win over Western Michigan. 

Eastern Michigan

89 of 120

    Opponent: At Western Michigan

    Over the past few seasons, Ron English has turned the Eastern Michigan program around, and in 2012, he is looking to take another step. This year, the Eagles head on the road to play Western Michigan, and a win would signal that they are continuing to improve. 

Kent State

90 of 120

    Opponent: Temple

    Last year, Kent State finished third in their division and 4-4 overall in the conference. This year, the Golden Flashes need to find a way to beat teams like Temple, especially when they get to play them at home. 

Miami (OH)

91 of 120

    Opponent: Kent State

    With a brutal out-of-conference schedule, the RedHawks need to capitalize on their conference home games. This year the Golden Flashes come to town, and the RedHawks must find a way to win this game and stay afloat in the conference race.

Northern Illinois

92 of 120

    Opponent: Toledo

    Last year Northern Illinois won the MAC championship, and despite some losses in the offseason, they certainly have the talent to do it again. One thing standing in their way is Toledo, but with the game being at home, the Huskies must win this game. 

Ohio

93 of 120

    Opponent: At Temple

    Last year's great season ended in heartbreak as the Bobcats lost in the MAC title game to Northern Illinois. They return this year with a strong core, and in order to punch their ticket back to the title game, they must go through a tough Temple team on the road. 

Temple

94 of 120

    Opponent: Ohio

    Last year Temple had a surprisingly good season and is looking to build on it in 2012. The one team that will likely be standing in their way of making the MAC title game is Ohio, so beating them at home is a must-win game. 

Toledo

95 of 120

    Opponent: At Northern Illinois

    Toledo is a young team on the rise and will give Northern Illinois a serious run for the division and conference title. While it is on the road, if Toledo hopes to go to the MAC title game, they must beat Northern Illinois to do so. 

Western Michigan

96 of 120

    Opponent: Eastern Michigan

    Not only is their game against the Eagles a rivalry game, but Eastern Michigan is right on their heels and has caught up fast. This is a must-win for the Broncos, not only for conference standing but also for in-state recruiting. 

Air Force

97 of 120

    Opponent: At San Diego State

    With the losses that San Diego State had to their offense in the offseason, the Aztecs are not going to be as strong as they were last year. This is good news for Air Force, as a road win will help them jump them in the conference rankings. 

Boise State

98 of 120

    Opponent: At Michigan State

    While Boise State still has a strong core of players, the perception this year is that most won't have to worry about them trying to get into the national title. Boise State must beat Michigan State in the opening week to give themselves a huge boost and shatter the perception most have coming into this year. 

Colorado State

99 of 120

    Opponent: New Mexico

    Not many teams are worse in the conference, but luckily for Colorado State, New Mexico is. While their game against Colorado is big, the Rams must win against New Mexico, or the season will end on an awful note. 

Fresno State

100 of 120

    Opponent: Colorado

    Fresno State is beginning the 2012 season without former coach Pat Hill and has a rough start. After a game at Oregon, the Bulldogs get Colorado. If they do not win there, it could be weeks before they are able to earn another victory. 

Hawaii

101 of 120

    Opponent: At Air Force

    Last year was a bit of a letdown for the Warriors as they finished the year at 6-7. This year the end of their schedule shapes up favorably, and if they can win on the road against Air Force, then Hawaii should end the year on a three-game winning streak. 

Nevada

102 of 120

    Opponent: Northwestern State

    For the second consecutive year, Nevada has a tough non-conference schedule that threatens to put them behind the eight ball. After games against Cal and South Florida, the Wolf Pack must come up big with a win at home against Northwestern State. 

New Mexico

103 of 120

    Opponent: Southern

    When you only won one game in 2011, games against the FCS schools are not always a gimme. This year, New Mexico takes on Southern to open the year, and if they hope to at least match last year's win total, they must come away with a win in this game. 

San Diego State

104 of 120

    Opponent: At Wyoming

    Besides losing to Boise State, the other tough loss that San Diego State suffered came to Wyoming. This year, San Diego State is rebuilding their offense, and by the time the end of the season arrives, the Aztecs must defeat Wyoming to have any chance of finishing in the top half of the conference. 

UNLV

105 of 120

    Opponent: New Mexico

    The only thing keeping UNLV out of the basement of their conference is New Mexico. While UNLV continues improve, they must stay ahead of New Mexico, or things could hit rock bottom. 

Wyoming

106 of 120

    Opponent: Boise State

    If Wyoming wants a shot at winning the conference, it is a very simple formula. With TCU gone and Boise State potentially having a down year, the Cowboys must capitalize on home field and beat Boise State at home. 

Arkansas State

107 of 120

    Opponent: Memphis

    To start the year, Arkansas State heads on the road to Oregon and to Nebraska. Sandwiched in between those two games is a home date with Memphis. This is a must-win to ensure that they do not start the year 0-3. 

FIU

108 of 120

    Opponent: At Florida Atlantic

    Towards the end of the 2012 season, FIU will be taking on Florida Atlantic. While the game should be an easy win, they must ensure they do earn a win, as it will be on a Friday night on ESPN. 

Florida Atlantic

109 of 120

    Opponent: Wagner

    For all of those who are Florida Atlantic fans, I am sorry. Last year was a tough season to watch, and this one will likely be just as bad. The Owls open the season with Wagner and need to win because it is their best shot at doing so. 

Middle Tennessee

110 of 120

    Opponent: At Memphis

    Middle Tennessee has struggled for a few years now. This season, the Blue Raiders travel to Memphis, and a loss should not be an option for them. 

North Texas

111 of 120

    Opponent: At Middle Tennessee

    Last year North Texas ran the score up big against Middle Tennessee. With the Blue Raiders gunning for them, North Texas needs to make sure they bring the same effort against them this year. 

Troy

112 of 120

    Opponent: Western Kentucky

    During the 2011 season, Troy walked into a road game against Western Kentucky and got hammered. With the sting of last year's embarrassing loss, the Trojans need to exact their revenge and defend their home field. 

UL Lafayette

113 of 120

    Opponent: At UL Monroe

    Louisiana Lafayette has begun to see some growth and has made strides to improve. After a successful 2011, the Ragin Cajuns will look to continue to dominate rival UL Monroe on the road. 

UL Monroe

114 of 120

    Opponent: South Alabama

    Whenever you get a team on your schedule that is switching from the FCS division to the FBS division, you need to make sure you get that win. This year the Warhawks play South Alabama, and losing this one is not an option. 

Western Kentucky

115 of 120

    Opponent: At Troy

    Last year, Western Kentucky put a ton of points up on the scoreboard as they rolled over Troy. This year they have to head on the road to face the Trojans and need to bring their best as Troy will be looking to even the score. 

Idaho

116 of 120

    Opponent: At Louisiana Tech

    Idaho knows that if they want to win the WAC this year, they have to go through last year's champion Louisiana Tech. This year the Vandals head on the road into a must-win environment against the Bulldogs. 

Louisiana Tech

117 of 120

    Opponent: Idaho

    Louisiana Tech is in a strong position to win the WAC title once again. In order for them to do so, the Bulldogs know that their game in the middle of the year against Idaho is a must win. 

New Mexico State

118 of 120

    Opponent: San Jose State

    In a battle to stay out of the bottom of the WAC conference, New Mexico State has a home date against San Jose State. Both teams will struggle, but the Aggies need to ensure that they are not at the bottom of the rankings. 

San Jose State

119 of 120

    Opponent: At New Mexico State

    Last year San Jose State managed to beat New Mexico State at home, but this year's game is on the road. Both teams have some serious struggles, but like the Aggies, the Spartans do not want the tag of being last in the WAC. 

Utah State

120 of 120

    Opponent: Utah

    Last year Utah State almost started the year with a program-changing win over Auburn. In the second week of this season, the Aggies take on in-state team Utah, and a win could provide them with bragging rights and a great start to the year.