Power Ranking the 50 College Football Games We'd Pay to See in Person in 2012

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IJune 7, 2012

Power Ranking the 50 College Football Games We'd Pay to See in Person in 2012

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    The 2011 season provided college football fans with an outstanding season to remember.

    Now that we are three months away from the 2012 season, college fans are starting to wonder what games are going to stand out to the nation when this year is all said and done.

    Grab your calendar and a pen because it is time to mark down these games, because these are the top 50 games of the 2012 season. 

No. 50: Florida at Texas A&M (September 8, 2012)

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    Florida gets a crack at the newcomer to the SEC but will have to do so in one of the toughest stadiums in the nation. With the Gators being used to playing in the Swamp, they will see what life is like when the shoe is on the other foot with crowd noise. 

No. 49: Ohio State at Wisconsin (November 17, 2012)

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    This game could be interesting or not at all. Ohio State is already ineligible for a bowl game and Wisconsin will be playing without Russell Wilson. While both teams still have talent all over their depth chart, the game could lack a lot of meaning this year. 

No. 48: TCU at SMU (September 29, 2012)

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    If SMU wants even more attention or a chance to redeem themselves, beating TCU would be a great start. The SMU offense could keep pace and keep this game close, allowing the home crowd to make a difference. 

No. 47: Miami at Notre Dame (October 6, 2012)

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    A few decades ago, this game would have been at the top of the list, but both teams have fallen off and become shadows of their former self. While the teams may not be up to their fans' standards, this game will at least make you think back to some of the classic games they have been involved in. 

No. 46: Virginia at TCU (September 22, 2012)

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    Mike London continues to impress and if he can get through his out-of-conference schedule in one piece, it will say a lot about what he has done for Virginia. Both of these teams have a lot to play for and will want to earn this big out-of-conference win. 

No. 45: Georgia at Missouri (September 8, 2012)

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    Georgia gets their first look at Missouri this year and will do so on the road. The Bulldogs were able to win 10 straight games last year and head to the SEC title game but will have a new set of challenges this year including playing the Tigers. 

No. 44: Virginia Tech at Pitt (September 15, 2012)

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    In a break from conference play, Virginia Tech heads up to Pittsburgh to take on Pitt. Pitt has a new head coach this year and it will be interesting to see how they do against competition that is better than anything they will see in the Big East.

No. 43: Georgia vs. Florida (October 27, 2012)

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    Georgia and Florida always put a great game together and it is one of the best rivalry games in the SEC. While Georgia appears to be a strong contender in the race to get to the conference title game, Florida needs to show signs of being back.

No. 42: USC at Washington (October 13, 2012)

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    Another Pac-12 game that will have two high-flying offenses is USC and Washington. Both of these two teams have the offense to play with anyone, but the difference will likely be the Trojans defense. 

No. 41: BYU at Utah (September 15, 2012)

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    Every year these two teams lock up against each other for a Holy War and the Cougars have plenty to fight for in 2012. Last year Utah put a beating on BYU and the Cougars would love nothing more than to return the favor on the road. 

No. 40: TCU vs. Oklahoma (December 1, 2012)

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    Oklahoma has already seen what a team like Boise State can do to them when they play uninspired football so they should not be surprised by the talent level of TCU. This will be their first conference game against each other and should be a great defensive battle. 

No. 39: Miami at Kansas State (September 8, 2012)

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    If you looked at this matchup a few years ago, you would think that Miami would walk out of town with an easy win. This year, the Hurricanes will be the underdog as Kansas State had a great season in 2011 and have much of their young offensive talent back for another run in 2012. 

No. 38: Arizona State at Missouri (September 15, 2012)

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    Arizona State and Missouri played a great game last year, and this year the Sun Devils head on the road for the second end of a home-and-home series. The Tigers need this win as they will have their hands full for their upcoming conference schedule. 

No. 37: Michigan at Nebraska (October 27, 2012)

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    In 2011, the Huskers came to the Big House and left with a big loss. This year, Michigan heads on the road to take on Nebraska and will have to deal with a loud crowd in Lincoln. Should be interesting to see if the Wolverines can contain the Huskers run game this year as well as they did last year.

No. 36: Texas A&M at Alabama (November 10, 2012)

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    New to the SEC this year is Texas A&M. The Aggies had their struggle last year with keeping second-half leads, but if they play like that against Alabama, they won't have to worry about it as the Tide and other SEC teams will take them out quickly.

No. 35: Oregon vs. Stanford (November 17, 2012)

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    The past two years have seen a lot of points scored between these two teams. With Andrew Luck, the Cardinal failed to win either game, but maybe with a renewed focus on the run game Stanford can pull out a win. 

No. 34: Cal at Ohio State (September 15, 2012)

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    While Cal has been off the radar for the past few years, they are still making the trip out East to take on Ohio State in Columbus. With the Buckeyes being ineligible for a bowl this year, these are the types of games that Meyer can motivate his team with.

No. 33: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech (September 29, 2012)

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    Cincinnati will be stepping out of a weak conference schedule and taking on one of the ACC's best. It will be interesting to see how the Bearcats fair in this game as a strong performance or win could definitely help the perception of the Big East. 

No. 32: BYU at Notre Dame (October 20, 2012)

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    BYU and Notre Dame are both independents now and will be taking each other on in 2012. The Cougars will be heading to South Bend for this game, and a win would go a long way to rebounding from last year's season. 

No. 31: Wisconsin at Nebraska (September 29, 2012)

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    Despite being without Russell Wilson, the Badgers still have Montee Ball and head to Nebraska this year. This will be a big conference game between teams that have the potential to win the Big 10. Should be a game won between the trenches. 

No. 30: TCU at Texas (November 24, 2012)

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    The other new team to the Big 12 is TCU. The Horned Frogs have been on the national scene for a while now, and watching them head into Austin to take on a historical team like Texas will be quite the experience. 

No. 29: Army vs. Navy (December 8, 2012)

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    Regardless of the records when these two teams play, the pure patriotism and pageantry during this game is enough to tune in. If you have never watched an Army/Navy game, this is the year to do so.

No. 28: Penn State at Virginia (September 8, 2012)

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    Penn State at Virginia is an intriguing out-of-conference game this year. Mike London has done an outstanding job with the Cavaliers and this game will show how far he has brought the program thus far. 

No. 27: USC at Stanford (September 15, 2012)

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    While many expect that Oregon and USC will meet up in November with both teams being undefeated, this is a game that USC needs to focus on early. The Cardinal may have lost Andrew Luck but they are built for hard-nosed running football and could give the Trojans a handful.

No. 26: Ohio State at Penn State (October 27, 2012)

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    This game is interesting as both are under a lot of changes and have new head coaches this year. Penn State is starting their first season without Joe Paterno in decades and the Buckeyes come into the season with Urban Meyer at the helm. Should be a great game in Happy Valley. 

No. 25: Washington at LSU (September 8, 2012)

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    Washington is picking up their out-of-conference scheduling and may have bit off more than they can chew. A trip to Death Valley to take on LSU will tell us a lot about how far the Huskies have come.

No. 24: Michigan vs. Michigan State (October 20, 2012)

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    While everyone is aware of how big the game between Ohio State and Michigan is, this game could arguably be bigger as Michigan and Michigan State are in the same division and the loser of this game will likely be out of the race to go to the Big Ten title game. 

No. 23: Georgia at South Carolina (October 6, 2012)

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    When looking at the game between Georgia and South Carolina, both have hopes of heading to the SEC title game. Last year Georgia was able to punch their ticket to the conference title game and will need to win this key road game if they hope to return. 

No. 22: Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State (November 24, 2012)

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    Last year Oklahoma State blew the doors off of the Sooners in hopes that it would be enough to get them voted into the national title game. With some big-time weapons now gone, Oklahoma will be chomping at the bit to return the favor this season.

No. 21: Auburn vs. Clemson (September 1, 2012)

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    Another big game in the opening week of the season will pit two Tigers against each other. Clemson and Auburn will meet up in the opening week and this could be a great game as both programs have depth and speed all over the field. 

No. 20: Washington at Oregon (October 6, 2012)

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    Don't blink during this game, because these two teams can score and score in a hurry. Along with being a bitter rivalry, these two teams have hopes of winning the Pac-12 North and this could be the key game to make sure they achieve their goal. 

No. 19: Michigan State at Wisconsin (October 27, 2012)

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    Not only did these two deliver a classic during the regular season but also played a thriller in the Big Ten title game. While many of the offensive weapons are gone from both teams, fans on both sides are hoping that the game still finds a way to measure up. 

No. 18: Notre Dame at USC (November 24, 2012)

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    With USC being bowl eligible now, this game should mean even more now. These two teams have been playing for quite some time now and with the Trojans having title aspirations, they will want to defend the Coliseum. 

No. 17: Alabama vs. Auburn (November 24, 2012)

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    The Iron Bowl is another classic rivalry in college football. Alabama and Auburn have been one of the nation's elite over the past few years. After the Tigers won in 2010 and the Tide won in 2011, Alabama returns home and hopes to defend their house. 

No. 16: Michigan at Ohio State (November 24, 2012)

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    Last year Brady Hoke and the Wolverines broke the death grip that Ohio State had on this rivalry. This year the Buckeyes get a shot in the arm as they play at home and under new head coach Urban Meyer. 

No. 15: Boise State at Michigan State (August 31, 2012)

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    Fans may be used to seeing Boise State welcome in a top team or play at a neutral site but this year, the Broncos are heading to East Lansing to play Michigan State. This will be the Broncos first game without Kellen Moore and it will be interesting to see how they transition. 

No. 14: Virginia Tech at Clemson (October 20, 2012)

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    Last year, Clemson proved they were the best in the ACC and did so by beating Virginia Tech on the road and in the ACC title game. In both games, the Tigers won big and look to continue that trend with a home game this season. 

No. 13: Navy vs. Notre Dame (September 1, 2012)

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    Usually this game would not be this high on the list, but this year is an exception. To kick start the year, the Irish and Midshipmen will be playing this game in Dublin, Ireland. This will be one of the most unique games as seeing the Irish play in Ireland will be a real treat. 

No. 12: South Carolina at Clemson (November 24, 2012)

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    Another exciting out-of-conference game will take place between South Carolina and Clemson. Both teams have exciting offenses, and assuming that both are healthy, this should be a fun game to watch. 

No. 11: West Virginia at Oklahoma State (November 10, 2012)

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    With the addition of West Virginia to the Big 12, fans are being treated to new matchups that we are not used to seeing. While the Cowboys may be taking a step back this year, it will still be interesting to see how these two programs size each other up.

No. 10: Oklahoma vs. Texas (October 13, 2012)

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    These two teams meet up every year and it is one of the biggest rivalries in college football history. Both programs are entering the game with strong teams and it should be another outstanding game in this rivalry. 

No. 9: Michigan at Notre Dame (September 22, 2012)

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    Last year Michigan and Notre Dame played under the lights and treated fans to a thriller at the Big House. This year the game heads to South Bend, and we are hoping that it can deliver the same excitement as we saw this past season. 

No. 8: Florida State at Virginia Tech (November 8, 2012)

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    Both Florida State and Virginia Tech have the talent to win the ACC and meet the expectations most have of them. Since both teams have the talent to make a run at the national title game, this may show us which team is ready to take that step.

No. 7: Michigan vs. Alabama (September 1, 2012)

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    College football has seen some outstanding games at the start of the year for the past few seasons and this year we get to watch Michigan and Alabama go head-to-head in Dallas. While both are legendary programs, it will be interesting to see how the Wolverines stack up to one of the nation's elite.

No. 6: LSU at Arkansas (November 23, 2012)

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    Much like the Alabama vs. Arkansas game, this matchup will help shape how the SEC shakes out. Both teams have extremely deep squads and this is going to be one of the better SEC games you see all year long. 

No. 5: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma (November 17, 2012)

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    New to the Big 12 this year is West Virginia. West Virginia is a team that could make a strong push for a national title appearance but will need to measure up to teams like Oklahoma. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, the Sooners come to their house in 2012. 

No. 4: Alabama at Arkansas (September 15, 2012)

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    In 2011, the Razorbacks lost to LSU and Arkansas and both were road games. This year, the Hogs get the Tide at home and if they hope to have a shot at winning the SEC, this is a must-win game for Arkansas. 

No. 3: Notre Dame at Oklahoma (October 27,2012)

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    Fans are used to seeing the Irish play some big games at the start of the year and then coast to their matchup with USC, but that is not the case this season. Late in the season, the Irish head to Norman and will take on a tough Sooners team. 

No. 2: Alabama at LSU (November 3, 2012)

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    Last year these two teams not only hooked up during conference play but found each other again in the national title game. This year the Tide head to Death Valley and will be playing an inspired Tigers team, ready to avenge the loss from last year.

No. 1: Oregon at USC (November 3, 2012)

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    It was close, but the game of the year will be Oregon at USC. Both teams should enter this game undefeated and a win will likely earn home-field advantage in the Pac-12 title game for the winner. Both of these teams have the capability to win the national title and this is as close to a playoff game as you will see.