5 Most Important Games of the 2012 College Football Season
There will be a playoff in a couple of years, but for now, the most meaningful regular season in sports will once again be full of twists and turns that will set up the title game.
There will be some familiar faces in the picture, though those teams will be joined in a title race by some teams looking to realize their potential.
Some of these games will have a playoff feel to them, as the loser will most likely be out of the national title hunt.
Here are the five most important games of the 2012 college football season.
5. Michigan State vs. Michigan, Oct. 20
This in-state battle could feature the two best teams in the Big Ten. The problem is, they both play in the Legends Division.
The winner will likely have the inside track to the Big Ten title game, knocking the loser out of national title contention early.
4. Oklahoma vs. West Virginia, Nov. 17
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West Virginia's schedule sets up nicely in its first season of Big 12 play. It should be favored in every game with the exception of this one.
Oklahoma will be the the favorites to win the conference, but anything could happen on a cold winter's night in Morgantown that could feature two unbeaten teams late in the season.
Look for an arena football-type score in this battle of offensive powerhouses.
3. Alabama vs. LSU, Nov. 3
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The road to the national championship has gone through the SEC recently. Four of the six titles, however, have been won by teams from the SEC West.
The winner will likely play in the SEC title game, probably for the right to play in the national title game.
With a deeper SEC conference and the resurrection of Southern Cal, it is highly unlikely two teams from the same division—never mind same conference—will make it to the BCS National Championship Game.
That said, the stakes will be higher than last season.
2. Clemson vs. Florida State, Sept. 22
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Florida State appears to be on the brink of big things. To get back to the top, the Seminoles will have to survive an early-season visit from Dabo Swinney and a talented Clemson roster.
The winner of this game is likely to run the table all the way to the ACC title game, putting itself in position for a spot in the BCS championship.
1. Arkansas vs. South Carolina, Nov. 10
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In addition to the ultimate goal of a national title, this game could also decide the Heisman, with South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson on display for the nation to see roughly a month before handing out the trophy.
If Arkansas wins, it could be in line for a matchup with LSU to decide the SEC West title.