The Ten Games That Will Shape the 2009 College Football Season
The 2008 college football season gave us a lot of thrills, chills, spills, and, as always, controversy. As the 2009 season approaches—only 155 days to go if you are counting—here are the Top 10 games you can look forward to making a splash in 2009.
And for those of you who have your hopes up...I'm sorry, but the 2009 battle for the Apple Cup didn't make the list.
10. Oklahoma @ Miami on Sept. 12
Miami continues to scale the mountain back to the national spotlight, and what better test for the Hurricanes then one of the true forces in college football: the Sooners.
This early season showdown will also show if the Sooners are ready to compete for another shot at the BCS National Championship.
9. Florida State @ BYU on Sept. 19
The Cougars try to prove, once and for all, that they deserve to play with the big boys when they host tradition-rich BCS power Florida State. All eyes will be on FSU as they attempt to regain face following this spring's inquiry into violations that could place the team on probation.
8. Utah @ TCU (Game day TBD)
Both of these schools will be coming into the season with BCS-busting on the brain, and maybe even national title hopes for Utah.
After this game, one of these schools can kiss that dream good-bye, the winner will be one step closer to being invited to the BCS party.
7. Louisiana State @ Alabama on Nov. 7
This game should serve as the SEC West Title Game. Nick Saban and Les Miles should have their QBs in place, and always its a classic match-up of a cerebral game manager and a psychotic game changer.
Oh, and let's not forget how Bayou Bengal faithful feel about their old coach.
6. Georgia @ Oklahoma State on Sept. 5
Both schools have the talent to make it to the BCS National Championship, but play in though conferences. This early-season match-up could determine a BCS at-large spot down the road.
Oklahoma State returns a nice core of players who were in the Top 15 for a good part of last season, while Georgia will be finding a new identity.
This game will show if the Dawgs did enough in the spring to recover from their personnel losses...after all...they do still have A.J. Green.
5. Alabama @ Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic
For the second year in a row, Chick-fil-A is sponsoring a huge match-up to the begin the season in the Georgia Dome.
Last year's win for Alabama was a major factor leading to that No. 1 ranking the Crimson Tide enjoyed most of the season. If the Hokies win this game, they could be staring down the National Championship the rest of the season.
4. Utah @ Oregon on Sept. 19
Utah will be gunning for national respect and a ranking high enough and early enough to get them to the BCS Championship Game.
An early win over the always-crafty Ducks will help them do just that. Oregon, on the other hand, will be building on last season as they try to unseat USC and the kings of the Pac-10.
3. Florida @ LSU on Oct. 10
Tim Tebow's final trip to Tiger Stadium will no doubt be one for the ages. With the expectation of the '08 game, the Tigers and the Gators battle always battle each other tough normally with conference and national implications. 2009 should be no different.
2. USC @ Ohio State on Sept. 12
Don't expect this game to turn out like the '08 game did. With a more seasoned Terrelle Pryor and the crowd in the Horseshoe, Ohio State proved in the Fiesta Bowl they will not lay down.
USC will also be breaking in a new QB this game, which really doesn't mean much, as USC is an NFL QB factory.
1. Oklahoma @ Texas on Oct. 17 from the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX
Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy return for one last heavyweight match up in The Red River Shootout. The air is always hostile and given the manner in which the BCS played out last season, the atmosphere will be even more hostile.
This game once again will play into the division, conference, and national title pictures. Only next year, I'm sure more people will pay more attention to the scoreboard.
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