10 Best Neutral-Site Games of 2013 College Football Season

Ian Berg@@ShugJordanPkwyCorrespondent IApril 6, 2013

10 Best Neutral-Site Games of 2013 College Football Season

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    Over the past few years neutral-site showdowns have become a major part of the college football season. Every year the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta, and the Cowboys Kickoff Classic steal the opening weekend of football.

    Other neutral-site games have been around for what seems like forever, and the tradition on display makes them some of the best games in football every year.

    This is a look at the neutral-site games that you can’t afford to miss this fall. 

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech: Atlanta, Ga., Aug 31

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    Alabama and Virginia Tech are set to square off in the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic to start the 2013 season.

    The Crimson Tide and Hokies squared off in the same game in 2009 in a contest that resulted in an Alabama win and eventual national title run. This year Alabama is looking for a possible third straight national title, and that search begins in Atlanta against Virginia Tech.

    The Hokies are trying to prove they belong in the national discussion, and a win over the Tide would be all the proof that is needed for 2013. 

Penn State vs. Syracuse: East Rutherford, N.J., Aug. 31

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    Penn State and Syracuse are rekindling their rivalry this year when they open the season in New Jersey at New Meadowlands Stadium.

    The Nittany Lions are trying to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke and the eyes of the country will be watching to see if Bill O’Brien can put together another impressive run in 2013.

    The Orange are looking to build off of a strong close to 2012 as they enter ACC play this season, and a win over the Nittany Lions would launch this program into a strong 2013 campaign.

    This will be a great game for a usually-boring opening day of college football. 

LSU vs. TCU: Arlington, Tx., Aug. 31

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    LSU and TCU are set to face off in the acronym bowl to start the 2013 season.

    This is the second time that both teams will play in the Cowboys Kickoff Classic, but it will be the first meeting between the two squads in the game.

    Jerry Jones has done a great job creating one of the best opening-day environments for college football in Jerry’s World (aka Cowboys Stadium). This year’s contest will match two powerful programs looking to gain an edge on the national stage early.

    This is a must-watch game for 2013. 

Mississippi State vs. Oklahoma State: Houston, Tx., Aug. 31

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    Houston decided to join the opening day neutral-site fun this season with a contest matching the SEC against the Big 12.

    Heading into the 2013 season, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State are set to square off in the first season-opening game to come out of Houston. The folks at Reliant Stadium are now joining the Georgia Dome and Cowboys Stadium to help create a great opening day experience for college football.

    Mississippi State struggled last fall to finish the season strong, while the OSU Cowboys marched to a huge bowl win over Purdue.

    This will be a fun game to watch as the Bulldogs try and regain their stride, and the Cowboys attempt to make a run at the Big 12 in 2013. 

Washington vs. Illinois: Chicago, Ill., Sept. 14

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    Illinois was a terrible football team last fall, finishing the year 2-10. Washington was better than average, but both of these teams need a win in this Soldier Field showdown.

    The Huskies are making a move in the Pac-12, and Illinois needs a marquee win desperately to start the new year off with a bang.

    This contest is one of the few games during Week 3 that is worth watching. It will be a fun game to watch unfold as Tim Beckman tries to turn the corner in year two with the Illini. 

Arizona State vs. Notre Dame: Arlington, Tx., Oct. 5

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    Cowboys Stadium has a stacked schedule this fall with three contests landing in Arlington for 2013. This is the second of the three. 

    Arizona State and Notre Dame are set to square off in the NFL venue during the first weekend of October. This is a surprising matchup between the two schools, but it will be one that draws a lot of eyes this fall.

    The Irish are trying to prove that they belong in the national discussion again in 2013, and the Todd Graham-led Sun Devils will try and ensure that the Irish fail. 

Oklahoma vs. Texas: Dallas, Tx., Oct. 12

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    The Red River Rivalry is one of the best rivalry games in college football. Every year the contest is held in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

    This is a tradition-rich neutral-site game that pits two of the best programs in the Big 12 against one another every season.

    Formerly known as the Red River Shootout, this game has been played 107 times and originated in 1900. Every year this game has Big 12 title implications and this season appears to be no different.  

Georgia vs. Florida: Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 2

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    The Florida-Georgia football rivalry has been going strong since 1915. There have been 91 meetings between the two schools, and this showdown is one of the most intriguing matchups year in, and year out.

    Heading into 2013 this game should be a battle for the SEC Eastern Division title.

    The Bulldogs may be coming off of a division title win, but the Will Muschamp-led Gators are on the hunt for a spot in Atlanta to finish the year and this game will be a major stepping stone on the championship path. 

Baylor vs. Texas Tech: Arlington, Tx., Nov. 16

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    The third and final showdown to come in Cowboys Stadium for 2013 happens with Baylor and Texas Tech in mid-November.

    The Bears lose a lot of offense from last year, but this program is on the rise under Art Briles and is a dark-horse for the Big 12 this year. Texas Tech will be closing its first season under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury hoping for a huge win on the national stage.

    This will be two high flying offenses throwing a lot of points around to close the year. This should be one of the better neutral-site games to watch this fall. 

Navy vs. Army: Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 14

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    College football is full of talented future pros that are fun to watch play, but one of the best games every season in the game is the Army/Navy game.

    This contest brings pageantry, passion and history to the gridiron every season. It rarely matches two talented teams, but the contest is as grueling as they come as both teams fight tooth-and-nail for the win.

    The weekend after championship Saturday this game hits the tube and captures the nation as future warriors battle it out one last time each year.

    If you only catch one of these 10, do yourself a favor and make it this one.