25 Most Anticipated Matchups of 2013 College Football Season

Randy ChambersAnalyst IMay 19, 2013

25 Most Anticipated Matchups of 2013 College Football Season

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    The college football season will be here before you know it. Then we can sit back and enjoy games like Texas A&M-Alabama, Florida-Miami and the annual rivalry of Ohio State and Michigan.

    Whether they are conference rivalries or out-of-conference games that spice things up, there are hundreds of games to choose from and a bundle of them will have great importance.

    Some matchups become more important and exciting as the standings change and teams overachieve. But, for the most part, we have a good idea of the games that should be circled on your calendar. These are the most anticipated contests of the year that everybody is talking about and that should not be missed for the world.

    Let's take a look at the games that we are most looking forward to.

Notre Dame at Michigan

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    Date: Sept. 7

    Notre Dame versus Michigan is always a highly anticipated matchup, but this one is extra special for college football fans. Forget that this series will soon be coming to an end and that Michigan head coach Brady Hoke called the Irish "chickens" for backing out of this historic rivalry.

    You get that feeling that this won't sit well with Notre Dame, and teams playing with a chip on their shoulder always make a game interesting and highly entertaining.

    There is also the fact that the last four meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Tennessee at Oregon

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    Date: Sept. 14

    Probably one of the most underrated games of the season, this matchup will pick up steam the closer we get to it. This will be the first true test for both teams. With two new head coaches, it will be a chance for one team to prove to its fanbase that the sky isn't falling after all.

    Tennessee traveling across the country to Eugene won't be fun, but it will remove all distractions and give the Volunteers a shot at an elite squad. Oregon can't afford to take Tennessee lightly, as the Volunteers return several starters.

    Butch Jones and Mark Helfrich will have a chance to prove themselves early in the year. This will be much better than expected game.

Boise State at Washington

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    Date: Aug. 31

    They meet again.

    Boise State and Washington played in last year's Las Vegas Bowl, providing one of the more exciting games of the bowl season. Now, they will square off iin the first game of the year.

    Seriously, how cool is that?

    Coached by Chris Petersen, the Broncos are always a feisty bunch, and this is supposed to be the season that the Huskies break out and compete for a Pac-12 title.

    Matching two teams that we could see in a BCS bowl, this game that will set the tone for the rest of the season and could tell us which team is truly the contender.

Oklahoma State at Texas

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    Date: Nov. 16

    They are the two early favorites to win the Big 12.

    Many are high on Oklahoma State because of its ability to score 100 points a game, while others see no  way Texas continues to struggle and think this is the year Mack Brown gets it done.

    If either is right, this should be a wonderful meeting that could decide the conference title.

    Last year's game produced 77 points and was decided by five. If this year's game is even half as exciting, sign me and the rest of the college football world up.

Oklahoma vs. Texas (In Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas)

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    Date: Oct. 12

    OK, the joke is over.

    After two straight blowouts in the Red River Rivalry, there is absolutely no chance of a third.

    A game that is usually competitive and a key matchup to determine a Big 12 champion, this year's meeting between Texas and Oklahoma  will be a classic. Well, it at least should be.

    Texas returns 19 starters, while Oklahoma once again has enough pieces to get the job done and remain a BCS contender.

    Don't lie to yourself. Even with the last two matchups being completely one-sided, you are thrilled with what may be in store with this one.

USC at Notre Dame

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    Date: Oct. 19

    Even with Notre Dame finishing the regular season undefeated and USC being a train wreck, last year's meeting was decided by fewer than than 10 points. It doesn't matter which direction either team is heading, a magical feeling is in the air when these teams clash.

    USC is a question mark entering the season, but it is still USC—a team loaded with talent. And as long as the offense can find some type of rhythm, Notre Dame has a chance to be even better than it was last season

    A middle-of-the-season matchup between these two traditional powers under the lights of Notre Dame Stadium? Yes, please.

UCLA at Nebraska

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    Date: Sept. 14

    Last season's meeting was an an epic showdown that produced 66 points and a boatload of yardage. The same figures to occur this season when UCLA travel to Nebraska. Both offenses return key players and both defenses aren't looking so hot.

    Nebraska is one of the favorites to win the Big Ten, while UCLA remains a sleeper in the Pac-12. Talk about an early measuring stick for both programs.

    This should be another fun one.

Florida State at Florida

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    Date: Nov. 30

    If both teams can live up to expectations this season, this is a rivalry game that could have possible national title implications on the line. Despite questions on offense for both teams, the defenses are expected to remain stout and continue to be the driving force of success.

    After a few shaky years in this rivalry, both teams are beginning to peak at the same time, making this once again a must-see meeting.

    There has never been any love lost between these two rivals, and you can expect a lot of hard hitting when they square off.

Notre Dame vs. Arizona State (In Arlington, TX)

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    Date: Oct. 5

    Notre Dame is feeling good about itself after the season that took place last year, and Arizona State is starting to believe it is a contender in the Pac-12. There is no better way to settle this thing in Cowboys Stadium in front of thousands of people and a gigantic television screen.

    But the real reason to watch this game is for all you defensive lovers out there. Two terrific defensive lines and future NFL players in Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix III, this is going to be a smash mouth old school style of game.

    Don't sleep on this matchup.

Ohio State at Michigan

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    Date: Nov. 30

    Much like the Florida-Florida State rivalry is picking up steam, this game is starting to mean a little bit more as well. Not only are the games being played a little bit tighter, but both new head coaches are getting things back on track and are starting to think national titles.

    The recruiting is through the roof for both programs, and there's no reason Michigan and Ohio State shouldn't be neck-and-neck for the Big Ten crown. Last year's game was exciting, and this year's game shouldn't be any different.

    There's always drama between these two schools, and you should expect nothing less this time around.

Florida State at Clemson

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    Date: Oct. 19

    With all of the players returning for Clemson and fresh off a victory over LSU in a bowl game, the Tigers are feeling mighty confident. But Clemson has had a hard time over the years of staying consistent and tends to struggle in the big games against top-tier opponents.

    Also, Florida State has won three of the last five meetings against the Tigers.

    But there should be a lot more on the line than just bragging rights. Clemson is a legit ACC contender this season and does have an outside shot at a national title if it can take care of business.

    Don't sleep on the Seminoles, but this game is all about Dabo Swinney and if his Tigers can get it done.


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    Date: Nov. 30

    UCLA was able to end a five-game losing streak to USC with a victory in last year's meeting. With the quick rise of the Bruins and the sudden fall of the Trojans, you better believe this is a matchup that will be taken seriously.

    Not only will the outcome be big as far as conference standings are concerned, but this game will weigh heavily on the recruiting world. If the Bruins can continue to make progress and show that they are legitimate, USC will continue to lose out on big-name recruits if it can't turn things around.

    This game is huge in many different ways.

LSU vs. TCU (In Arlington, TX)

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    Date: Aug. 31

    TCU is not a team that you want to take lightly. Always featuring a quality defense, the Horned Frogs are capable of hanging with any team in the country. LSU is never a team you want to write off, but there are questions this season with all of the losses on defense.

    If ever there was a season the Tigers could get off to a rocky start, it would be this one, especially with a quality opponent such as TCU. The Horned Frogs should have a hard time, with defensive end Davonte Fields expected to miss this game, but there is still a chance a they could win.

    This game will tell us a lot about LSU.

Florida at Miami

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    Date: Sept. 7

    Miami versus Florida was a rivalry that use to happen a lot back in the days. Now, though, it's a game that is rarely played and that will likely no longer not take place after this final meeting.

    That's one of the reasons this game is so anticipated, and it seems to be perfect timing. Florida is obviously a legitimate SEC contender, but Miami is slowly starting to piece things together and should be a surprise team in the ACC.

    There is always a competitive spirit when powerhouse Florida teams square off, and you can expect the same when this matchup takes place.

Alabama vs. Virginia Tech (In Atlanta, GA)

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    Date: Aug. 31

    Alabama does it again by scheduling a quality opponent to kick off the season. Sure, Virginia Tech wasn't impressive last year, but you would be a fool to think head coach Frank Beamer won't have his team ready to take on the defending champions.

    Virginia Tech will be ready with its tough defense, and Alabama will be dialed in like always.

    The Hokies are of course the heavy underdogs, but the longer they are able to stick around, the more this game will become quite interesting.

    Even though Alabama is expected to win, nobody has marked a victory on the calendar just yet.

South Carolina at Georgia

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    Date: Sept. 7

    South Carolina has won the last three meetings against the Bulldogs. Will this be the game where Georgia can get over the hump and finally beat its SEC East rival?

    It better be, if Georgia is hoping to live up to expectations and return to the SEC Championship Game. Last season's matchup was a complete disappointment and nearly cost the Bulldogs the SEC East title.

    Both teams will be highly motivated for this game with so much on the line in a competitive division.

Oklahoma at Notre Dame

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    Date: Sept. 28

    Speaking of laying an egg, that is pretty much what Oklahoma did last year against Notre Dame. A matchup that was supposed to be challenging for the Irish, the Sooners decided not to show up and handed Notre Dame another victory in its magical run.

    Oklahoma should be motivated to return the favor in Notre Dame Stadium, as this early-season meeting should receive a ton of attention. There is a good chance both teams enter this game undefeated and ranked highly.

    BCS implications will be on the line in this one.

Texas A&M at LSU

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    Date: Nov. 23

    While everybody has good reason to pay attention to the Alabama-Texas A&M game, the Aggies still have to get past LSU. They lost last year's meeting. Though the score was close, the Tigers got to Johnny Manziel quite a bit and were able to rattle his cage.

    The good news for Texas A&M is that a lot of those defenders are no longer on the team and Manziel has had plenty of time to improve his game. The bad news is that this year's game takes place in Tiger Stadium, which is one of the toughest places to play.

    This is a huge game as far as the SEC West and BCS bowls are concerned.

Florida vs. Georgia (In Jacksonville, FL)

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    Date: Nov. 2

    A key game to help settle things in the SEC East continues to be Florida-Georgia. Always a highly anticipated rivalry, things have been spiced up a bit to thanks to Gators head coach Will Muschamp talking a little trash.

    He said the losing streak to the Bulldogs won't last much longer, which may be guaranteeing a victory this season.

    Last season's meeting was brutal, with Florida turning the ball over nearly every possession. Hopefully, this year's game will be closer, because there is sure to be a lot of people watching with high expectations.

Oregon at Stanford

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    Date: Nov. 7

    Even with a head coaching change, Oregon is still the cream of the crop in the Pac-12, and it will be mentioned in national title conversations until it proves us otherwise. As for Stanford, it is also a title contender and will be searching for a fourth straight trip to a BCS bowl.

    Something has got to give.

    Last season's meeting was decided by a lousy three points. And with both teams chasing the same goal, anything less than another classic outcome would be disappointing.

    The two favorites to come out of the Pac-12 North, the winner of this game will position itself for a conference title.

LSU at Alabama

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    Date: Nov. 9

    This game is going to be special.

    Alabama is the front-runner to win a third straight national title, but this rivalry has a funny way of deciding who will truly come out of the SEC West. With a lot of talk going to the Crimson Tide and Texas A&M, LSU has kind of been placed on the back burner and will certainly play this game with a chip on its shoulder.

    The game last year will go down in the SEC history. Knowing the heart of both of these teams, another slugfest is on tap. Make sure your chinstrap is fastened.

Georgia at Clemson

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    Date: Aug. 31

    Both Clemson and Georgia believe that they can not only win their conferences, but reach the national championship if they play the way they're capable of playing. There is no better way to find out who the real contenders are than by pitting them against one another on opening weekend.

    This game should also satisfy all of the offensive lovers, with two potential first-round quarterbacks in Tajh Boyd and Aaron Murray and great playmakers in Todd Gurley and Sammy Watkins. Don't be surprised if this is a high-scoring affair that includes 1,000 total yards.

    There is another Week 1 matchup that is receiving a lot of love, but this game should take a backseat to no one.

Wisconsin at Ohio State

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    Date:  Sept. 28

    Wisconsin travels to Ohio State in hopes of ending a two-game losing streak to the Buckeyes. This will also be the first true test for new Badgers head coach Gary Andersen.

    The last two games between these teams have been decided by a touchdown or less. Assuming both come prepared to play, this will be another tight one.

Notre Dame at Stanford

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    Date: Nov. 30

    These two teams have unfinished business.

    After the controversial finish to last year's game, Stanford has been ready for a rematch since the moment that game came to an end. The Cardinal have had this game circled on their calendar for months and can't wait for another shot at the Irish.

    On top of that storyline, which you will hear about for weeks leading up to this big game, this also happens to be the last regular-season game. BCS hopes and possible title dreams will be on the line between these two highly ranked teams.

    This will be a must-see.

Alabama at Texas A&M

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    Date: Sept. 14

    The most highly anticipated game of the season is this one by far. Even though last year's loss to Texas A&M didn't stop Alabama from winning another title, you know Nick Saban has had revenge on his mind for quite some time.

    Nobody, and that means nobody, makes his defense look foolish in front of thousands of people.

    We'll want to see if Johnny Manziel can fool the genius for a second time, but we'll also want to find out if a defense is actually capable of slowing down the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Besides that, this is also a division game that will put the winner in the driver's seat to reach the SEC Championship Game.

    This game is what college football is all about.