20 Best College Football Matchups of the 2013 Season
The start of the college football season is quickly creeping up, meaning it is time to look ahead to some of the best matchups of the 2013 season.
Last year there were some excellent games scattered throughout the schedule. This year looks to be much of the same.
While many of the best matchups on paper can be found in the SEC, there are plenty of other non-conference games that have all the makings.
The SEC will certainly reign supreme once again this season, but there are games in other major conferences that fans must look out for.
These are not necessarily the best rivalry games, but the 20 games that will feature the two best teams going at it.
Here are the 20 best matchups of the 2013 college football season.
Circle these dates on the schedule, because these games are can't miss.
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Here are five games that just missed making the list. Still, fans should be sure to tune into these games, which should be highly contested.
USC vs. Notre Dame, Oct. 19: This annual rivalry is one of the best in the game historically and even today. The 2013 version should be no different.
TCU vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 5: TCU has an excellent shot to be a contender in the Big 12 this season. A road game midway through the season against Oklahoma might tell a lot.
Texas vs. Oklahoma State, Nov. 16: These are two teams that should be right in the mix for the Big 12 title in 2013. The winner might just find itself in the driver's seat.
LSU vs. TCU, Aug. 31: What a way to kick off the opening weekend of the college football season. This game will tell a lot about both of these teams.
Florida vs. Miami, Sept. 7: This rivalry has all the makings of returning to its old form. While it still might be a few years away, this early-season battle is another can't miss.
No. 20 Texas vs. TCU, Oct. 26
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This could turn into an excellent rivalry if these two teams stay in the same league for the next few decades. That is likely to be the case.
This year, the teams appear to be very evenly matched. There are still a lot of question marks surrounding both squads. This game toward the beginning of the season will tell a lot.
If TCU quarterback Casey Pachall can return to his old form, the Horned Frogs just might be the favorite in the Big 12. But in order to do that, they are going to have to win all of their home games.
Getting by Texas is not going to be an easy task.
No. 19 Florida vs. LSU, Oct. 12
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LSU always seems to play the toughest conference schedule in the SEC, and this season will be no different.
The Tigers get Florida at home in a game that is almost certain to be a defensive battle. These two squads should once again boast two of the best defenses in the land.
Last year, the game only featured 20 points total in a 14-6 Florida victory. While it is not likely to be that low-scoring in 2013, there is a chance that both teams will be under 20 points.
That may not seem like a game that is an excellent matchup, but that is how the SEC does things these days. Seeing some excellent defense is not always so bad.
No. 18 Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Dec. 7
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With the exception of Oklahoma and Texas, this is the best rivalry in the Big 12, and it continues to grow with the success of Oklahoma State in recent years under head coach Mike Gundy.
This is the final game of the season, and with no conference championship, everything could be on the line.
Expect these two teams to be near or at the top of the conference when they square off.
It could have the most implications of any Big 12 game all season long.
Fans across the country certainly do not want to miss this one.
No. 17 LSU vs. Georgia, Sept. 28
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LSU and Georgia last met in the 2011 SEC championship game: While it initially appeared Georgia was going to pull off the upset, the Tigers turned it on and dominated the second half.
This year they meet in September, which should help gauge if Georgia is a real national title contender.
The Bulldogs will be at home in a game that is a must-win if they plan on not only contending for the SEC championship but also finding themselves in the national picture.
No doubt this is one of the best SEC games of the season.
Stay tuned, plenty more to come in this conference.
No. 16 Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 28
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Everybody thought Oklahoma was going to be the team to knock off Notre Dame last year. That obviously was not the case, and this year Oklahoma will get a chance to exact some revenge in South Bend.
Neither team will be as talented as it was last year, but this should still be one of the best non-conference games of the season.
It is too early to tell how good these teams will be coming in, but this could be a huge test for quarterback Blake Bell and his Oklahoma offense against the talented and experienced Notre Dame defense.
This might come down to the play of the Notre Dame defensive line led by tackle Louis Nix III and end Stephon Tuitt.
No. 15 Florida State vs. Clemson, Oct. 19
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No doubt that this is the premier game in the ACC. That is starting to be the case every year, but never more so than in 2013.
There is little question that these teams are the top two in the league, and since they are both in the Atlantic Division, a spot in the ACC title game is likely on the line.
Last season, Florida State pulled away late on its way to victory.
This year, Clemson will be at home. The Tigers have a lot of experience that might help them pull off the victory in this one.
All eyes in the ACC will be on this game in mid-October.
No. 14 LSU vs. Alabama, Nov. 9
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A few years ago, this was the premier game of the college football season. That is no longer the case, but it is still one of the best matchups of the year.
LSU nearly pulled off the upset of the Crimson Tide in 2012 and will be looking to get the job done in 2013, but this time the game will be on the road.
Alabama is a lock to be one of the top teams in the country, while there are still a lot of question marks surrounding the Tigers.
Either way, this should be another epic battle in Tuscaloosa.
No. 13 Georgia vs. Clemson, Aug. 31
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No question that this is the premier game of the opening weekend, with all due respect to LSU-TCU.
These are likely to be two of the top 15 teams in the country, and both have national title hopes. Chances are one of these teams won't after this one is over.
The Georgia defense was exposed against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl, so Clemson should be able to do much of the same, with the talent the Tigers possess on the offensive side of the ball.
Expect this game to have its fair share of points and it could be close the entire way.
No. 12 Texas A&M vs. LSU, Nov. 23
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Texas A&M and Alabama have relatively easy SEC schedules compared to the rest of the teams in the conference, and this appears to be one of the games that could trip up the Aggies.
LSU knocked them off last season and this year the game will be in Baton Rouge.
Texas A&M will be looking to enact a little revenge on the Tigers. If the Aggies have any hopes of winning a national title, this is a game they are going to have to win on the road toward the end of the season.
Another Heisman trophy for quarterback Johnny Manziel may also be riding on this one.
No. 11 Clemson vs. South Carolina, Nov. 30
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The three tough games for Clemson are perfectly spread throughout the season, and the finale against South Carolina could be the most important of them all.
There is an outside shot that these teams will be playing for a chance at a national championship heading into this game, so there could be a lot on the line.
Conference play will have already been completed, and these teams might be looking ahead to potential conference championships the following week. Either way, this game will be a can't-miss between two in-state rivals.
There is no shortage of hatred between these two schools, particularly their head coaches.
No. 10 Florida State vs. Florida, Nov. 30
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Florida State and Florida is still one of the best rivalries in college football, and this year it appears both teams are going to be in the top 15 in the country when the season kicks off.
It is the final game of the season, and as mentioned in the previous slide, it might be an instance of two teams looking ahead to potential conference championships the following week.
Still, expect this to be a defensive battle much like it was for the better part of the game last year before Florida pulled away in the end.
It might not be as fun to watch as some other contests, but is still one of the top 10 matchups of the 2013 season.
No. 9 Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 12
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There is no question that this is one of the top five rivalries in college football. The annual game is played in Dallas every season, and this year it will once again feature two of the best teams in the Big 12.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding both teams heading into the season. This game will be a huge indicator as to whether or not these teams are for real.
Oklahoma has a tough early season schedule, and will also be battle-tested with the likes of Notre Dame and TCU coming back-to-back before Texas.
We all know this is one of the premier games of every college football season. This year will be no different.
It might not be as high as it has been in years past, but it should still be an excellent matchup.
No. 8 Florida vs. South Carolina, Nov. 16
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Last year, Florida knocked off South Carolina. This season, the Gamecocks will be looking to exact a little revenge.
Both of these teams will likely be hovering around the top 10 when the season begins, but by the time they square off against one another there could be even more on the line.
These two could be playing for an SEC East title and a berth in the conference title game.
There could be national title implications in this one as well.
No question that this is one of the top SEC games of the entire season.
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. Michigan, Sept. 7
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It's a shame that this historic rivalry might soon be coming to an end.
But, fans can certainly enjoy the 2013 version early in the season. There are few non-conference games that are more anticipated than this one.
Both of these teams have top-10 talent. A loss would ruin any national title hopes for both of these squads. This season the game is in the "Big House," where the Wolverines know how to win big games.
No question Michigan will be looking to return the favor this time around.
No. 6 Florida vs. Georgia, Nov. 2
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"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" will take place in early November this year.
It will once again feature two of the top teams in the country, and is the first in a tough stretch of games to end the season for Florida.
This could be a defensive battle, similar to what it was last year.
Expect these two teams to be in the SEC title picture throughout the season, but whoever comes out on top in Jacksonville will likely be in the driver's seat.
No. 5 Notre Dame vs. Stanford, Nov. 30
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A lot of teams came close to beating Notre Dame in South Bend last year, but with the exception of Pittsburgh, nobody was as close as Stanford.
The Cardinal fell just short in overtime, losing 20-13 to the Fighting Irish.
This year, it appears Stanford will be the more talented of the two teams. With this being the final game of the season, the Cardinal could be playing for a shot at the national championship.
Who knows, maybe Notre Dame will be in the same boat as well. That is not likely, but either way, this is the best non-conference matchup of the 2013 season.
No. 4 South Carolina vs. Georgia, Sept. 7
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South Carolina and Georgia might be a step ahead of Florida this season in the SEC East. The winner of this early SEC matchup will be in the driver's seat to win the division and play in the conference title game.
The schedule is not doing Georgia any favors, with games against Clemson and South Carolina to kick off the season.
South Carolina also has a tough opener against North Carolina.
Georgia is at home and might hold the slight edge in this one. A lot is on the line in this early season matchup.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. Michigan, Nov. 30
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Ohio State and Michigan have what is possibly the best rivalry in college football. This year, it appears both teams will be in the top 10 when the season begins.
The Buckeyes might be playing for a shot at the national championship game in the season finale, and Michigan could also be in the same position if everything goes according to plan.
Judging by what has happened the past few years, it would not be a surprise if these two teams played another shootout with more on the line than there has been in quite some time.
No game in the Big Ten even comes close to this one.
No. 2 Oregon vs. Stanford, Nov. 7
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Last year, Stanford was the only team that stopped Oregon from playing for a national championship.
This year, it could be the other way around if the Ducks have anything to say about it.
This is a Thursday night game, and if Oregon has any plans of playing for a national championship, it will have to go on the road and knock off another talented Cardinal squad.
The Oregon offense might be the best it has ever had, but will it be enough to put up points on the mighty Cardinal defense?
This game is a can't miss.
No. 1 Alabama vs. Texas A&M, Sept. 14
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Johnny Manziel supplanted himself as the Heisman Trophy winner with a dominating performance against Alabama in an upset victory last season.
That game was in Tuscaloosa. This year it is in College Station. There is no doubt that head coach Nick Saban and the rest of the Crimson Tide have had this date circled on their calendar for quite some time now.
The Aggies were the only team to beat Alabama last year. Even though the Crimson Tide won the national championship, that loss is a blemish they are looking to forget about.
Will Alabama finally be able to get that bad taste out of its mouth?
There is no doubt that this game is the best matchup of the entire college football season.