Best Neutral Site Games for 2014 College Football Season

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIMarch 14, 2014

Best Neutral Site Games for 2014 College Football Season

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 college football season will bring some outstanding nonconference matchups, many of which will take place at neutral sites.

    Among the teams set to play at professional stadiums are Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, LSU, Wisconsin and Ole Miss.

    In addition to the huge nonconference tilts, several annual rivalries that are played at neutral sites promise excitement in 2014.

    Take a look at 10 of the biggest games that will be played at neutral sites this season.

    Note: Schedule info via

10. Penn State vs. Central Florida

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Date: Aug. 30, 8:30 a.m. ET (ESPN2)

    City: Dublin, Ireland

    Stadium: Croke Park

    The James Franklin Era at Penn State will begin overseas as the Nittany Lions are set for a meeting with Central Florida in Ireland.

    The Knights likely won't be the BCS-caliber team they were last year after the departure of star quarterback Blake Bortles, but they'll still provide a nice challenge for PSU.

    UCF will bring back almost its entire defense, which will be tasked with stopping PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg. He'll be in his second year as the starter, and three experienced running backs will return behind him. 

    This contest will be a perfect test for both squads going into 2014.

9. Ole Miss vs. Boise State

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Date: Aug. 28

    City: Atlanta

    Stadium: Georgia Dome

    To kick off the 2014 season, Ole Miss and Boise State will meet as two programs in very different places.

    Boise will be entering a new era after the departure of head coach Chris Petersen, who was at the helm for eight years. 

    New coach Bryan Harsin will have a difficult task in his first game leading the Broncos against an SEC foe in Ole Miss.

    While Boise is starting anew with Harsin, the Rebels will be looking to take the next step under Hugh Freeze. The Broncos will make a nice Week 1 litmus for the Rebels.

    If they struggle in this game, SEC play could be trouble.

8. Oregon vs. California

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Date: Oct. 24

    City: Santa Clara, Calif.

    Stadium: Levi's Stadium

    Technically, this is a home game for California, but it'll be the first collegiate game every played at the San Francisco 49ers' new home in Santa Clara.

    Oregon crushed Cal last year, 55-16.

    However, in its second year under Sonny Dykes, the Cal offense should be better equipped to keep up with the UO offense.

    This will be an interesting matchup between the Ducks and the Bears at an awesome new venue.

7. Alabama vs. West Virginia

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Date: Aug. 30

    City: Atlanta

    Stadium: Georgia Dome

    Alabama needs to start the 2014 season off strong after dropping its final two games in 2013, and it'll have to do so against Nick Saban's home-state team.

    While the Crimson Tide will be fielding a new quarterback, West Virginia is in need of a turnaround after a disappointing 4-8 finish in 2013.

    WVU will return a boatload of starters on both sides of the ball and will provide a solid challenge for the Tide to open the new season.

    Both programs should have a strong contingency in Atlanta, which will make for a fun early season meeting.

6. UCLA vs. Texas

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Date: Sept. 13

    City: Arlington, Texas

    Stadium: AT&T Stadium

    UCLA will enter the 2014 season with Pac-12 and national title aspirations, and its first true test will come in Week 3 against Texas.

    Brett Hundley will lead a vaunted Bruins offense against the Longhorns, who will be going through a major change of their own.

    With Charlie Strong in his first season, an upset win over UCLA would be an outstanding start to his tenure.

    This will be one can't-miss nonconference matchup.

5. Baylor vs. Texas Tech

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Date: Nov. 29

    City: Arlington, Texas

    Stadium: AT&T Stadium

    When Baylor and Texas Tech met last year in Arlington, the Red Raiders hung tight for about a half until the Bears ran away with a 63-34 victory.

    They'll meet again and it could be an even more thrilling matchup.

    TTU will be in its second year under coach Kliff Kingsbury and in its first full year with Davis Webb at quarterback.

    Meanwhile, the Bears will return Bryce Petty and several key offensive players, setting the stage for another shootout in JerryWorld.

4. Georgia vs. Florida

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    Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

    Date: Nov. 1, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

    City: Jacksonville, Fla.

    Stadium: EverBank Field

    It's always a good time when Florida and Georgia meet in Jacksonville, and this year will be no different.

    This season is a crucial one for the Gators and head coach Will Muschamp after last year's 4-8 debacle. 

    UF and UGA were both ravaged by injury last year, and if the two squads are healthy this time around, it'll make for an exciting contest.

    With Todd Gurley and Co. running into the Florida defense, this classic rivalry will be great as always.

3. Oklahoma vs. Texas

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Date: Oct. 11

    City: Dallas

    Stadium: Cotton Bowl

    Charlie Strong will have his first taste of the Red River Rivalry this year, and while he won't be under the microscope right away, this will be a crucial game for the start of his tenure.

    On the other side, Oklahoma will be out for revenge after Texas' 36-20 upset last season.

    This rivalry is always a heated meeting, and Strong's first shot at OU shouldn't be missed.

    To sweeten the deal, this contest will almost assuredly carry Big 12 title implications.

2. Florida State vs. Oklahoma State

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

    Date: Aug. 30

    City: Arlington, Texas

    Stadium: AT&T Stadium

    Florida State will begin its reign as national champion with a very tough contest against Oklahoma State.

    The Cowboys were one of the top teams in the nation last year, and they will be again in 2013. Just as Jimbo Fisher has fortified a great program at FSU, Mike Gundy has built one at OSU.

    The Seminoles will have their No. 1 ranking tested by a vaunted Oklahoma State offense.

    While the 'Noles are looking to defend their national title, OSU will be looking to win the Big 12 and earn a College Football Playoff berth.

    Few contests in Week 1 will carry as much weight as this one.

1. LSU vs. Wisconsin

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    Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

    Date: Aug. 30

    City: Houston

    Stadium: Reliant Stadium

    Wisconsin and LSU will meet in Week 1 as two of the most well-rounded teams in college football.

    The Badgers will return starting quarterback Joel Stave (unless he loses his job during the offseason) and star running back Melvin Gordon.

    They'll be taking on a new-look LSU team that will be young but still very talented.

    The Tigers could end up starting several players from their remarkable recruiting class, including No. 1 overall recruit and 5-star running back Leonard Fournette.

    This game could be very telling as to where LSU is after its immense losses as well as where Wisconsin will be in the race for the Big Ten title.