The 10 Games That Will Shape the Rest of the 2009 Season
Six months ago I wrote an article about the 10 games that I thought would shape the 2009 college football season.
After some shake down, preseason contenders falling off, new contenders emerging, and a few upsets, it's time to revisit my list, keep a few, chunk a few, and produce a new outlook on the fresh 2009 season.
10. Ohio State @ Penn State on Nov. 7
Penn State has cruised thus far this season and will soon meet some tough competion in the form of Iowa and Michigan, but the Nittany Lions should be able to weather the storm. With no real challenge lying ahead of the Buckeyes, this game should serve as a de facto Big Ten Championship Game for the second year in a row.
9. Nebraska @ Oklahoma on Nov. 7
Both teams national championship hopes have taken a hit with early season losses to ranked opponents, but it has been well documented in the past that it is better to lose early than to lose late. While this game may not have national championship implications anymore, there could still be a BCS at large bid for the taking when these two meet.
8. TCU @ Clemson on Sept. 26
With Utah and BYU out of the BCS picture, TCU is the Mountain West's best chance to have a team reach a big money BCS game. With Boise State's win over Oregon, this is TCU best chance to achieve a similar signature win.
7. Ohio State @ Michigan on Nov. 21
For the first time in a long time, fans outside of the Great Lakes region can put this game back on their radar. R-Rod appears to have the Wolverines back on track with a spread offensive that may give the Buck Nuts fits in the Big House.
6. USC @ Notre Dame on Oct. 17
We all know the deal with the BCS made with the devil. No matter what, if the Irish finish in the BCS top eight, they're in.
Given the rest of the schedule, if the Golden Domers can take down the Trojans in South Bend, they will be well on their way to a BCS Bowl Game. Add in the chance that Boise or TCU might be there and you're looking at the Big XII or SEC losing one of those BCS at large bids they normally receive.
5. LSU @ Alabama on Nov. 7
Many different scenarios could play out before this matchup. Worst case, this matchup will probably determine the SEC West champion. Best case, this matchup will probably determine the SEC West champion. The only difference could be the teams' rankings as both LSU and Alabama play tough matchups before Saban Bowl III.
4. USC @ Cal on Oct. 3
While the conference itself doesn't get much love and can sometimes be perceived as weak, college football fans have got to love the way they run their conference: a true round-robin, everyone plays everyone in-conference season.
With the Bears mauling everything in sight, this matchup with the Trojans could be for the Pac-10 title and could send USC on a road trip for bowl season for the first time since 2004.
3. Oklahoma vs Texas on Oct. 17
Texas has the national championship game dead between their horns. As the Longhorns and Sooners return to the scene of last year’s battle, the smell of funnel cakes and Shiner Bock will be in the air as new "BFFs" Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford (hopefully) play each other one last time in their college uniforms.
2. Florida @ LSU on Oct. 10
If Tim Tebow is Superman, then LSU paints their yard lines in kryptonite. Tebow has struggled in Death Valley. The Gator Haters in Baton Rouge won't make it easy, but if Meyer and Co. can walk out of Tiger Stadium with the W, you can go ahead and pencil them into the SEC Championship Game.
1. SEC Championship Game on Dec. 5
Florida vs. Alabama/LSU/Ole Miss. Whoever it may be, whether one team has one loss or both teams have one loss going into the SEC Championship—as per the norm with the BCS, if all other major college teams have one loss—the winner of the SEC Championship game can go ahead and buy their tickets to California one second after the clock expires.
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