College Football 2011: Michigan State at Notre Dame and Sept. 17's Top 10 Games
Those of you with a landline, take the phone off the hook.
Send the kids to Grandma's, and get the pizza menu ready, because you're not spending time in the kitchen or even at the grill.
If you're scheduled to work, call in sick.
Sept. 17 is "College Football" in capital letters.
No conference games yet, but what a schedule. It's three days after my birthday, a biggie in itself (starts with 6, and not 6 or 600), and this schedule is the perfect birthday present.
Apologies to all those left off this list—and I mean you, Pittsburgh at Iowa, among others. Here are the top 10 games for this September Saturday.
10. West Virginia at Maryland
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Ralph Friedgen is gone, and it's a new era at Maryland under Randy Edsall, former UConn coach.
As Edsall comes in, Bill Stewart is on his way out of a West Virginia program prognosticators put in the top 25 to begin the season.
This is an early statement game for both programs and a worthy addition to this list.
9. Utah at BYU
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Welcome to the Pac-12, Utah, and say hello to your traditional in-state foe; two historically powerful programs in what should be a barn-burner.
8. Oklahoma State at Tulsa
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Oklahoma State is getting a lot of love from the pollsters, and with good reason—they can light it up.
But then again, so can Tulsa, which was indeed lit up by the Cowboys last year. Tulsa beat Notre Dame on the road though and won their last seven, including destroying Hawaii in their bowl game.
The Hurricane gets the Cowboys at home this time. Tune in.
7. Louisville at Kentucky
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Kentucky seems to be a stable program now and even on its way up.
Louisville has declined, no question about it, after being a national power.
But you can throw that out the window when these in-state rivals meet. I for one would love to be tailgating at this one.
6. Tennessee at Florida
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THIS is only No. 6?!?
Why do you think I posted this article about Sept. 17? It's because this is only No. 6 on the list.
5. Texas at UCLA
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This game pretty much defined the Longhorns' season in 2010, as they got pounded 34-12 by a visiting UCLA team that really wasn't that good.
Payback time in L.A.?
4. Auburn at Clemson
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We'll see just how good the defending national champs are in 2011 when they visit Death Valley.
Another "can't wait" for this one.
3. Ohio State at Miami
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Let's see: Miami has a new coach, Al Golden.
Ohio State has a new coach too, Luke Fickell.
A tad more unexpected, and there are issues here—I think I'll watch.
2. Michigan State at Notre Dame
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Always an interesting game (see: 1966), but last year's was capped off by the play "Little Giants" and Coach D's subsequent heart attack.
This one has it all: tradition, two teams on the rise, a revenge factor and more.
3:30 p.m. Eastern time, Mark it down.
1. Oklahoma at Florida State
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One of these teams is in national title contention after this game—the other is not.
Believe it or not, FSU gets a couple of Twinkie tuneups before this game, but this is Oklahoma's opener.
On the road. Against Florida State. In the evening.
Say hello to your Saturday night, this coming Sept. 17.