We are less than 3 months away from loading up the car with the tailgating essentials (Beer, brats, and babes) and driving to our favorite campus to embark on a fall tradition unlike any other: COLLEGE FOOTBALL! Can you feel the excitement? If you can't then buck up fucker. 2009 is going to be a great season full of upsets and thrills starting September 3rd so let's take a look at the top 10 games which I believe will be exciting to watch and could determine the pecking order of the elite programs who have a chance to contend for BCS glory.
10. Nebraska at Virginia Tech, September 19th-This might come as a bit of a surprise to those who know that I usually trash Nebraska and Virginia Tech for being overhyped but this year is different. The Cornhuskers will be in their second season under Bo Pelini who had an impressive debut of 10 wins including a bowl victory in 2008. It may not sound like a lot to Husker Nation but they are headed it the right direction under Pelini. They have a ton of muscle and experience on both sides of the line and the defense should be greatly improved with a secondary that might be the best in the nation. Beamer-ball is coming off a season in which they won the ACC Title with an incredibly young team. I expect this game to be a close and exciting one like last year when the Hokies won 35-30 in Lincoln.
9. Georgia at Oklahoma State, September 5th-If you like to watch two of the best wideouts in the nation battle it out for bragging rights then this is your type of game. Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant is coming off an All-American season which saw him catch 19 TDs with nearly 1500 yards receiving in 13 games. True freshman AJ Green had a season to remember too in Athens last year as he was named first team SEC compiling nearly 1000 yards receiving. A lot of college football pundits are thinking this is a rebuilding year for Mark Richt and they will have a hard time winning in Stillwater. I think they are wrong. Georgia will have a ton of people jumping on their bandwagon especially if the defense is as good as I think they will be with the likes of Rennie Curran, Reshad Jones, and Geno Atkins returning.
8. BYU vs. Oklahoma at Arlington, September 5th-This should be a fun game to watch if you like high scoring offenses. Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford and the Sooners will score a shitload of points in this neutral site game. But so will Max Hall and BYU. The season opener for both programs I fully expect Bradford's Sooners to come out on top but from a pure entertainment standpoint I think this game will be one of the most exciting to watch.
7. Georgia at Georgia Tech, November 28th-Last year the Jackets stunned, or stung if you prefer, the Dawgs in Athens with a 45-42 victory. It was the first victory in 7 years for the Jackets against UGA and completed a very successful first regular season for new coach Paul Johnson. Georgia will be looking for revenge in Atlanta against a Tech team that returns 8 of their top 9 tacklers and all 5 of their top rushers from last season. As a Georgia resident who has attended over 20 games in Athens and Atlanta this will be my first time seeing these two battle on the same field. If it lives up to last year's battle then it shouldn't disappoint.
6. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, November 28th-Yes, these games are usually lopsided in favor of the Sooners (79 wins vs 17 losses) between the two state rivals but this year should be different. Both of these Big 12 teams have high scoring offenses led by senior quarterbacks who should be in the battle for the...wait a second, let me get permission, calling lawyer, yes, the HEISMAN Trophy is okay to type without fear of being sued, okay, thanks...biggest singular achievement award in sports. The Sooners won last year in Stillwater 61-41 so expect more fireworks this season.
5. LSU at Georgia, October 3rd-As you may have noticed the majority of games I have listed were games that were extremely high offense last season. The same can be said of Georgia vs. LSU. Joe Cox is going to be a pleasant surprise for Dawg fans thinking the QB position is due for a step down with the departure of Matthew Stafford. Not so fast my friends. The Dawgs will have plenty of offensive fire power to work with even without Knowshon and Stafford. Caleb King and Richard Samuel as well as freshmen Carlton Thomas and Washaun Ealey are expected to fill in for Knowshon at the RB spot and Cox will have a talented group of receivers to work with led by AJ Green. The Tigers are looking to bounce back from ugly loss at home against the Dawgs and as always return a team full of elite talent but this year they have a lot more experience.
4. USC at Notre Dame, October 17th-We all know the recent history of these two rivals playing. USC has dominated minus the 2005 game. Last year USC embarrassed Notre Dame to the point where ND didn't get their first 1st down to the final play of the third quarter. With Mark Sanchez gone Aaron Corp is expected to fill in. Corp is not the same QB as Sanchez. Notre Dame will be blitzing nonstop trying to disrupt Corp because they have the benefit of boasting a secondary that ranks among the nation's elite. Jimmy Clausen and Charlie Weis legacy at Notre Dame will be defined by this game. Win and they have a legit shot of finishing the season with 1 or less losses and perhaps a shot at a BCS Title. Lose and they will be under the microscope for failing to deliver a long awaited Fighting Irish victory over the Trojans. For what it's worth Notre Dame hasn't lost a game I've personally attended since 1990. I will be at this game. Goal posts be damned.
3. USC at Ohio State, September 12th-We all know about the Trojans dominance on the football field since Pete Carroll took over and it showed last season when these two perennial powerhouses clashed in the Coliseum with USC whipping up on the Beanie-less Buckeyes 35-3. The Buckeyes were breaking in a new QB in Terrelle Pryor but that isn't the case in 2009 as Pryor should build on an impressive freshman season and be ready for a reloaded Trojan defense. The Buckeyes need to prove they can win the big game on a big stage. Too often they have been blown out when facing elite talent. This will be their chance to silent the critics like myself who believe Big Ten talent is inferior to the SEC conference and USC.
2. Florida at LSU, October 10th-I honestly believe this game is going to be an epic showdown in Baton Rouge. For some reason people are forgetting how talented LSU is especially where it counts: upfront. The Fear Les Tigers will be looking for some revenge for the ass kicking they took from the Gators last year in the Swamp. LSU will have home field but they will be coming off a tough road game in Athens the week before while the Gators enjoy an off week in preparation. I'm looking forward to seeing how Tim Tebow adjusts his game with Percy Harvin now in the NFL and going against the likes of DE Rahim Alem who should have an All-American season.
1. Texas vs. Oklahoma at Dallas, October 17th-These two fan bases absolutely hate each other. It's great and what college football is all about: the passion. The Red River Shootout lived up to it's billing last season as the Longhorns came back and beat the Sooners 45-35. The Longhorns got screwed out of the Big 12 Championship game thanks to the BCS ranking system and missed out on the BCS Title game because of it. They want to prove they belong there this year again. The Sooners will be looking to get revenge on their arch rival in Dallas. It's the biggest game of the year and it just happens to be on the same date as the USC-ND game. Holy fuck, we are talking college football Armageddon bitches. Colt McCoy vs. Sam Bradford. Mack Brown vs. Bob Stoops. Beer vs. Liver. The battle will be epic and you have no rights whatsoever to ever come up with an excuse to miss this game. Wedding and funerals be forgotten. This is college football.