Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What to watch this college football season

Head coach Les Miles leads the LSU Tigers onto the field before playing the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 29, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Head coach Les Miles leads the LSU Tigers onto the field before playing the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 29, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I tried to limit it to one per, but occasionally got carried away. So sue me.

* Week 1: Wisconsin vs. LSU (in Houston). Wisconsin doesn't get Ohio State, Michigan or Michigan State. So if Badgers get by this, who knows? Honorable mention: Miami at Louisville. No Teddy Bridgewater for the Cardinals, but welcome to the ACC. Plus it's a Monday nighter. Michigan fans will be monitoring the return of Appalachian State to Ann Arbor.

* Week 2: Michigan State at Oregon. Both have big-time aspirations. Winner could end up in the first playoff. Loser probably not. And Michigan plays Notre Dame for the final scheduled time. It could get feisty.

* Week 3: Georgia at South Carolina. Winner becomes the favorite in SEC East.

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  • * Week 4: Clemson at Florida State. Even if the Tigers did lose, 51-14, a year ago in Death Valley with Taj Boyd and Sammy Watkins. Some weeks have more to offer than others.

    * Week 5: UCLA at Arizona State. More slim pickings, but there's reason to stay up late on a Thursday, and last three meetings were decided by one, two and five points.

    * Week 6: LSU at Auburn; Stanford at Notre Dame. LSU has won six of last seven in the series, including last year at home by 14, Auburn's lone loss until Florida State in the title game. Last time Stanford went to South Bend, it lost in overtime. Well, sort of.

    * Week 7: Oregon at UCLA. Could be preview of Pac-12 final. Visitor has lost six of the last seven. Ducks won by 28 last year at Nike headquarters.

    * Week 8: Notre Dame at Florida State. Irish have one of the toughest schedules in the country. Good thing QB Everett Golson is back. And anytime the Golden Domers play what could still be America's No. 1 club, it's something. Texas A&M is also at Alabama. That's been something else the last two years, but Johnny Football no longer lives here.

    * Week 9: South Carolina at Auburn. Could be a matchup of top-five teams. Auburn's only loss in 11 meetings was in 1933. Tigers beat USC, 56-17, in 2010 SEC title game en route to national crown.

    * Week 10: Stanford at Oregon. Don't know how much more you really need to say. Stanford defense has owned the Ducks the last 2 years. Who else can say that?

    * Week 11: Some trifecta. Baylor at Oklahoma; Alabama at LSU; and Ohio State at Michigan State. Baylor and OU could each be unbeaten, so the Big 12 might not be only thing on the line. The last four times Alabama and LSU have met, one of them has been No. 1 and the other was in the

    Top 10. And Ohio State-MSU could also have national implications. This would sure seem like a good day to park yourself in the lounge chair.

    * Week 12: Auburn at Georgia. This could always be a preview of the SEC finale. We can only hope it comes close to matching last November's unfathomable finish.

    * Week 13: Not a whole bunch to choose from, particularly for so late in the game, but you can usually do worse than Southern California busing to the Rose Bowl for UCLA. The Pac-12 South might even be up for grabs. UCLA won the last two (35-14 last year), after dropping 12 of the previous 13.

    * Week 14: Auburn at Alabama.This makes up for the previous week. It could mean everything once again. Maybe even for both. Still, it'll be hard to top last year's final play. You also have South Carolina at Clemson, which has won the last five in the series. Just in case that's not enough, out west Stanford goes to UCLA on Friday. Stanford has won the last six. And for the traditionalists, Notre Dame is as USC.

    * Week 15: Aside from the assortment of conference title games, some more significant than others, Houston at Cincinnati could be for the American Athletic Conference, which doesn't guarantee a spot in one of the major bowl games any more. In addition, Oklahoma State at Oklahoma could have some bearing on the Big 12. As could Kansas State at Baylor. Remember, the Selection Committee will be making its final assessments.

    * Week 16: It's Army-Navy, in Baltimore for the third time and first since 2007 (3 years ago, it was in Landover, Md.). It will be going back there in 2016. In case you haven't been paying attention, Navy has taken the last dozen. Which is as many times as it won in the 26 meetings before that.

    - Mike Kern

    Mike Kern Daily News Columnist
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