The college football offseason is long and arduous, but its end is almost in sight. We’re going to take a look at five games you have to look forward to for every weekend of the season. (This is also a handy guide to decide how to RSVP for any autumn weddings.)
All times are Eastern and all games are played on Saturday unless otherwise noted. This is Thanksgiving weekend, so we are going to power through a whole list of really fun games. No five here, folks: You’re getting the full spread.
These games are played the weekend of November 30.
Ohio State at Michigan (TBD) – Easily the toughest game on the Buckeyes’ schedule, this trip to Ann Arbor – where they lost in 2011 – could decide whether Urban Meyer runs his record as OSU coach to 24-0 or falls short of the BCS title game. The Wolverines led this match up at the half last year before falling 26-21. This is also a potential preview of the following week’s Big Ten Championship Game, the last time these two could face off in it before switching into the same division next year.
Florida State at Florida (TBD) – If this game is half as fun as last year’s edition – where both teams entered with one loss and Florida put on a 24-0 fourth-quarter run to steal a road victory – we’re in for a treat. Seminole redshirt freshman Jameis Winston is going to see a lot of tough environments his first year as starting quarterback, but I’m not sure any of them are going to prepare him for The Swamp.
Notre Dame at Stanford (TBD, Fox Sports 1) – This game probably decided a BCS title game participant last year (if you think one-loss Stanford would have gone over one-loss Oregon or Kansas State). Tommy Rees mounted a fourth-quarter comeback before a memorable goal-line stand by Bob Diaco’s defense in the rain preserved an overtime victory for Notre Dame. Just some fun, tough, hard-nosed football.
Clemson at South Carolina (TBD) – For as well as Dabo Swinney has done at Clemson, he just can’t get past Steve Spurrier in the Palmetto Bowl. Both teams were ranked in the top fifteen last year, and barring some craziness over the course of their seasons, I’d expect them to go into this season’s edition with similar respect. Tajh Boyd has accomplished a lot during his Clemson career, but can he add “Defeat the Gamecocks” to that list?
UCLA at USC (TBD) – When Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr drove Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley into the ground during last year’s game, it proved extremely costly for Lane Kiffin’s squad: They lost the game, the division, a shot at the Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl berth and also Barkley, who missed the final two games of the season, losses to Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. The Bruins haven’t won consecutive games in this series since 1997-98. Will this be Kiffin’s last stand at the Coliseum?
Arizona at Arizona State (TBD) – Along with the Battle of Los Angeles, this game will likely help decide the Pac-12 South champion. Both Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez are building some very solid programs out in the desert, and Territorial Cup bragging rights certainly won’t hurt with local recruits. Last year’s edition was ridiculous, as the Wildcats took at 10-point lead into the fourth, only to watch the Sun Devils run off 24 consecutive points and steal the win.
Oregon State at Oregon (7:00 p.m., Friday, Fox Sports 1) – The Beavers hung around in this game last year, trailing 20-17 in the third before four consecutive Duck touchdowns sealed another Civil War win for Oregon. Oregon State’s last win in this long-standing rivalry was 2007.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (7:30 p.m., Thursday, ESPN) – Egg Bowl!
Washington State at Washington (3:30 p.m., Friday, FOX) – Apple Cup!
Army at Hawaii (12:00 a.m., Sunday) – Just putting this here for the late, late start. If you survive a long, holiday weekend and stay up until the end of this one, you deserve a medal.