We’re halfway through July and College Football is just a few months away. The guys at the B-Fox and B-Frank Show took a look and listed their top 5 most highly anticipated games for the upcoming season.
Games listed in chronological order.
1. Ohio State @ Indiana August 31st
It is Kevin Wilson’s return to Bloomington as the OC of the Buckeyes. Ohio State currently sits as the LMBF preseason #4 team (ESPN’s #1 team in their Way Too Early Top 25 Poll) and look primed for a run at a playoff bid. The Bucks return quarterback JT Barrett who is coming off of a disappointing season as well as one of the best front-sevens in the country. IU was an offensive power under Kevin Wilson, however, it is their defense that could be the anchor this season. Tom Allen’s group returns one of the best secondaries in America, the defense is headlined by Tegray Scales and Rasheed Fant. Offensively, the Hoosiers have Camion Patrick, Nick Westbrook and Oak Park native Simmie Cobbs who all have big play ability.
2. Florida State vs Alabama (New Orleans) September 2nd
How about this for a big time early season match-up? Deandre Francois will be put to the test immediately as he gets, what should be the top defense in the country. It will also be a big test for the Bama offense as they begin life after Lane Kiffin. The offense has struggled mightily in the last few games without Lane, but Jalen Hurts should be more than ready to take the stage against a lacking Florida State defense last season.
3. Texas @ USC September 16th
Tom Herman will lead his Longhorns into Pasadena against preseason Heisman front-runner Sam Darnold and the Trojans. There are a lot of questions about Texas especially at the offensive skill positions, Shane Buechele had an up-and-down season at Quarterback and they lose star Running Back D’Onta Foreman. For the Trojans, they are in the hunt for a playoff spot and will look to make an early statement to the committee.
4. Florida State @ Clemson November 11th
Boy, do the Noles have a tough schedule. Not only do they get Bama in September, but they have to go to Death Valley to play Clemson. Granted, the defending National Champs have lost a lot of talent, Death Valley still is not an easy place to play especially against Dabo. For Clemson, they need to see if they can reload, this will be a big time “prove it” game for the Tigers.
5. Alabama @ Auburn November 25th
In recent years, we have seen some incredible Iron Bowl games and this year’s — as of mid-July — is shaping up to be a great one. Both teams are in the LMBF preseason top 10 and I would expect them to both be there throughout the season. Auburn needs to solve their issue at Quarterback because Shaun White is clearly not the answer, they have John Franklin and Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham who are both ready to take the reigns. This will be a defensive battle as both teams have incredible units.
1. Texas A&M vs UCLA (Rose Bowl) September 3rd
Heisman candidate Josh Rosen will be on display against a stout A&M defense coming off of a good year with a disappointing finish, in typical Kevin Sumlin fashion. The Aggies just don’t seem to have the talent they did last year, but we have been surprised before by them early in the season (this exact game last year). As was mentioned before, Josh Rosen is the star of the show for the Bruins, he will be relied upon completely to run this offense and win his team games. He had a decent albeit disappointing year last year and needs to have a breakout season.
2. Georgia @ Notre Dame September 9th
Sure, maybe a bit of a homer pick, but this game features a pair of coaches going in opposite directions. Brian Kelly is very much on the hot seat and in desperate need of a marquee couple wins, which he has the schedule for — and Kirby Smart is on the rise in his 2nd year at Georgia, despite mounting expectations. Quarterback play will be the key in this one as it looks like 2nd-year starter Jacob Eason will duel with the newbie Brandon Wimbush. The Bulldogs will have the decided advantage on the defensive side of the ball, but Notre Dame should have a stronger offense.
3. USC @ Washington State September 29th
A little Pac-12 after dark action here, as two of the best Quarterbacks in the country, will battle it out in Pullman. Luke Falk vs Sam Darnold. Darnold has the far and wide better team, but there is one big X-factor that people forget about, Mike Leach. The guy pulled off an incredible season last year with WaSu and has them primed to be a top 25 team throughout the year. A win here would propel them to the Pac-12 title conversation.
4. Penn State @ Northwestern October 7th
This could be a bit of a trap game for McSorely and company. Pat Fitzgerald’s team looks to be pretty darn good this season especially on the defensive side of the ball (shocker). They return starting Quarterback Clayton Thorson and star Running Back Justin Jackson, but lose do-it-all wideout, Austin Carr. Fitz has plenty to work with on defense, the key here is to simply keep them off the field as much as possible. Penn State is fresh off a Big Ten title and return one of the best backfields in America with Barkley and McSorely. The defense is the key to their success as we all have seen what that offense is capable of.
5. Army vs Navy (Philadelphia) December 9th
For the first time 2001, Army enters a football season as the winner of the Army-Navy game. The Midshipmen had rattled off 14 straight — the longest win streak in the rivalry’s history — between 2002 and 2015, until falling last season 21-17. This game will be the 118th meeting all-time and the 87th in the city of Philadelphia (Navy leads 44-38-4 in Philly). This is one of those games that is just different, it is special. It is my favorite game of the year because it is a rivalry in the truest sense of the word. Records mean absolutely nothing. Both teams could come in 0 for the season and all they’d care about is beating one another. When a game means this much is when sports are at their best.