Top 20 Games To Watch In 2007
Notre Dame at Penn State
This Saturday-night showdown has proven to be one of 2007's toughest tickets. It could be Jimmy Clausen's first college road start. The Irish embarrassed the Nittany Lions in last year's 41-17 shellacking.
Miami at Oklahoma
These schools last faced off in the 1987 Orange Bowl when they were the top two teams in America. Miami prevailed 20-14. 'Canes coach Randy Shannon faces his first big test.
Florida State at Clemson
Tommy Bowden enters the ninth annual Bowden Bowl with a two-game winning streak over his father. The Monday-night season opener features the top two teams in the ACC Atlantic Division.
UCLA at USC
UCLA shocked USC last season, costing the Trojans a trip to the national title game. The Bruins return 10 starters from a defense that held the explosive Trojans to nine points in '06.
Tennessee at Cal
This is the best game on college football's opening weekend. Tennessee embarrassed a shell-shocked Cal team last year in Knoxville, but this year's game shifts to Berkeley. The Vols have won 12 consecutive season openers.
Boise State at Hawaii
This is the game of the year outside of BCS conferences. Hawaii has lost all six games against Boise State since joining the WAC. This is a huge showcase game for two Heisman hopefuls: Hawaii's Colt Brennan and Boise State's Ian Johnson.
TCU at Texas
These former Southwest Conference rivals play for the first time since 1995. TCU looks to crash the BCS behind the strength of an imposing defense that returns nine starters, including star DE Tommy Blake. TCU shocked Oklahoma in 2005, can they knock off the Longhorns?
LSU at Alabama
Nick Saban takes on the program he led to the 2003 BCS national title. Saban would send Tuscaloosa into a frenzy with a win, but LSU has won this game in each of the past four years.
Florida State at Virginia Tech
Frank Beamer is 0-7 versus the Seminoles. This possible preview of the ACC title game should feature two the country's top defenses.
West Virginia at Rutgers
West Virginia prevailed in triple OT last year, denying Rutgers a BCS bid and giving Louisville the Big East title. This game features two of the best running backs in the country in West Virginia's Steve Slaton and Rutgers' Ray Rice.
Nebraska at Texas
This possible preview of the Big 12 title game will showcase a pair of high-flying offenses. Last year, Nebraska fumbled away the game in heartbreaking fashion.
Tennessee at Florida
How will Florida QB Tim Tebow and nine defensive players fare in their first SEC start? In last year's thrilling 21-20 win, Florida held Tennessee to -11 yards rushing.
USC at Nebraska
In last year's 28-10 win over Nebraska, USC held the Cornhuskers to just 211 total yards. Huskers QB Sam Keller is familiar with USC -- he threw for 357 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions as Arizona State's QB in a 38-28 loss in 2005. Will he fare better this time around?
Michigan at Wisconsin
With eight home games, including Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame and Oregon, the Wolverines may have the best schedule of any top-tier title contender, but this late-season trip to Madison looms large. Wisconsin will be out for revenge, as Michigan handed the Badgers their only loss last season.
USC at Cal
USC is the overwhelming favorite to win the national title this year, and the Golden Bears seem to be the Pac-10's next best team. Cal upset the Trojans in Berkeley in 2003, but USC has taken the last three. The Trojans may have the best defense in America, but Jeff Tedford's dynamic offense will be difficult to keep in check.
Louisville at West Virginia
Last year, these two teams combined for 1,008 yards of total offense (a Big East record), and Louisville prevailed 44-34. There should be no shortage of offense once again, as the game boasts three true Heisman Trophy contenders (Louisville's Brian Brohm and West Virginia's Pat White and Steve Slaton).
Virginia Tech at LSU
This is the premier non-conference clash, as both teams start the season as legit national-title contenders. Although the Hokies must travel to one of the toughest road venues in the country, they've won their past eight road openers.
Texas vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma won five straight Red River Shootouts from 2000-2004, but Texas has taken the past two. Texas and Oklahoma have combined to win the last eight Big 12 South titles and this year should be no different. Strangely, this heated rivalry hasn't been decided by less than 10 points since 1997.
Ohio State at Michigan
Last season's game lost a bit of luster after both teams were blown out in their bowl games, but the contest was still one of '06's finest. Michigan enters this year as the overwhelming Big Ten favorite, but the Wolverines have lost three straight -- and five out of six -- to the Buckeyes. Don't be surprised if this showdown serves as the de facto Big Ten championship game ... again.
Florida at LSU
The defending national champions have their work cut out for them, as Florida's entire schedule is a minefield. But this trip to Death Valley is undoubtedly the biggest of the bunch. This could easily be a preview of the SEC title game.