Can't-Miss Matchups

Sixty-seven games that will go a long way in determining the 10 BCS bids--and who plays for the national title
August 19, 2007

SEPT. 1

TENNESSEE atCAL

Is the SEC reallythat much better than the Pac-10, as LSU coach Les Miles has suggested? Openingweekend will offer a clue when the Vols face Cal a year after Tennessee blitzedthe Bears 35-18 in Knoxville.

OKLAHOMA STATE atGEORGIA Dawgs must contain Cowboys WR Adarius Bowman.

WAKE FOREST atBOSTON COLLEGE New BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski's first assignment: beat the ACCchamps.

SEPT. 3

FLORIDA STATE atCLEMSON

The good news forembattled coaches Bobby and Tommy Bowden of Florida State and Clemson,respectively: They still have jobs on this Labor Day. The bad news: They faceeach other in Bowden Bowl IX. (Father leads son 5-3.)

SEPT. 8

VIRGINIA TECH atLSU

An A-plus slate ofgames is dominated by nonconference matchups of capable, upset-minded squadsplaying on the road against teams thinking national championship. None arebetter than this showdown between the ACC-favorite Hokies, who have a nastydefense and irresistible running back Branden Ore, and the team to beat in theSEC.

TCU at TEXASFrogs' plan to crash BCS requires an upset in Austin.

MIAMI at OKLAHOMAFirst meeting between traditional powers since 1987 Orange Bowl.

OREGON at MICHIGANWolverines have lost five of last six to Pac-10 teams.

NOTRE DAME at PENNSTATE Irish visit State College for first time since losing to Nittany Lions35-13 in 1991.

SEPT. 15

USC atNEBRASKA

The arrival of therailroad in Nebraska wasn't met with as much anticipation as this game will be,but who will Bill Callahan start at QB for the underdog Cornhuskers: junior JoeGanz or senior transfer Sam Keller? The last time Keller faced a USC defense,with Arizona State in 2005, he threw five interceptions.

SEPT. 20

TEXAS A&M atMIAMI

This would havebeen a heck of a game 15 years ago when both were top 10 programs. Now it's amatchup of teams trying to regain their elite status. Aggies RB Mike Goodson, asophomore burner, may be the best player on the field.

SEPT. 22

PENN STATEatMICHIGAN

Nittany Lions fanshaven't forgotten what happened in Ann Arbor two years ago. Wolverines WR MarioManningham scored the winning touchdown as time expired--after two seconds hadbeen put back on the clock earlier in the drive--handing Penn State its onlyloss of the season.

GEORGIA at ALABAMATide hasn't beaten Dawgs since '95.

SOUTH CAROLINA atLSU Steve Spurrier is 11-1 against Bayou Bengals.

SEPT. 29

AUBURN atFLORIDA

ALABAMA vs.FLORIDA STATE Urban Meyer and his Gators battle the only team that beat themlast season, while, 70 miles away in Jacksonville, Seminoles coach Bobby Bowdenfaces for the first time his home-state team and the program he almost tookover in the 1980s.

WEST VIRGINIA ATSOUTH FLORIDA Mountaineers seek to avenge upset loss that likely cost them aBCS berth last year.

OCT. 6

FLORIDA at LSU

If the defendingnational champs and this year's top SEC team make it through Septemberundefeated, this game could have the most electric atmosphere of any in 2007.Gators sophomore QB Tim Tebow gets his first real road test.

TEXAS vs. OKLAHOMAThe winner of this annual game in Dallas has played for the BCS title threetimes in four years.

GEORGIA atTENNESSEE The Erik Ainge-led Vols rolled up 51 points last year between thehedges.

NEBRASKA atMISSOURI Survivor has inside track to Big 12 North title.

OCT. 13

WISCONSIN at PENNSTATE

Joe Paterno hopesthis game isn't anything like last season's. In 2006 he became livid afterWisconsin twice went offside on a kickoff to take advantage of a loophole inthe clock rules. Later Paterno broke his left leg in a sideline collision. Oh,and Penn State lost.

AUBURN at ARKANSASDarren McFadden shredded the Tigers for 145 yards in '06.

MISSOURI atOKLAHOMA Mizzou has one win in last 17 games against OU.

GEORGIA TECH atMIAMI Likely fight for second in ACC Coastal behind Virginia Tech.

OCT. 18

SOUTH FLORIDA atRUTGERS

With Louisvilleand West Virginia lurking on both teams' schedules, this throwdown is a virtualBig East elimination game. If Ray Rice can come close to duplicating what hedid against the Bulls last year (202 rushing yards, two TDs), the ScarletKnights will still be alive in the conference race.

OCT. 20

CAL at UCLA

If USC is, asexpected, the class of college football and bound for the Superdome, then theprize for second in the Pac-10--a possible Rose Bowl berth--isn't a badconsolation. Cal hasn't played in the Rose since 1959, but a win here is amust.

AUBURN at LSU Bestin SEC West most likely comes out of this game.

TENNESSEE atALABAMA Note to Nick Saban: Predecessor Mike Shula was 1-3 against Vols.

MIAMI at FLORIDASTATE Seminoles have won last two matchups, each by a field goal.

USC at NOTRE DAMETrojans return to site of '05 classic, remembered for the Bush Push.

OCT. 25

BOSTON COLLEGE atVIRGINIA TECH

The Hokies havebeen a Thursday-night mainstay longer than CSI, and they are 13-2 in thosenationally televised games. The two losses? Both to BC, including a 22-3 defeatlast year at Chestnut Hill.

OCT. 27

WEST VIRGINIA atRUTGERS

The first of threeBig East showdowns, this is the follow-up to last year's triple-overtimethriller won by the Mountaineers 41-39. And that was without the crazy legs ofWest Virginia QB and Heisman candidate Pat White.

NEBRASKA at TEXASLonghorns have won six of last seven in series.

OHIO STATE at PENNSTATE Buckeyes should be 8-0 going to State College.

FLORIDA versusGEORGIA (in Jacksonville) Gators have won eight of last nine in World's LargestOutdoor Cocktail Party.

USC at OREGONPotential trap on Trojans' road to New Orleans.

NOV. 1

VIRGINIA TECH atGEORGIA TECH

The Hokies led thenation in scoring defense last season. Georgia Tech rang up the most points ina 38-27 upset in Blacksburg.

NOV. 3

LSU at ALABAMA

Story lines 1, 2and 3 will be about Alabama coach Nick Saban's going against the program he ledfor five seasons. But after that talk has subsided, the biggest question willbe how the Tigers, who play their four toughest opponents in Baton Rouge, willfare in their biggest road test of the season.

WISCONSIN at OHIOSTATE First meeting since '04; Badgers have won three straight in Columbus.

FLORIDA STATE atBOSTON COLLEGE Winner moves one step closer to ACC Atlantic crown.

OREGON STATE atUSC Can Beavers shock nation as they did last year?

NOV. 8

LOUISVILLE at WESTVIRGINIA

In the must-seeBig East game of the year, one team, and possibly both, could enter thisThursday-night affair undefeated. West Virginia RB Steve Slaton burst onto thescene when the teams met in 2005, scoring six touchdowns as the Mountaineerswon in triple overtime.

NOV. 10

MICHIGAN atWISCONSIN

With all duerespect to a certain rivalry played out the following week, this matchup hasthe makings of the biggest game on the Big Ten schedule. The Badgers lost onlyone game last year, at Michigan, and pile-driving running back P.J. Hill is oneof their 16 returning starters.

USC at CAL Bearspose biggest threat in Trojans' bid for sixth straight Pac-10 title.

FLORIDA STATE atVIRGINIA TECH Preview of ACC championship game?

AUBURN at GEORGIALast year's upset of Tigers was turning point for Bulldogs and QB MatthewStafford.

FLORIDA at SOUTHCAROLINA Blocked field goal attempt kept Gators' national title hopes alivelast year.

ARKANSAS atTENNESSEE Darren McFadden rushed--and passed--Arkansas to an easy win in'06.

NOV. 17

OHIO STATE atMICHIGAN

As was the caselast year, this could be for a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Or it couldbe for a place in the Capital One Bowl. Regardless, it's still Michigan-OhioState, and Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is 5-1 in the Big Game.

MIAMI at VIRGINIATECH Hurricanes could block Hokies' path to BCS.

LOUISVILLE atSOUTH FLORIDA Cardinals have dropped last two in Tampa.

NOV. 23

BOISE STATE atHAWAII

A BCS berth andthe Heisman could be at stake when the trick-play Broncos take on the touchdownmachine, Warriors QB Colt Brennan, in Hawaii's only real test of theseason.

TEXAS at TEXASA&M Aggies snapped five-game losing streak to Horns last year.

ARKANSAS at LSUPotentially a must-win game for both teams, with SEC and BCS implications.

NOV. 24

FLORIDA STATE atFLORIDA

It has been sevenyears since the outcome of this heated rivalry has had national titleramifications for both teams. In the meantime the game has become importantmostly for its recruiting impact. The Gators have won the last three meetings,which may help explain the stockpile of talent in Gainesville.

ALABAMA at AUBURNTigers have won five straight Iron Bowls.

MIAMI at BOSTONCOLLEGE Eagles haven't beaten Hurricanes since Flutie found Phelan in '84.

NOV. 29

RUTGERS atLOUISVILLE

Last year theyproduced a Thursday-night thriller in early November. The Cardinals and QBBrian Brohm look to get even.

DEC. 1

UCLA at USC

Conventionalwisdom has QB John David Booty and the Trojans entering this season-endingmatchup as heavy favorites to advance to the BCS championship game. But giventhat same scenario last year, USC lost 13-9 to the Bruins. It was the moststunning upset of 2006 and opened up a spot for Florida in the title game.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIPGAME (in Jacksonville) Chances are slim for a Wake Forest-Georgia Techrematch.

BIG 12CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (in San Antonio) South champion has won last three titles andeight of 11.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIPGAME (in Atlanta) Winner could be playing for national title in its ownbackyard.

ARMY vs. NAVY (inBaltimore) Midshipmen riding five-game winning streak in series.

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PHOTODAVID BERGMAN (ORE)BRANDEN ORE
PHOTO REX BROWN/WIREIMAGE.COM (BOWDENS)BOBBY AND TOMMY BOWDEN PHOTOBRIAN BAHR/GETTY IMAGES (CALLAHAN)BILL CALLAHAN PHOTODARREN CARROLL (GOODSON)MIKE GOODSON PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (MANNINGHAM)MARIO MANNINGHAM PHOTOCHARLES KRUPA/AP (TEBOW)TIM TEBOW PHOTOROBERT BECK (MEYER)URBAN MEYER PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (LONGSHORE)NATE LONGSHORE PHOTOBILL FRAKES (WHITE)PAT WHITE PHOTOMARVIN GENTRY/US PRESSWIRE (SABAN)NICK SABAN PHOTOWILLIAM E. AMATUCCI JR./WIREIMAGE.COM (SLATON)STEVE SLATON PHOTOTODD ROSENBERG/ICON SMI (HILL)P.J. HILL PHOTOJOHN BIEVER (GATOR CHOMP)GATOR CHOMP PHOTOANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES (BROHM)BRIAN BROHM PHOTOROBERT BECK (BOOTY)JOHN DAVID BOOTY THIRTY-TWO ILLUSTRATIONS

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
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