Preseason 2005: The Games of October
The leaves are turning by October, and fall is in full swing. It makes for a very interesting time of the football season. At the beginning of the month, we are less than halfway through football season. By the end of the month, we are closing in on the home stretch. Once again, it is very tough to predict the Top Ten games of a month when the games haven't even started yet. Currently, these projections are roughly two months out in some cases. That makes things a little odd. But here they are.
1. Oklahoma vs. Texas in Dallas, TX (October 8)- The Sooners have had the Longhorns number in recent years. But this is supposed to be the year that the Longhorns reverse the curse and finally beat the mighty Sooners. If they do not, then Texas will find themselves muttering about another what if. If the Sooners survive, they could be starting to think title themselves. This is about as interesting of a game as there is to look forward to for the upcoming season.
2. Florida at LSU (October 15)- Let the round robin continue! The top three teams in the SEC (Florida, LSU, and Tennessee) all play each other during the regular season this year. LSU gets both of them at home. The last time Florida came to Baton Rouge, they left with a stunning victory over the future BCS national champs. Can the Gators do it again? The two first year coaches, Les Miles and Urban Meyer, both need to give their fan bases something to cheer about in a possible preview of the SEC Championship Game.
3. Michigan at Iowa (October 22)- The Hawkeyes don't lose at home too often. In the game that could determine the winner of the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes have the huge advantage of being at home. They also generally get better as the season goes along under Kirk Ferentz. For Michigan, they will need to play their best game of the year to win this game. The winner could keep themselves in the Rose Bowl discussion, and definitely keeps alive the talk of winning the Big Ten title.
4. Georgia at Tennessee (October 8)- Last year, the Dawgs were stunned at home by the Vols. This year, it looks like it is the Dawgs that want to do the stunning. Georgia is being underrated in the SEC this year. They are being overlooked. D.J. Shockley will be running the show, and the Bulldogs have every right to think that they could walk into Knoxville and come out with a win. If the Vols are unbeaten heading into this game, it may be the most anticipated game in Knoxville since the national championship season of 1998.
5. Iowa at Purdue (October 8)- The Boilermakers are a sleeper choice to be in contention for the Rose Bowl and a Big Ten title. If they really are that good, this is the lone stumbling block on their schedule. The Hawkeyes are the only team that appears to be better than the Boilermakers on paper, and that game is a home game for Purdue. For Iowa, this is a tough road test. This could be a special game if both teams come in unbeaten. (Notice that this is the third game in the Top Five on October 8...what a day of football!)
6. USC at Arizona State (October 1)- Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat its failures. Nebraska won back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995. In 1996, the Cornhuskers went to Arizona State to take on a Sun Devils team that looked like they were in for a surprise season. The Cornhuskers were huge favorites. But, Arizona State beat them 19-0, and the Cornhuskers later lost to Texas in the inaugural Big Twelve Championship Game and they did not win their third straight national title. Arizona State went on to be ranked #2 heading into the Rose Bowl before falling in a classic game to #4 Ohio State. USC has won back-to-back national titles. They head to an improving Arizona State. Hmmmmm......
7. Tennessee at Alabama (October 22)- The Vols continue their tough road schedule that will have already included Florida and LSU. Alabama and Brodie Croyle will be looking to earn a big victory over one of their main rivals. The Tide could be building something special by this point in the season and with LSU and Auburn both still to come, this game could propel the Tide to a truly great season.
8. Florida vs. Georgia in Jacksonville, FL (October 29)- The Dawgs and the Gators battle in the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Last year, Georgia finally ended their losing streak to the Gators. Could another one start this year? The Gators look to be the better team this year, and after all those years of beating the Dawgs when Georgia had the better team, UGA would like nothing better than to stun the Gators this time around. Of course, this could also have huge SEC title implications with both teams already having played Tennessee.
9. USC at Notre Dame (October 15)- The Trojans and the Irish are bitter rivals, and with Charlie Weiss leading the troops, Notre Dame is expected to take a big step this year. Brady Quinn needs to grow up as a quarterback before he can hope to beat Matt Leinart and the Trojans. This game could wake up the echoes for Notre Dame if they could somehow stun USC.
10. Boston College at Virginia Tech (October 27)- A Thursday night game to go ahead and mark your calendars for. The Eagles are expected to be a contender in the ACC this year. The Hokies won the ACC a year ago. These two old Big East rivals renew acquaintances in the ACC. This is a possible ACC Championship Game preview. If Boston College has won a lot of their early season games, there could be even more on the line than that. This game looks to be a showcase for both these teams to make cases that they belong in the nation's elite!