John Roberts College Football

Monday, August 22, 2005

Preseason 2005: The Games of September

Picking out the Top Ten Games of September is not an easy task. Sure, some games are guaranteed to be great, but how can anyone predict how big these games will be? If both teams lose early in the season, the games lose some luster. We'll just have to wait and see.

1. Tennessee at LSU, September 24- The Tigers and Vols are both in the preseason Top Five and both are capable of getting to the Rose Bowl and winning the national title. Of course, their first priority is just winning the SEC, and since these two teams may have to get by each other again later on in the year, call this a "possible preview of the SEC Championship Game." Baton Rouge will be rocking on Saturday night, and the Vols will be coming off another tough road game. This game is about as big as they come any time of the year!

2. Texas at Ohio State, September 10- This game has garnered a lot of the preseason attention. Yes, both teams are Top Ten teams, but the real great thing about this game is that it is a non-conference game. It is rare to see two strong teams battling in a non-conference game. This will be quite enjoyable. Watch Vince Young and Ted Ginn Jr., two of the most exciting players in football, showcase their skills as the race for the Heisman heats up.

3. Tennessee at Florida, September 17- Yes, the Vols are playing in two of the top three games of the month and both are on the road in consecutive weeks. Is it any wonder that they aren't ranked #2 in the preseason polls? The Gators will be playing their first huge game under Urban Meyer and will be looking to showcase that they are in the SEC Championship race to stay. Chris Leak and the rest of the Gators will need to bring their A game, as the Vols, after not winning for 30 years in Gainesville, have won the last two times they have visited The Swamp.

4. Iowa at Ohio State, September 24- Yes, the Buckeyes are playing in two of the top four games of the month. Unbelievable. Both of these teams are Top Ten teams and have the capability to go on a big run to the Rose Bowl. However, both need to get through the tough Big Ten. The Hawkeyes have proven nearly unbeatable at home in recent years, so the fact that this game is in Columbus is a big deal. If Ohio State loses to Texas, this game will lose some of its luster, but it will still be a very important game

5. Miami at Florida State, September 5- On Labor Day night, these two old rivals square off. It is the top game of the week, but it is not the only game to think about in the first couple of weeks of the season like the ACC was planning on. That is because both teams are perceived to be a bit down this year. However, a win to start off the season could propel either team to a great season. Of course, they could meet in December for the ACC Championship. The 'Canes certainly hope they can continue their dominance in this series, while the 'Noles try to find a quarterback after the loss of Chris Rix to graduation.

6. Arizona State at LSU, September 10- The Tigers are on this list again. The Sun Devils have the potential to be one of the real surprising stars of the Pac Ten this year. With the Tigers hoping to make a run at the national championship, this game is huge. Last year, the Tigers struggled at home to beat an average Pac Ten team (Oregon State). This year, a better than average Pac Ten team, Arizona State, is coming calling. Can they pull off the upset? The Tigers will be breaking in several new starters and a new head coach in Les Miles. This game smells of a trap.

7. Florida State at Boston College, September 17- The Atlantic Division title could be on the line when these two teams square off in September. The Seminoles will be greeting the Eagles to the ACC. The 'Noles could already be 0-1 in conference play if they lose to Miami on Labor Day. That would make this game just that much more important. A second conference loss would leave them hopelessly behind Boston College in the standings. At the same time, the place will be rocking as the Eagles look to establish themselves in their new conference. What a fun game!

8. Boise State at Georgia, September 3- The Bulldogs will be bringing in several new starters, as the Broncos look to prove that they belong among the elite. Boise State has failed to win away from the blue field against BCS opponents when they have had the chance. This is a huge game. The Bulldogs are hoping that this year they can accomplish some of the goals they were unable to accomplish last year, such as winnning an SEC title and maybe even a national title. This game is a David vs. Goliath, and it is a battle of ranked teams. It is rare to see one of those types of match-ups. It ought to be very interesting.

9. Notre Dame at Michigan, September 10- This is one of football's great early season rivalry games. The Irish stunned Michigan in South Bend a year ago. With Charlie Weiss now in as the Irish head coach, they expect things to turn around. Against a Top Ten Michigan team, that may be tough. The Wolverines are expected to make a run at the Rose Bowl this year with talented sophomores Mike Hart and Chad Henne in the backfield. They have dominated the Irish in Ann Arbor lately. This game always has one of the better build ups in the game, so this ought to be a fun one to watch.

10. Georgia Tech at Auburn, September 3- The Yellow Jackets last saw the Tigers two years ago when they stunned Auburn and sent them bumbling to an 0-2 start from a #3 preseason ranking. This year, Auburn is coming off an undefeated season. They are hoping to rebuild after losing so much talent. But the Yellow Jackets have a great defens, making it tough for Auburn to break in their new backfield. Georgia Tech would be a darkhorse national title pick except for their tough schedule, and that includes this game. If the Jackets prove they can win a game like this, they may just jump right into the national championship picture.

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