The annual release of the Preseason AP Top 25 signifies the start of another thrilling year of college football, and while the rankings are only an early indication of what is to come, they do provide a starting point by which to measure the year’s biggest games.
Mark your calendars for these exciting showdowns, which may figure prominently into the ultimate BCS picture, and take advantage of your chance to experience a game live by browsing our wide selection of NCAA football tickets.
College football fans won’t have to wait long to see two top-10 teams battle in 2013, as this opening-weekend game could have title implications already. It’s not often that the top quarterback battle of the year takes place on the first weekend, but such could certainly be the case when Aaron Murray’s Georgia Bulldogs invade Death Valley to take on Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers. The two star signal callers had remarkably similar statistics last season –Boyd threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns, while Murray threw for 3,893 yards and 36 TDs.
AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium, will house this big-time matchup on the 2013 season’s opening weekend. Points will be at a premium in this contest, as both teams ranked in the top 20 of total defense a year ago. The Tigers are no stranger to starting the season off in prime time, as they opened at the venue in 2011, defeating the then-No. 3 ranked Oregon Ducks.
#6 South Carolina Gamecocks vs #5 Georgia Bulldogs | Sept. 7
It doesn’t get much easier for the Bulldogs in week two, as they are set to go toe-to-toe with the South Carolina Gamecocks in Athens. Unlike the Week 1 tilt, this time Georgia will be more concerned with a difference-maker on the defensive side of the ball: Jadeveon Clowney. The 6-6, 274-pound defensive end dominated opposing fronts last season, notching 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss.
Although these two perennial college football powerhouses are a mere hours apart, they have only played five times since the 1987 season. This year's matchup – the first between the schools since 2008 – pits a young Gators team (11 returning starters) that is coming off a BCS appearance against one of the most experienced teams in the country in the Miami Hurricanes (19 returning starters), who are coming off of a seven-win campaign. The stage is set for a classic between these in-state rivals at Sun Life Stadium.
Perhaps no game in the 2013 college football season is more anticipated than this SEC showdown in College Station, Texas. Last year, this contest provided one of the biggest upsets of the year when freshman phenom Johnny Manziel led his team into Tuscaloosa and came out with a dramatic win over the eventual national champion. The stakes figure to be just as high this season, as the Crimson Tide will undoubtedly have revenge on their minds as they attempt to defeat the Aggies and the Twelfth Man at Kyle Field.
The Red River Rivalry first took place in 1900 and has been one of the premier games of the college football schedule each year since. The Sooners have had Texas’ number in recent seasons, taking home the Golden Hat Trophy in each of the last three seasons, but the Longhorns look primed to turn the tides in 2013. Texas returns an NCAA-leading 19 starters, while Oklahoma will be one of the least experienced teams with just 11 starters coming back to Norman.
Even given Steve Sarkisian’s track record for knocking off highly ranked opponents since he arrived at Washington, the Huskies’ takedown of then-third-ranked Stanford in Week 4 of last season was one of the most shocking moments of the year. The Cardinal will certainly not be looking past Washington this year, as the Keith Price-led offense that shredded the Stanford defense in 2012 returns 10 starters.
The Shamrock Series hits the road again in 2013, this time stopping in Arlington, Texas, at the state-of-the-art AT&T Stadium. The Irish are undefeated in the previous four installments of the series, but can’t look past this dangerous Arizona State squad from the Pac-12. The matchup to watch in this contest is the one between Notre Dame’s dominant front seven on defense and the Sun Devils’ explosive rushing tandem of Marion Grice and D.J. Foster.
Although Louisville has the luxury of a schedule that does not include any members of the Preseason AP Top 25, Teddy Bridgewater and Co. will certainly have their fair share of tests, with UCF perhaps being the team that has the best chance to potentially derail the Cardinals’ national title hopes. Coming off an outstanding 10-win 2012 season, the Knights will get their first and last crack at UL in the American Athletic Conference – Louisville will depart for the ACC in 2014 – and have all of the necessary components to pull off the upset.
These squads look likely to light up the scoreboard in this late-October matchup, as the teams run two of the fastest no-huddle offenses in college football. Oregon hasn’t gone head-to-head with UCLA since 2011, so this matchup will mark the first time they see the Bruins’ new and improved spread offense. Two of the best sophomore QBs in the country will take center stage in this Pac-12 tilt, as UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota both return to anchor the position for their respective teams.