By: Dave Collins
Eagle Radio Sports Director
Leading up to kickoff this weekend of the college football season I thought it'd be fun to scope out the national Division I schedule and find the games that we just can't miss watching this fall! Rivalries, non-traditional match-ups of great powers, games with huge implications.....this top-10 has it all and today is games 7, 6 and 5 leading up to my #1 can't miss game of the year later this week. Get primed for kickoff Saturday, it's finally going to be here!
#7 – Miami vs Florida
The season opener on Saturday night, August 24 pits two huge rivals from the most talent-rich state in the country. Both teams have rosters and expectations to compete for their respective division titles, putting them in place for an ACC and SEC championship, which would lead to a potential New Year’s Six bowl.
Throw Florida State in the mix and anytime a combination of those three teams meets it’s also a battle of players who faced each other in high school or were on the same team, adding fuel to the rivalry. Any game featuring a combo of the trio has been a favorite of mine since I was a little kid and they’ve produced some epic games, comebacks and finishes.
With a Saturday night kickoff the fans will be juiced. The only downside is the game isn’t in The Swamp. Miami doesn’t have an on-campus stadium and this one will be played in Orlando at Camping World Stadium. It'll still be solid, and heck, it's the season opener!
The Pick: Gators 21, Canes 20
#6 – LSU at Alabama
Two National Title contenders will meet November 9 in Tuscaloosa. It’s become an annual top-15 match-up, and seven times in the past five seasons either Bama, LSU or both have been in the top-4. Come opening weekend the Tide are #2 and the Tigers are #6 in the AP poll.
The games haven’t lived up to greatness every year however, but this one feels different. Bama is still rolling, but not as fast with the rise of Clemson exposing cracks in the Tide armor. LSU is expecting a huge season and might finally have the offense to score more than 16 points, the most the Tide’s defense has allowed the Tigers since 2014, including two shutouts.
Bama has the easier road to staying unbeaten by the time this one comes in November, whereas LSU has to get by a game at Texas and three tricky SEC games right before this showdown.
The Pick: Tide 23, Tigers 21
#5 – Army at Michigan
Whoa? Who saw this one coming in the top-10 most anticipated games of the season?
The huge upset, everyone loves to see it....until it happens to your team. This one here would go down in the minds of college football traditionalists as a huge upset by name, but in reality it shouldn’t be a huge surprise.
Army is a throwback to the old school days of running the football as a priority, and almost exclusively. In the past seven seasons the Knights have averaged less than 100 yards a game in the air, and just 28 yards a game two seasons ago. They’ll grind out over 300 consistently though, wear you down and keep the ball out of your hands with a punishing rushing attack.
Michigan is a trendy College Football Playoff pick. Both teams have a lot of strength defensively, but Michigan’s is in the defensive backfield, which won’t be a huge factor seeing as Army's strength is on the ground.
Appalachian State where you at? Colorado’s Miracle in Michigan. Big stunners in the Big House have happened before. Will it happen again?
Army lost in overtime at #5 Oklahoma last year so they're spotlight-experienced for another big showdown.
The Pick: Michigan 20, Army 19 - OT Knights go for two and the win but come up short on the one yard line in OT.