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Got your popcorn ready? Check out these 20 can't-miss games of the 2010 season:
|Florida and Alabama's matchup will once again likely have SEC and national title implications.|
1. Florida at Alabama, Oct. 2
This has developed into a huge rivalry the past three seasons. Florida handed Alabama its first loss of the season in 2008. Alabama reciprocated in 2009. Both were in the SEC championship game. Now they meet in the regular season with just as much on the line.
2. Texas at Nebraska, Oct. 16
Anticipation is so high, the Nebraska marketing department put out a video this summer celebrating the Huskers, then ending with the tagline, "Wear Red, Be Loud, Beat Texas." That Texas line has since been removed from the video, but there is no question the hatred here runs deep. What will happen in the final Big 12 game between the two? Tune in to find out.
3. Miami at Ohio State, Sept. 11
This game is symbolic of so much -- the last time they met, Ohio State hung on to win the national title in a huge upset. That was the Buckeyes' last victory in the title game. For the Hurricanes, that game was the beginning of a downward slide. Now, with Miami on the verge of being completely back, they meet again with Ohio State as the favorite.
4. Boise State vs. Virginia Tech, Sept. 6 (Landover, Md.)
One-game season for the Broncos. If they beat Virginia Tech, then they keep their national title hopes alive.
5. Texas vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 2 (Dallas)
Shocked that this is on the list, right? Once again, the Red River Rivalry is expected to determine the Big 12 South. Texas has won four of the past five meetings.
6. Ohio State at Iowa, Nov. 20
This one could determine the Big Ten champion. Both teams are ranked in the preseason top 10. Both teams return a majority of their starters. A 27-24 win in overtime in last season's meeting punched the Buckeyes' ticket to the Rose Bowl.
|Devin Barclay's game-winning field goal in overtime pushed Ohio State past Iowa in 2009 and sent the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl.|
7. Oregon State vs. TCU, Sept. 4 (Arlington, Texas)
The same situation facing Boise State faces TCU. Win the opener against a top-notch BCS opponent and the Horned Frogs' slim title hopes remain intact. Lose, and forget a shot at any BCS game.
8. Michigan at Notre Dame, Sept. 11
After the Wolverines' stunning come-from-behind win last season, this qualifies as must-see TV. Especially with Brian Kelly on the Irish sideline and beleaguered Rich Rodriguez on the other.
9. Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 26
Auburn is expected to make a resurgence this season, and could seriously challenge Alabama for the SEC West. The Tigers came oh-so-close to beating Alabama last year. One of the fiercest rivalries in college football could play a role not only in the SEC but the national title picture.
10. Florida State at Miami, Oct. 9
The talk in Florida is that both programs are on the rise. This game will show whether Miami still has a step on the Seminoles, or whether new coach Jimbo Fisher is making bigger strides than expected.
11. Oregon State at Boise State, Sept. 25
Two Boise State games in the top 11? That is how important this season is for the Broncos, who are providing one of the biggest storylines in the country this season. A loss here, and say goodbye to the BCS.
12. Penn State at Alabama, Sept. 11
Two storied programs meeting in Tuscaloosa, who can ask for more than that in early September? While the Nittany Lions are going to be bringing an unproven quarterback with them into the game, Joe Paterno versus Nick Saban should make for one megawatt storyline.
13. USC at Stanford, Oct. 9
Stanford absolutely throttled USC 55-21 last season in Los Angeles. Afterward, then-coach Pete Carroll asked Jim Harbaugh, "What's your deal?" believing the Cardinal ran up the score. You think new USC coach Lane Kiffin won't remind his players of the embarrassing loss? Especially since USC has a chance to play spoiler this season.
14. Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 27
USC has won eight straight in the series, but Notre Dame nearly won last season in South Bend. Jimmy Clausen threw three incompletions into the end zone in the closing seconds to seal it.
15. Pittsburgh at Utah, Sept. 2
Rematch of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl that Utah won -- the first non-AQ team to win a BCS bowl game. This is going to be an excellent early test for the favorite in the Big East against a team that could challenge TCU in the Mountain West. Utah kicks off its final season in the MWC before joining the Pac-10 next season.
|Last season's Civil War was for the Pac-10 title. Will 2010 be any different?|
16. Ohio State at Wisconsin, Oct. 16
Another game that will have huge implications in the Big Ten race. Wisconsin has had trouble beating ranked Big Ten teams. Now the Badgers get the Buckeyes at home. They have beaten Ohio State only 17 times in 75 meetings.
17. Alabama at Arkansas, Sept. 25
Though Alabama plays Penn State in the second game of the season, this is the first true test of the year for the Tide. Going on the road to play another top 25 team and the best QB in the SEC, Ryan Mallett, will say a lot about where Alabama stands. Conversely, the Razorbacks' SEC-title credentials will be tested in Fayetteville against the defending champs. For the Tide, the visit to Arkansas starts a tough stretch of games. They follow this matchup by hosting Florida, then going on the road to South Carolina.
18. Oregon at Oregon State, Dec. 4
This one could determine the Pac-10 title for the second straight year. Last season, the Beavers came close to the upset, taking a 30-21 lead in the third quarter before the Ducks rallied to win. This season, expectations are high for both programs.
19. LSU vs. North Carolina, Sept. 4 (Atlanta)
Huge game for both teams ranked in the bottom portion of the top 25. Both teams have great defenses but mediocre offenses. There are some high expectations for North Carolina this season, and it will be interesting to see who does (or does not) take the field for the Tar Heels in Atlanta. If UNC can open with a win against a top-quality SEC team, its confidence will no doubt grow.
20. Florida State at Oklahoma, Sept. 11
The last time these two teams met, Oklahoma won the 2000 BCS national title. This is simply a classic nonconference matchup, and a gigantic test for Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher as he replaces Bobby Bowden.
Andrea Adelson is a college football blogger for the nation blog on ESPN.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.