The 2004 college football season is just eight weeks away, which means the preseason publications are beginning to appear in earnest.
College Football news.com, one of the sport’s more informative Internet sites, has listed its 10 biggest games of the year. Note that BCS champion LSU made the list three times, compared to just one for ESPN/USA Today national titlist Southern Cal. Georgia also appears three times.
The list, while interesting and good sports book chatter, has a couple of troubling aspects. First, five of the Top 10 games are within the SEC. Second, only one pivotal game occurs after Oct. 30. It’s extremely hard to conceive that virtually no games on national impact will be played during November and early December.
Finally, there’s just one major Big Ten encounter and none in the Big East? Hey, the SEC is good, but there’s plenty of good football played around the country. Hard to imagine Virginia Tech, Iowa and Clemson didn’t make the list.
Anyway, here’s our early breakdown of that website’s Top 10 which they listed in order of importance.
1. LSU at Georgia (Oct. 2): No surprise that this would be the year’s most significant game if you’re on the same page as College Football news.com. The first meeting last season was Sept. 20 with LSU winning 17-10 in Baton Rouge as a 2-point favorite. The Tigers also won the rematch as a 3-point favorite Dec. 6 in Atlanta for the SEC title, 34-13.
2. Texas vs Oklahoma (Oct. 9): The Sooners again won the annual Red River Shootout in Dallas by a whopping 52 points (65-13) as a 6-point favorite. The game was played Oct. 11 last year.
3. Florida St at Miami (Sept. 6): The two Sunshine State rivals met twice last year with the Hurricanes winning both. Miami won Oct. 11 in Tallahassee as a 7-point underdog, 22-14. The Canes won again Jan. 1 in the Orange Bowl as a 2-point dog, 16-14.
4. Michigan at Ohio St (Nov. 20): The Wolverines went to the Rose Bowl last year on the strength of their 35-21 victory Nov. 22 in Ann Arbor as a 7-point favorite.
5. Florida vs Georgia (Oct. 30): The World’s Largest Cocktail Party in Jacksonville again belonged to the Gators, which won 16-13 on Nov. 1 as a 2-point underdog.
6. Oklahoma at Kansas St (Oct. 16): The two Big 12 powers did not meet during the regular season. K-State shocked OU in the league championship game at Kansas City as a 14-point underdog, 35-7.
7. LSU at Auburn (Sept. 18): Louisiana State posted an impressive 31-7 victory Oct. 25 in Baton Rouge as a 3-point favorite. This year, the game takes place much earlier in the season in Alabama.
8. Tennessee at Georgia (Oct. 9): This was Georgia’s best effort of last season, winning 41-14 on Oct. 11 as a 2-point road favorite. The site moves from Knoxville to Athens this year. Big revenge game for the Vols.
9. LSU at Florida (Oct. 9): Speaking of revenge, this was the one LSU loss from a year ago. The Gators won Oct. 11 in Baton Rouge as a 7-point underdog, 19-7.
10. USC at Washington St (Oct. 30): Another revenge game that could go a long way to deciding the Pac-10 race. The Trojans won easily on Nov. 1 last year in Los Angeles as a 12-point favorite, 43-16.