15 Must-See College Football Matchups of 2014

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15 Must-See College Football Matchups of 2014

cowboys classic
Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 college football season can’t get here soon enough for most fans. With spring practices getting into full swing across the nation, the anticipation has already begun for what should be an incredible year for college football. The BCS is dead and the new College Football Playoff will get started, adding a whole new level of intrigue to each week of the 2014 season.

While there are surprises every single week on the college football schedule with underdogs coming out of nowhere or a player making a Herculean effort to carry his team to a win, we can already pinpoint some of the marquee games on the schedule that are absolutely must-see games. Whether it’s a game with heavy implications for a conference title and a team’s place in the new playoff system or a major matchup of non-conference heavyweights, the 2014 schedule is filled with game that you will not want to miss.

All across the country, programs will be gearing up for huge matchups on their schedule. Whether they’ll be out for revenge or just to establish dominance over their conference or a rival, the slate is filled with great games each and every week. If you can only choose one game to watch each week, good luck because the selection will be vast.

But as with all things in college football, some games are a cut above the rest. Here are 15 must-see college football games that we are looking forward to in the 2014 season that are sure to excite.

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15. LSU at Auburn (October 4)

lsu v auburn
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The LSU Tigers were the only team to beat the Auburn Tigers during the regular season in 2013 in a 35-21 shootout in Baton Rouge. Auburn gets their chance at revenge this October when LSU comes to Jordan-Hare in a matchup that will go a lot ways in determining SEC West supremacy.

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14. Stanford at Washington (September 27)

stanford v washington
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Over the last two seasons, the matchup between the Stanford Cardinal and Washington Huskies has been the game of the year in the Pac-12. Two years ago, UW beat Stanford in Washington and outplayed them last season in Palo Alto. This will be a major litmus test for the Dawgs in determining if they’re ready to challenge for Pac-12 North supremacy while also serving as an opportunity for the Cardinal to reestablish their Pac-12 supremacy.

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13. UCLA vs Texas (September 13, AT&T Stadium)

ucla v texas
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In a huge non-conference early-season matchup, the UCLA Bruins will meet up with the Texas Longhorns in Dallas in what should be a must-see contest. UCLA will likely be a preseason top-10 team looking to break through as a national power in 2014 while Charlie Strong is looking to establish the Longhorns as the dominant team in Texas once again. Both sides would be well served with a high-profile win like this one.

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12. Notre Dame at Florida State (October 18)

notre dame v fsu
Melina Vastola - USA TODAY Sports

Two of the premier brands in college football square off in a rare meeting when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish begin their ACC tie-in scheduling in 2014 with a trip to Tallahassee to take on the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles. The Irish have high hopes to returning to a major bowl game next season while FSU is planning on continuing their run of dominance as long as possible. It will be a marquee matchup with serious implications for the postseason.

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11. USC at UCLA (November 22)

usc v ucla
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

The Battle for Los Angeles has certainly heated up over the last few seasons as the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins go head-to-head for supremacy of Southern California. The Bruins are on a bit of a winning streak in this rivalry, winning back-to-back meetings, but USC has a new head coach with a mission of restoring the Trojans to their former glory. That starts by putting the “little brother” Bruins back in their place on the field and taking control of the Pac-12 South.

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10. Ohio State at Michigan State (November 8)

ohio state at michigan state
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The Big Ten realignment in 2014 will give us a number of must-see games during the season and perhaps none will be bigger than the rematch of the 2013 Big Ten Title game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans. Sparty is riding high off their conference title and Rose Bowl victory but will have to hold off the Buckeyes at home next season to defend their title and win the Big Ten East division. Ohio State will be looking for revenge to try and finally claim their first Big Ten title under Urban Meyer.

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9. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (December 6)

oklahoma v oklahoma state
Richard Rowe - USA TODAY Sports

The Bedlam Series is always one of the best games of the season in the Big 12 and this year should be no different. Last season, the Oklahoma Sooners spoiled the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ chances of a conference title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl with a last-minute drive. This season, the Sooners figure to be the favorite to win the Big 12 which puts the Pokes in the position to spoil things for their in-state rival on the last weekend of the regular season.

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8. LSU vs Wisconsin (August 30, Reliant Stadium)

lsu v wisconsin
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The LSU Tigers have aspirations of returning to the national title conversation while the Wisconsin Badgers are in need of a signature non-conference win. Gary Andersen is hoping to get the Badgers into the conversation as a national power but will have to overcome the Big Ten stigma of being “too slow” to keep up with SEC competition. They’ll get their chance when they go toe-to-toe with the Tigers on a neutral field to kick off the 2014 season.

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7. Michigan at Ohio State (November 29)

michigan v ohio state
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The Game is always a big deal but Big Ten realignment has made this year’s version even bigger. Last season the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes battled in one of the best-ever chapters of their storied rivalry and will be looking to follow it up in 2014 with conference title implications on the line. Now in the same division, this game could easily decide the winner of the Big Ten East as the rivals square off in the Horseshoe at the end of the regular season.

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6. Alabama at LSU (November 8)

alabama v lsu
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Anytime the Alabama Crimson Tide head to the Bayou to take on the LSU Tigers, it’s a must-see matchup. Both teams will have national title aspirations in 2014 and will need this game to establish their place at the top of the SEC West. It will be another knock-down, drag-out slugfest between this division rivals as they try and settle who rules their division next season.

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5. Oklahoma State vs Florida State (August 30, AT&T Stadium)

oklahoma state v florida state
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

The opening weekend of college football this season will be highlighted by two marquee teams squaring off in Dallas as the Oklahoma State Cowboys face off with the Florida State Seminoles. Oklahoma State can prove that they are legitimate contenders again in the Big 12 with a strong showing against the defending national champions while FSU will look to kick off their title defense in style.

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4. Oklahoma vs Texas (October 11, Cotton Bowl)

oklahoma v texas
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When Charlie Strong took over as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, he made some not-so-subtle comments directed at the rest of the Big 12 about what he planned to accomplish with Texas. The Oklahoma Sooners will be the litmus test for Strong in whether or not his first season is a resounding success. Bob Stoops has built his career on beating Texas (2013 notwithstanding) and Strong will need to change that in his first Red River Rivalry.

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3. Michigan State at Oregon (September 13)

michigan state v oregon
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In possibly the most high-profile non-conference matchup of the season, the Michigan State Spartans travel to Autzen Stadium to take on the Oregon Ducks in a potential Rose Bowl preview early in the season. The Spartans are fresh off winning the Rose Bowl and will bring a rebuilt but still formidable defense to Eugene to take on the high-octane Oregon offense. These two heavyweights have played just four times before this season with the home team winning all four games.

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2. Stanford at Oregon (September 13)

stanford v oregon
Kelley L. Cox - USA TODAY Sports

The winner of the game between the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks has gone on to win the Pac-12 title each of the last five seasons. The Cardinal have won two straight, including an overtime thriller the last time they traveled to Autzen in 2012, and their win last year derailed what looked like a run to the BCS National Championship for the Ducks and sure-fire Heisman Trophy for quarterback Marcus Mariota. Can the Ducks finally solve their Stanford problem in 2014?

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1. Auburn at Alabama (November 29)

auburn v alabama
John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

After the way the 2013 Iron Bowl ended, there’s no doubt this year’s contest will be the most hotly anticipated matchup of the college football season. The Auburn Tigers shocked the Alabama Crimson Tide with a last second, 100-yard missed field goal return to send Auburn to the SEC Championship and into the BCS National Championship, derailing a potential three-peat for Nick Saban and the Tide. Will Alabama exact revenge for the wild finish that dashed their dreams in 2013 this time around?

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