1. OREGON AT STANFORD
Nov. 12 SEC fans might yawn over this selection, but smart college football followers will not sleep on this supershowdown between the Pac-12's power couple. Both teams could start the season ranked in the top five, which means the game could have significant impact on the national championship chase. And barring an unforeseen collapse by either squad, the victor will have the edge in the race for the North division crown.
If that's not enough, the winner of the Heisman Trophy also could be determined in Palo Alto. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck enters the season as the favorite, but Oregon tailback LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas aren't far behind. There's a good chance that no other game this season will have as many potential Heisman finalists.
Even SEC fans couldn't ask for more.
2. LSU AT ALABAMA
Nov. 5 Any game pitting teams from the SEC West could place high on this list, but none of the others will have the crawfish boiling like this saucy slugfest between Nick Saban's old team and Nick Saban's new team. Both squads will open the season in the top five—probably in the top three—and both may be undefeated, meaning this has the potential to be a showdown between No. 1 and No. 2.
Last year the Tigers edged the Tide 24--21, needing a tight end reverse on fourth-and-one to help pull off the upset. This year the winner should have the inside track to the division title and be one step closer to the BCS championship game. The loser will be staring at a second-place finish in the SEC West, which, considering the company, isn't so bad.
3. LSU VS. OREGON
Sept. 3 in Arlington, Texas The first big Saturday-night game of the season is a Texas-sized tussle between two teams with national title hopes. The Ducks should be familiar with nasty SEC defenses—they're coming off a loss to Auburn in the BCS championship game.
4. OKLAHOMA AT FLORIDA STATE