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The 10 college football games that define the 2021 national championship race



The spring exercises have been canceled, the off-season has become a desert of college football news, and the desire for the greatest sport in the world to improve it has never been so great. Let’s meet that need by looking at some of the biggest games of the 2020 season.

From week zero to the weekend of the conference championship, the coming season will be filled with exciting games that will determine the college football landscape. What are the most important of these games to watch out for? Let̵

7;s break them down:

10. Texas at LSU, September 12: No, this is not a paragraph about the return from Texas. Nobody should fall into this trap until Texas proves it’s actually back. However, it is a fascinating game for the LSU. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tigers had massive roster turnover, a shock to the coaching staff and the elimination of spring practice. Now will you go into a massive game with a Longhorns team that will have revenge on your mind in week 2? Sign me up.

9th Wisconsin in Michigan, September 26th: Think of this as an elimination game. Or, if you prefer a more positive twist on catchy college football monikers, a proof-it game. The Badgers have lost running back Jonathan Taylor, but have an identity that has stood the test of time. In the meantime, the Wolverines have lost quarterback Shea Patterson, have a vanilla offense that doesn’t seem to be coming, and have become desperate in the sixth year of the Jim Harbaugh era. The winner of this game will start October with a lot of momentum. The loser … well, I have a great off-season.

8. Florida vs. Georgia (in Jacksonville), October 31: The Gators and Bulldogs will compete on the First Coast in a game that is likely to determine the SEC East Champion. This champion has entered the SEC title game with a CFP berth in the last three seasons. Of course it was the Bulldogs in all three games. Could Dan Mullen and the Gators turn the division’s script and enter the Mercedes-Benz stadium with the CFP in sight? They must first defeat their hated rival.

7. Ohio State in Penn State, October 24: The Buckeyes lost a thriller in the Fiesta Bowl national semi-final last year and will likely have to go through the Nittany Lions in a noisy Beaver stadium to return to the post-season with four teams. Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford has been up and down as a junior but has one year of experience and can take his team into the Big Ten East competition by defeating the Buckeyes.

6th USC in Oregon, November 7th: Don’t fall for the out-of-season negativity directed against USC. Coach Clay Helton returns to Kedon Slovis in the second year after the aspiring second player joined the Trojans last season as fourth quarterback. Although the off-season has been shortened, he will undoubtedly build on last season’s success. The ducks are loaded on the front on both sides of the ball, but do not have the quarterback edge in this. Think of this as a CFP elimination game.

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USC QB Kedon Slovis

USATSI

5. Texas vs. Oklahoma (in Dallas), October 10: The Sooners dominated the Big 12 with five direct conference titles, but if there’s one team that has the talent to break this series, it’s the Longhorns. The problem is that we’ve been waiting for them to be “back” since losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game after the 2009 season. If Texas can win, things in the flyover country will be really interesting. If this is not possible, coach Tom Herman’s seat will warm up like a field in West Texas in July.

4. Ohio State in Oregon, September 12: Hello, week 2 cross-country battle of the giants. The Buckeyes and Ducks will have bragging rights in Eugene last season. The ducks have the country’s strongest offensive line in the coming season, while the horse chestnuts have an outstanding defense that will likely look for the next star in the post-Chase Young era. Both teams can probably face a defeat and still reach the CFP, but the loser’s error rate will be razor-thin for the rest of the season.

3. Alabama at LSU, November 7: The battle between the Tigers and Crimson Tide has had a major impact on the SEC West and national title races over the past decade. But for the first time since the BCS National Championship Game 2012, it will be the Crimson Tide with vengeance in mind. Both teams across the board have questions that lead into the season, but those who answered more of them until they start in Death Valley have insight into the SEC championship game.

2. Clemson in Notre Dame, November 7th: The Tigers and the Fighting Irish in South Bend during a rematch of the Cotton Bowl National Semifinals two seasons ago? Sign me up for proof of eligibility for this. Brian Kelly has led the Fighting Irish to double-digit wins in four of the last five seasons. So save me the joke “Notre Dame is overrated”. You will enter this game with playoff hopes behind quarterback Ian Book and can make a big statement against the mighty tigers. In the meantime, this could be the crowning glory of Clemson’s quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s Heisman Trophy if he has long been on the road in the biggest game in South Bend.

1. Georgia in Alabama, September 19: The last two encounters between these two heavyweights were barn burners: Alabama’s walk-off win in the national title game three seasons ago and the 2018 SEC championship game, which served de facto as the national quarter-finals. Mac Jones has the inside experience to win the quarterback starting job for the Crimson Tide, and Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman is likely to be on the biggest stage of his life for the Bulldogs in week 3. Buckle up. This will have a ripple effect across the college football world.




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