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Let the games begin

September 2, 2009 - Steve Murch
Anyone who knows me knows that we are at that time of the year I love best – college football season, which kicks off in earnest tomorrow. The NFL is fine and I enjoy it, but give me a weekend full of college football and I'm in pigskin heaven. Some of the lower divisions started last week, but this week is the big boys.

Since I was off for a few days, I'll catch up onthe weekly top 10 with the 10 games I'm looking forward to the most. Sorry Michigan State fans, hosting Montana State isn't high on the anticipation meter.

10. Miami at Florida State: This game is a great rivalry game and it kicks off conference play in the ACC, which is too bad since no teams should have to play a conference foe right out of the gate. Though not a great fan of either team, I enjoy intense rivalry games.

9. Illinois vs. Missouri in St. Louis: I like this game because it's a border battle on a neutral field. Though Missouri is down, the Tigers have easily handled Illinois the last couple of years. No Chase Daniel could mean the Illini roll.

8. Mississippi at Memphis: This an underrated rivalry and is a traditional Labor Day weekend game. The Rebels are highly rated this year after surprising everyone last year. I like Houston Nutt and think he got a raw deal at Arkansas, but Ole Miss snuck up on people last year, which they won't do this year. The Rebels should win this one on the road, but stranger things have happened.

7. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama: Last year Alabama rolled over Clemson in this game played at the Georgia Dome. This year the Hokies are the ACC team to play the Tide. Tech has a boat load of key players back, while Bama has some holes to fill.

6. Central Michigan at Arizona: Be forewarned, the Chips could win this one in the desert. The Wildcats are down and CMU has a potent offense. If they defense is improved from last year, this one could be a fun one to watch.

5. Nevada at Notre Dame: Is this really the Fighting Irish's year to make some noise? Some don't think so (the recent billboard in South Bend makes that clear), while others are projecting them as a sleeper for the national championship. Nevada doesn't play much defense, which should help ND, but the offense could give the Irish fits.

4. Western Michigan at Michigan: Forget the recent accusations thrown at Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines can't afford to start their third straight season with a loss to a non-BCS school at home. The Broncos have a tremendous QB, which could spell a long afternoon for U-M.

3. BYU at Oklahoma: The Sooners are one of the favorites to play for the national championship, while the Cougars are looking to play spoiler. Utah made a magical run at a BCS game last year, so why not in-state rival BYU this year? If the Cougars are to do it, they have to win in a tough place for opponents.

2. Georgia at Oklahoma State: The post-Matthew Stafford era begins for Georgia, while OSU has dreams of a Big 12 title. If you're looking for a non-quarterback as a Heisman Trophy candidate, look no further than the Cowboys WR Dez Bryant. The Big 12 needs and OSU win over an SEC opponent to quiet the critics.

1. Oregon at Boise State: The blue turf in Boise seems to have a magical quality. It doesn't hurt that the Broncos have been a quality team. Oregon has its sights set on the Pac 10 title, which would give it a BCS game. The Ducks can't afford a non-conference loss if the BCS game is a shot at a national title. If BSU wins the road to BCS game is a lot smoother.

Let the games begin, and it's only week 1.


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