A year ago this time, no one would have predicted a Thanksgiving weekend game between Missouri and Kansas would wind up one of the most highly viewed of the season. Or that USC’s game against Stanford would carry greater implications than its subsequent trip to Cal.
But who are we kidding? We’re college football fans. We’re still going to circle certain games on the calendar months before their arrival with the anticipation that these showdowns will carry monumental stakes by the time they’re played.
Here are 10 potentially season-defining games in 2008:
1. Ohio State at USC, Sept. 13. This showdown of likely top five teams is as much about credibility as anything. After consecutive BCS title game whitewashings, the Buckeyes desperately need a win, or at least a down-to-the-wire finish, to show they’re capable of competing at the highest level. New Trojans starting QB Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, will be under the prime-time spotlight.
2. Florida vs. Georgia, Nov. 1. While the annual Cocktail Party in Jacksonville is always a huge deal for Dawgs and Gators fans, rarely has it garnered the type of national attention that will likely surround the game should both teams maintain their hold in the national-title race. Florida has won 15 of the past 18 meetings, but Georgia seemed to break the hex with an emotional 42-30 win last season.