Here at RM Sports, we are going to start a little countdown over the coming days that will provide fans a glimpse into the upcoming college football season.
We’ll take the initial Top-25 rankings and break down in groups of five the game that matters the most to each team at this point in the year.
The season official kicks off on August 29, so let’s get going…….
No. 25 Oregon State
For the Beavers and those in the state of Oregon, the only real game that matters is dubbed the “Civil War.”
Oregon will visit Corvallis on November 29 – a Friday evening – for the annual encounter.
While the Ducks have been in the role of national title contender, Oregon State has enjoyed great success, as well.
With 11 games to be played before that expected night, a lot can happen. But, even if these two teams were not fighting for Pac-12 titles and likely bowl games, it would still mean the most.
No. 24 Southern Cal
There was a time when all USC games before the Notre Dame contest were nothing more than glorified scrimmages.
However, Pete Carroll isn’t walking through that door anytime soon, so things get interesting from the start.
The Trojans and Lane Kiffin will leave the mainland for a contest with Hawaii in Week 1.
Yes, USC should roll past the Warriors and former Trojan assistant Norm Chow, but this is a big-time test for a team with a new QB and plenty of holes.
Heck, Heisman contender Marqise Lee is already hurt, so who knows what happens over the next few days.
No. 23 Wisconsin
For the first time in years, the Badgers will be breaking in a new coach, as Bret Bielema has departed for Arkansas.
The opening weeks should prove no test for new head coach Gary Anderson, as Wisconsin welcomes Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech.
Week 3, though, will see Bucky head out West for a late-night encounter vs. Arizona State. The Sun Devils are no prime-time contender, but they play well at home.
Add in the long travel, the new players and this has all the makings of a true test for Anderson, Wisconsin and the Big Ten.
No. 22 Northwestern
In terms of smarts, there is no denying what the Wildcats have.
The decision made by school officials to schedule a road game with California right out of the gates, though, may not have been the smartest.
Like Wisconsin before them, Northwestern will be playing a late game (expected kickoff at 10:30 PM ET) in an unfriendly stadium and with several new players in key positions.
After a 10-win season a year ago, many are expecting much of the same from head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s crew, but they will be tested in Week 1.
No. 21 UCLA
Brett Hundley has all the makings of a star, as the Bruin quarterback put together a 3,700-plus yard season a year ago.
After a likely high-scoring affair with Nevada in Week 1, Hundley and UCLA will hit the road to Lincoln and meet Nebraska in an tough test.
Speed will be in the corner of the Bruins, but the size and strength of the Cornhuskers might just be too much to overcome.
Check back later for the rest of the Top-20 teams.