It was a September to remember in college football with stunning upsets, fantastic finishes, and plenty of memorable games throughout. And all that sets the stage for what should be an equally, if not more, entertaining October.
Not only does every team have three or more games under their belts now, the schedule shifts toward conference play, which means the matchups arguably carry even more significance. That's especially the case with more attention being paid to bowl projections and talk about which teams will make the College Football Playoff.
Here's a list of the 10 games in October that we definitely think you should keep circled on your calendar.
10. Kentucky at Tennessee – Oct. 29
It's just one month, but both Kentucky and Tennessee enter October undefeated and with a win over Florida. That means that their showdown in Knoxville at the end of October could have a lot riding on it, especially if both teams keep winning. It also sets up even higher stakes for the victorious team since both the Volunteers (Nov. 5) and Wildcats (Nov. 19) still have to face Georgia.
9. Alabama at Arkansas – Oct. 1
Arkansas' loss last Saturday to Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic takes some of the steam out of this matchup, but it won't be hard for the Razorbacks to regroup for a visit from Alabama. There's also the matter of trying to put an end to the Crimson Tide's 15-game winning streak in the series. (The NCAA says 14 because Alabama had to vacate its win back in 2007, but you get the picture.)
8. Alabama at Tennessee – Oct. 15
The Third Saturday in October has not gone well for Tennessee, but could that change this season? Although Alabama has beaten the Volunteers 15 straight years, many of those wins being routs (52-24 last season), this Tennessee team has already shown its mettle by knocking off Florida. We still have to wait a few weeks for this game, but it's possible that this will be a top-10 showdown.
7. Florida vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Fla.) – Oct. 29
Georgia got payback for 2020's loss last season, but Florida can really rock the national title picture if the Gators win this year's edition of the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Bulldogs have looked every bit the part of defending national champions so far while Florida started the season on a high but ended September with two straight losses to SEC East rivals.
6. Oklahoma State at Baylor – Oct. 1
A rematch of last season's Big 12 Championship Game, which went down to the wire, is enough to get this game on this list. Then there's the fact that both are ranked in the top 20 and went a combined 6-1 in September. Waco hasn't been a kind place for Oklahoma State to travel to under head coach Mike Gundy, although the Cowboys' 2020 win snapped a four-game losing streak on Baylor's turf.
5. Ohio State at Penn State – Oct. 29
Depending on how Penn State's game at Michigan goes two weeks prior (see below), this year's visit from Ohio State to Happy Valley could mean more than just setting up the race in the Big Ten East for the final month of the season. Even if both teams aren't undefeated for this matchup, it takes away little from a divisional rivalry that has been dominated recently by the Buckeyes (five straight wins).
4. Penn State at Michigan – Oct. 15
Barring an upset, both teams should be undefeated heading into this showdown in Ann Arbor. That means the winner of this game emerges with the upper hand in the Big Ten East standings and will be included in the conversation about early College Football Playoff contenders. These two have split their last six meetings, with Penn State winning the last time they met in Big House (27-17 in 2020).
3. NC State at Clemson – Oct. 1
After surviving Wake Forest in double overtime last Saturday, Clemson now has an opportunity to get some payback against NC State. The Wolfpack defeated the Tigers in double overtime in Raleigh last season but haven't won in Death Valley since 2002 (0-8 in that span). This top-10 matchup between undefeated teams will anoint the ACC's leading contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
2. USC at Utah– Oct. 15
It's the defending Pac-12 champions hosting the team everyone keeps talking about. Utah has fared just fine since losing a close one at Florida to start the season while USC has handled every test thus far, even if it hasn't been with flying colors (see: Oregon State last Saturday). Next up for Lincoln Riley and the Trojans — taking on the Utes in Salt Lake City.
1. Texas A&M at Alabama – Oct. 8
Forget about Texas A&M losing to Appalachian State a couple of weeks ago or Alabama's close call at Texas that same day. This is still a game that will decide how the SEC West is won, and then some. There's also the matter of the Crimson Tide wanting some payback against the Aggies for last season's loss in College Station. And you don't think Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have forgotten about everything that was said and went down during the summer do you?
Don't Forget About:
- Oregon State at Utah – Oct. 1
- BYU vs. Notre Dame (Las Vegas) – Oct. 8
- Arkansas at BYU – Oct. 15
- LSU at Florida – Oct. 15
- Minnesota at Penn State – Oct. 22
- Texas at Oklahoma State – Oct. 22
- Cincinnati at UCF – Oct. 29
- Michigan State at Michigan – Oct. 29
- Ole Miss at Texas A&M– Oct. 29