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10 College Football Games to Look Forward to This September

Defending national champion Georgia has two marquee matchups in the first month of the season.

September not only signals the unofficial end of summer, it also helps usher in a new season of college football. Yes, there was a Week Zero but it only feature 11 games last Saturday compared to the 83 that will be played starting Thursday and running through Monday night. And what day is Thursday, you ask? That's right, Sept. 1.

Related: Ranking All 83 College Football Games in Week 1

So with college football back on everyone's radar and a part of weekend plans, which are the biggest games to look forward to in September? We're glad you asked.

10. Cincinnati at Arkansas – Sept. 3

Cincinnati lost a lot of NFL-caliber talent from last season's team that made the College Football Playoff, but that doesn't mean these Bearcats aren't a threat to return to a New Year's Six bowl. Arkansas is coming off a nice season in its own right, finishing 9-4 and beating Penn State in the Outback Bowl, but the Razorbacks need to make a strong opening statement if they are going to be taken seriously as a potential threat in the rugged SEC West.

9. Oklahoma at Nebraska – Sept. 17

Nebraska's season got off to a gut-wrenching start with a close loss to Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland. Scott Frost was already feeling the pressure before that game and the temperature of his seat is only going to increase. This home game with an Oklahoma team represents a golden opportunity for the Cornhuskers to right the ship, and remember they played the Sooners very close last season in Norman. On the other side, new head coach Brent Venables and a remade roster would love to show the nation that despite all the changes, it's still business as usual with OU.

8. Georgia at South Carolina – Sept. 17

Defending national champion Georgia lost a lot from its roster, but talent is not an issue for Kirby Smart's team. South Carolina is eager to show how far it's come under Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks will get a golden opportunity to do so at home. This also will serve as a showcase for new starting quarterback Spencer Rattler, the Oklahoma transfer who was a Heisman favorite entering last season before losing his job to freshman Caleb Williams (who is now at USC).

7. Penn State at Auburn – Sept. 17

These two teams played each other in Happy Valley last season, a game Penn State won 28-20. Auburn gets to return the favor on The Plains, and a signature win is something embattled head coach Bryan Harsin desperately needs. James Franklin's Nittany Lions have been a .500 team over the past two seasons, so this represents an opportunity for both high-profile programs to make an early statement.

6. Miami at Texas A&M – Sept. 17

Miami got its guy as native son Mario Cristobal left Oregon to return home to take over a Hurricanes program that's looking to return to national prominence. Texas A&M knows all about lofty expectations, and there's even more pressure on Jimbo Fisher and Co. to not only go toe-to-toe with Alabama and the best the SEC has to offer, but also make a strong case for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

5. Florida State vs. LSU (New Orleans) – Sept. 4

Florida State waltzed past FCS Duquesne in its opener last Saturday, but now a much tougher test awaits, facing LSU in the Big Easy on Sunday night of Week 1. New Tigers head coach Brian Kelly gets to make his debut in a de facto home game, but that doesn't mean the fan base will grant him much of a honeymoon period. FSU head coach Mike Norvell could use a signature win while Kelly really doesn't want to disappoint his new "family" in his LSU debut.

4. Alabama at Texas – Sept. 10

The eyes of Texas and the rest of the nation will be on Austin for this one with Alabama paying a visit to the Lone Star State to face the Longhorns. Steve Sarkisian vs. former boss Nick Saban is just one of the intriguing subplots to this game. The quarterback matchup between reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and Quinn Ewers, the No. 1 overall recruit in the class of 2021 who hails from Texas before signing with Ohio State and then transferring, is another. But the main thing everyone will be watching to see is if the Longhorns can show they are finally "back" by giving the mighty Crimson Tide a scare (if not more).

3. Utah at Florida – Sept. 3

Utah is the defending Pac-12 champion, but the Utes are hungry for more. This season opener in the Swamp against Florida gives Kyle Whittingham's team an opportunity to make a huge statement for themselves and their conference. Meanwhile, the Gators are starting fresh under Billy Napier, but there's no easing into things for him and his team, not with Kentucky on tap after Utah and a road trip to Tennessee also on the September slate.

Related: College Football Teams with the Toughest September Schedules

2. Oregon vs. Georgia (Atlanta) – Sept. 3

Before Georgia can worry about South Carolina, the Bulldogs will have to solve Oregon. The Ducks have a new head coach and starting quarterback, but both are familiar faces to Kirby Smart and Co. Former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning is the new man in charge at Oregon while former Auburn signal-caller Bo Nix will be under center. The two know not to expect a warm welcome from the Bulldogs, who are eager to prove they are still the team to beat for the national title, and certainly don't want to lose in their own backyard.

1. Notre Dame at Ohio State – Sept. 3

Arguably the biggest game of the entire season happens in Week 1. Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman's regular-season debut comes on the road against his alma mater. Ohio State doesn't figure to be polite hosts, not with the Buckeyes' sights set on reclaiming the Big Ten title and getting back to the College Football Playoff. This also gives quarterback C.J. Stroud a marquee matchup right out of the gate to start building his Heisman Trophy résumé.

Don't Forget About:

  • Baylor at BYU – Sept. 10
  • Kentucky at Florida – Sept. 10
  • Tennessee at Pitt – Sept. 10
  • BYU at Oregon – Sept. 17
  • West Virginia at Virginia Tech – Sept. 22
  • Florida at Tennessee – Sept. 24
  • Wisconsin at Ohio State – Sept. 24

Podcast: Week 1 Preview and Predictions + Betting and Picks Against the Spread