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College Football's Top 50 Must-See Games of 2017


The college football season began last weekend with a nice appetizer of five games that featured at least one FBS team. This week, the season begins in earnest with a full slate of games, headlined by four matchups on our list of the top 50 games of the 2017 season — Florida State-Alabama in Atlanta, Michigan-Florida in Arlington, Texas, Virginia Tech-West Virginia in Landover, Md., and Tennessee-Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

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These, however, are just four of the great games that you need to put on your calendar for the upcoming season. It was a difficult task, but we managed to trim our list to 50. Here it is.

1. Alabama at Auburn (Nov. 25)

The Iron Bowl rivals Ohio State vs. Michigan as the top rivalry in college football (maybe all sports), and the stakes could be enormous when Alabama and Auburn meet at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Thanksgiving weekend. A trip to the SEC Championship Game — and a subsequent CFB Playoff invite — could be on the line.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Auburn
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Alabama

Fun fact: Auburn has scored one touchdown (total) in its last two games against Alabama.   

2. Florida State at Clemson (Nov. 11)

This Atlantic Division showdown has passed Alabama-LSU as the most impactful game in college football. Consider the following: This winner has advanced to either the BCS National Championship Game (Florida State in 2013) or the CFB Playoff (Florida State in ’14, Clemson in ’15, ’16) in each of the last four seasons.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Clemson
College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU

Fun fact: Florida State won its first 11 games against Clemson after joining the ACC in 1992 but has since lost eight of the last 14 in the series. 

3. Penn State at Ohio State (Oct. 28)

Penn State’s 2016 season took a dramatic turn for the better when the Nittany Lions rallied to beat Ohio State (6-0 at the time) 24-21 in Happy Valley. Now, the two Big Ten East powers meet in Columbus in a game that should have CFB Playoff ramifications. Penn State hosts Michigan the previous week. Ohio State will be coming off a bye. Advantage Buckeyes.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Ohio State
College Football Top 25: Penn State

Fun fact: Penn State has not scored more than 24 points against Ohio State since beating the Bucks 29-27 in 2001.

4. Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 25)

This rivalry has been ratcheted up a few notches — if that was possible — in recent years thanks to the arrival of Urban Meyer in Columbus and Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. Harbaugh is 13-4 in the Big Ten in his two seasons at Michigan, but two of those four losses came against Ohio State. He has an approval rating of approximately 99.5 percent among Michigan fans; it won’t be 100 percent until he knocks off Ohio State.

College Football Top 25: Michigan
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Ohio State

Fun fact:Urban Meyer is 13-2 vs. his school’s biggest rival as a head coach (5-0 vs. Michigan, 5-1 vs. Florida State, 2-0 vs. BYU, 1-1 vs. Toledo).

5. Alabama vs. Florida State (Sept. 2 in Atlanta)

Some might argue that this game — featuring the Nos. 1 and 3 teams in several preseason polls — should be No. 1 on this list. Others might argue that the game doesn’t really mean much because the loser will have ample opportunity to play its way back into the Playoff picture.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: FSU
College Football Top 25 Rankings: Alabama

Fun fact: Alabama has not lost a regular-season game to a non-SEC opponent since 2007. The team that beat the Tide: Florida State.