Clemson will enter the 2017 season as college football's reigning national champion, but it’s the Tigers’ division rival, Florida State, along with — dare we say — Clemson’s national title game rival, Alabama, who have the game to watch in 2017. And fortunately for us all, we won’t have to wait all that long to see this potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.
But the Seminoles-Crimson Tide clash in Week 1 is just one of many high-profile games we’re anxious to see. And yes, Clemson finds itself featured in plenty of those contests — from its annual face offs with FSU, and Louisville, to less familiar opponents like Auburn and Virginia Tech.
Next season will bring us no shortage of interesting inter-conference matchups, but four of our top five games to watch will be between familiar faces. And if 2016 was any indication — especially in the Big Ten — you just never know which game may end up mattering than most.
Really, Really, Ridiculously Early 2017 Top 25
With that, here are the top must-see college football games of 2017. Start planning your fall weekends now.
Best of the Rest:
26. Washington at Colorado (TBA)
27. Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Nov. 4)
28. Tennessee at Alabama (Oct. 21)
29. Florida vs. Michigan (Sept. 2)
30. Stanford at USC (TBA)
31. Clemson at South Carolina (Nov. 25)
32. USC at Notre Dame (Oct. 21)
33. Florida State at Florida (Nov. 25)
34. Michigan State at Michigan (Oct. 7)
35. USC at Colorado (TBA)
36. Notre Dame at Miami (Nov. 11)
37. Wisconsin at BYU (Sept. 16)
38. Tulsa at Oklahoma State (Sept. 2)
39. BYU vs. LSU (Sept. 2)
40. Wisconsin at Minnesota (Nov. 25)
41. Tulsa at USF (TBA)
42. Louisville at North Carolina (TBA)
43. Oregon at Stanford (TBA)
44. Utah at BYU (Sept. 9)
45. Nebraska at Oregon (Sept. 9)
46. TCU at Arkansas (Sept. 9)
47. Notre Dame at Stanford (Nov. 25)
48. Western Michigan at USC (Sept. 2)
49. Navy at Florida Atlantic (Sept. 2)
50. Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio) (Sept. 16)
— Written by Matt Fortuna, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and spent six seasons covering college football for ESPN.com. Fortuna’s work has been honored by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) seven times. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_Fortuna and like his Facebook page.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)