Early Look at the Top 25 College Football Games of 2018

With four marquee matchups on tap, Gus Malzahn's Auburn Tigers could have a big say in how the College Football Playoff field shapes up next season

When the 2018 college football season begins, it will do so in familiar fashion with Alabama kicking off a new year as the defending champions and everyone else trying to catch up. Naturally, the Crimson Tide will be involved in a number of games that will play an instrumental role in how the 2018 season will play out as Alabama once again opens with an intriguing matchup on a neutral field and a handful of noteworthy clashes in the SEC.


Of course, there will be other contenders worth keeping an eye on next fall, such as Urban Meyer's talented Ohio State team, and they will have their challenges ahead of them. New coaches looking to get settled in and have a major impact right away make for some entertaining storylines to follow next fall as well, including Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M and Chip Kelly at UCLA.


College football’s opening weekend in 2018 may not have quite the same magnitude as the start of the 2017 season had, but it is once again a terrific starting point for the season with some good contests to get us rolling. The biggest and most pivotal games, however, will come in November.


Here is a look at the top 25 games of the 2018 college football season to look forward to, for those who like to plan ahead.


  Game Date Location
1. Nov. 23 Morgantown, WV

A possible preview of the Big 12 Championship Game that will be played the following week.

2. Sept. 29 State College, PA

Buckeyes and Nittany Lions play a key Big Ten East game earlier this season, and PSU has revenge on the mind.

3. Nov. 10 Athens, GA

Could SEC Championship Game rematch be another conference title game preview?

4. Nov. 24 Tuscaloosa, AL

Defending champs look for payback against Tigers after suffering only loss in Iron Bowl last season.

5. Sept. 15 Austin, TX

The Longhorns came close to clipping the Trojans in Los Angeles last fall. A win here would be good for Tom Herman.

6. Oct. 13 Baton Rouge, LA

A potential make-or-break game in SEC cross-divisional play for the Tigers and Bulldogs.

7. Sept. 1 Atlanta, GA

Chris Petersen takes Washington to Atlanta, where Auburn will play its third straight game.

8. Sept. 2 Arlington, Texas

Miami made some noise in 2017 but could use a jump-start on the big stage in 2018.

9. Sept. 8 College Station, TX

New Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher squares off against a familiar opponent with Dabo Swinney and the Tigers coming to town.

10. Oct. 6 Dallas, TX

Another statement game opportunity for the Longhorns. Can they slow down Oklahoma enough?

11. Nov. 10 East Lansing, MI

Another key Big Ten East battle (there will be more).

12. Sept. 15 Auburn, AL

In the middle of September, one Tigers team looks to get a jump in the SEC West.

13. Nov. 17 Pasadena, CA

Chip Kelly’s first crack against his new crosstown rival. Could it be a big one in the Pac-12 South?

14. Sept. 15 Columbus, OH

Buckeyes welcome the Horned Frogs in mid-September for a key Big 12 vs. Big Ten matchup of teams with conference championship aspirations.

15. Sept. 8 Norman, OK

Defending Big 12 champs look to give Chip Kelly a rude welcome back to college football.

16. Oct. 20 East Lansing, MI

Pressure is on for Jim Harbaugh this season. A second straight loss to Sparty would not go over too well.

17. Nov. 3 Eugene, OR

Chip Kelly’s long-awaited return to Autzen Stadium alone is worth following here.

18. Sept. 22 Tuscaloosa, AL

Nick Saban hopes to improve to 13-0 against his former assistants (he beat Jimbo Fisher last year too).

19. Sept. 29 Starkville, MS

Dan Mullen makes his return to Starkville, and Joe Moorhead hopes to spoil the homecoming.

20. Nov. 17 Blacksburg, VA

Expect this one to play a pivotal role in how the ACC Coastal Division is won once again.

21. Oct. 13 State College, PA

Another revenge game at home for Penn State in a key Big Ten East battle.

22. Oct. 20 Fort Worth, TX

TCU is always going to be tough to beat, especially at home in a Big 12 Championship Game rematch.

23. Nov. 24 Columbus, OH

Buckeyes could be playing for a College Football Playoff spot while heat will certainly be on Jim Harbaugh once again.

24. Nov. 3 Ann Arbor, MI

The home team has dominated the last two meetings. Can Wolverines score an upset against Nittany Lions?

25. Nov. 10 State College, PA

Stakes could be high in a potential Big Ten Championship Game preview. Could College Football Playoff positioning be on the line in addition to Big Ten division races?


— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also writes for CollegeFootballTalk.com and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.

Event Date: 
Monday, January 15, 2018 - 01:16

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