Early Look at the Top 25 College Football Games of 2019

Trevor Lawrence and Clemson will welcome Texas A&M to Death Valley in early September

The memories of the 2018 college football season are still fresh for many, but it is never too early to begin looking forward to the '19 campaign. With a number of good matchups to look forward to next fall, how could you not start looking over the schedules and picking out the games you are most looking forward to seeing play out?

 

It will not be shocking to see defending national champion Clemson start the year with a high ranking and high expectations for another run to the College Football Playoff. The Tigers will get a good early test in a non-conference matchup with Texas A&M after a close call in College Station last season. The Aggies will find themselves involved in a number of key games next season with games against SEC West foes Alabama and Auburn as well as a crossover division matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs. Will the Aggies scratch together enough wins to make their own playoff case under Jimbo Fisher?

 

The Texas Longhorns are also looking to take a giant step forward after a big victory in the Sugar Bowl and playing for the Big 12 championship last fall. The Red River Rivalry with Oklahoma is arguably the game of the year looking ahead to the 2019 season considering the stakes that could be on the line in the Big 12 and, potentially, in the playoff discussion. And in the Pac-12, the Oregon Ducks are hoping to flap their wings with some more pride. They'll have to earn it with a neutral field showdown with Auburn and road trips to Washington and Stanford in division play.

 

The 2019 season will begin with a handful of interesting matchups on neutral fields, and the first month of the season will offer more games that will help determine early playoff race positioning as well as some conference bragging rights. Those early contests will also allow us a chance to see if offseason hype was worth the energy for a couple of teams that ended the 2018 season on a high note or if it will be back to the drawing board.

 

Here is a look at the top 25 games of the 2019 college football season we will be looking forward to seeing next fall.

 

  Game Date Location
1. Oct. 12 Dallas

The Sooners and Longhorns will battle for the upper hand in the Big 12 race, but this year’s game may carry some College Football Playoff implications like never before.

2. Sept. 7 Clemson, SC

The Tigers escaped College Station with a thrilling win last season. Can the Aggies push Clemson to the limit once again?

3. Oct. 12 College Station, TX

We’ll know after this game if Texas A&M is a legitimate SEC contender or if Alabama will once again by waltzing to another possible SEC West crown.

4. Sept. 21 Athens, GA

Expect plenty of playoff hype with this one. Georgia players mocked Notre Dame’s playoff appearance against Clemson and can take care of the Irish themselves in September.

5. Nov. 2 Jacksonville, FL

First place in the SEC East race should be on the line as the Gators look to topple the Bulldogs in Jacksonville for a statement win.

6. Nov. 30 Ann Arbor, MI

This is already being seen as Jim Harbaugh’s best shot to crack the Buckeyes. A spot in the Big Ten Championship Game could be on the line once again too.

7. Nov. 30 Auburn, AL

Never underestimate the Iron Bowl, especially when the game is being played at Auburn. The SEC West Division could be on the line if the Tigers can avoid slipping up prior to this one.

8. Oct. 19 Seattle

The game of the year in the Pac-12 with Oregon likely on the rise and Washington looking for revenge after last season’s overtime victory by the Ducks.

9. Nov. 23 Athens, GA

A crossover SEC contest could carry make-or-break stakes for both Texas A&M and Georgia in their respective division races. A loss could do some serious damage.

10. Nov. 16 Auburn, AL

Auburn topped Georgia at home two years ago. Can the Tigers score another wild home victory over the Bulldogs this fall to shake up the SEC and playoff picture?

11. Sept. 7 Austin, TX

After proclaiming to be back, Texas gets an early test at home from LSU in a good opportunity for a statement game. On the other side, a win by the Tigers would fuel their own aspirations.

12. Aug. 31 Arlington, TX

The season kicks off with Oregon looking for a big win against Auburn in Arlington. It’s not exactly a BCS title game rematch, but a win would be big for either team.

13. Aug. 31 Orlando, FL

Manny Diaz makes his Miami head coaching debut against the Gators in Orlando. Can Dan Mullen keep Florida on top in this in-state showdown?

14. Oct. 26 Ann Arbor, MI

Notre Dame handled Michigan in South Bend last year, but this mid-season matchup in Ann Arbor could once again carry some playoff stakes with it.

15. Sept. 14 Syracuse, NY

The Orange came close to upsetting Clemson last season, and the Tigers rolled ever since to a national title. Can Syracuse pull the upset in the dome like it did two years ago?

16. Nov. 23 Columbus, OH

This matchup has had some massive weight on it the past two years. Time will tell if this late-November meeting will have the same importance in 2019. Buy low on this one.

17. Sept. 21 Stanford, CA

After imploding at home against Stanford last season, Oregon will look for revenge in Palo Alto in a good early Pac-12 North matchup between expected contenders.

18. Sept. 21 College Station, TX

If it feels like Auburn and Texas A&M are going to be involved in a bunch of big games this season, that’s because they just may be. They’ll collide in a pivotal SEC West game in mid-September.

19. Oct. 19 University Park, PA

The home teams have clobbered the visitors in the last three meetings. Can Penn State keep that trend going or will the Wolverines flex some muscle on the road?

20. Nov. 9 Madison, WI

The Big Ten West could be pretty wide open this fall, and this November game in Madison could determine which team gains an inside track to the conference championship game.

21. Nov. 23 Madison, WI

Don’t forget about Purdue. The Boilermakers could play a key role in how that Big Ten West plays out. If they’re not in the race, they could play spoiler in any given game.

22. Sept. 14 Orlando, FL

After two straight undefeated regular seasons, UCF is still playing with a chip on their shoulder. The Knights will host Stanford for a chance to score a nice victory to boost their profile later on.

23. Aug. 31 Jacksonville, FL

Boise State makes a trip to Florida to face a Florida State program that still feels ripe for the picking. Can the Broncos score a nice win in the Sunshine State or will the Seminoles begin turning things around to open the season?

24. Sept. 13 Houston

Dana Holgorsen goes head-to-head with Mike Leach. If that doesn’t get you excited, what will?

25. TBA Orlando, FL

In what could be a preview of the AAC Championship Game, expect UCF and Houston to have a showdown that could eliminate at least one team form the entire Group of 5 race to a New Year's Six bowl game.

 

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and The Comeback as well as hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.

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