Although the 2019 college football season may be in the books, the work to prepare for the 2020 season has already been underway for weeks. From coaching changes to player transfers and ongoing recruiting efforts, the offseason rarely has a day off. And before you know it, spring football practices will be underway.
If you have already taken a look at the 2020 college football schedule, you know we have some good games coming our way. The defending national champions form LSU will have some good tests on their hands with home games against Texas and Alabama and a road game at Florida. Clemson will still be mostly unchallenged, but a road trip to Notre Dame is worth keeping on the radar for a variety of reasons.
Regular contenders like Ohio State and Georgia will have their hands full on the road with the Buckeyes playing at Oregon and Penn State this season and Georgia making a trip to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. And that's just getting started.
Here is a look at the top 25 games coming up during the 2020 college football season.
1. Ohio State at Oregon, Sept. 12
The defending Big Ten and Pac-12 champions collide in Week 2 for a possible Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff preview.
2. Alabama at LSU, Nov. 7
A rare revenge game for Alabama, this time against the defending national champs in Baton Rouge.
3. Florida vs. Georgia, Oct. 31 (Jacksonville, Fla.)
The Bulldogs have ruled the SEC East the last few years, but Florida is closing the gap and ready to make their push back to the top of the division. SEC and playoff implications are likely on the line.
4. Georgia at Alabama, Sept. 19
Speaking of Georgia and Alabama, they’ll actually play in the regular season in mid-September. It could be an early preview of the SEC Championship Game as Nick Saban looks to remain perfect against former assistants (Kirby Smart).
5. Texas at LSU, Sept. 12
Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns couldn’t keep up the pace against the Tigers last season. Can Texas score a major victory on the road in the second part of this home-and-home series?
6. Ohio State at Penn State, Oct. 24
Expect whiteout conditions in Happy Valley. No team in the Big Ten has played Ohio State as closely as the Nittany Lions the last few years, and the winner could potentially sit in the driver’s seat to the Big Ten East crown.
7. LSU at Florida, Oct. 10
LSU heads to The Swamp as Dan Mullen and the Gators look to take a bite out of the defending SEC and national champs.
8. Auburn at Georgia, Oct. 10
Georgia and Auburn have had some great games over the years, and Bo Nix and the Tigers hope to score a big road victory to help remain a contender.
9. Alabama vs. USC, Sept. 5 (Arlington, Texas)
Alabama looks to set the tone for a national championship run in its season opener in Arlington. USC QB Kedon Slovis hopes to stand in the Tide’s way.
10. Clemson at Notre Dame, Nov. 7
Playoff implications in South Bend in November? That should be the case for Clemson and could be the case for the Fighting Irish as well if things go well.
11. Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 28
The Game has been knocked down a few pegs with Ohio State dominating the rivalry lately. Jim Harbaugh once again looks to get his first win against the rival Buckeyes. Holding Ohio State to fewer than 50 points may be a good starting point.
12. Auburn at Alabama, Nov. 28
The Iron Bowl could be the game that decides the SEC West champion, with the winner moving on to Atlanta for a shot at the SEC title.
13. Penn State at Michigan
Home-field advantage has been a major factor in this series in the last few years. Advantage, Michigan?
14. Michigan at Washington, Sept. 5
The Wolverines and Huskies open the season in Seattle for a fun Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup. Both programs could use a nice statement to open the year.
15. Minnesota at Wisconsin (Oct. 10)
The road team has celebrated a victory each of the past two seasons. P.J. Fleck’s Gophers look to take another step toward their goal of playing for the Big Ten title. Beating Wisconsin would be a big step toward that goal.
16. USC at Oregon, Nov. 7
A matchup that could be a preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game could also carry playoff implications for Oregon and the Pac-12.
17. Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame, Oct. 3 (Green Bay, Wis.)
The Badgers and Irish square off on historic Lambeau Field in early October. A loss could be a playoff eliminator, if not a near-fatal blow to any shot at the playoff.
18. USC at Utah, Oct. 2
First place in the Pac-12 South could be up for grabs as the Trojans head to Salt Lake City for this key division game in early October.
19. Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
The Bearcats could use a nice road win against a Big Ten program to boost their profile for a possible spot in a New Year's Six bowl game. Scott Frost and Nebraska are just looking to avoid a tough loss at home that could come back to haunt them.
20. Wisconsin at Iowa, Nov. 28
The Badgers and Hawkeyes will meet in the regular-season finale, and the winner could be heading to Indianapolis as the Big Ten West champion. Expect plenty of defense in this one.
21. Louisville at Clemson, Sept. 12
Clemson had no problem with the Cardinals last season, and the gap may still be overwhelming in 2020. But Louisville is a program that is trending in the right direction. Clemson is the ultimate litmus test for Scott Satterfield’s team.
22. Wisconsin at Michigan, Sept. 26
The Badgers humiliated Michigan last year. Doing so again in Ann Arbor will be a tough task at the end of September.
23. Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 10 (Dallas)
The Red River Showdown is always a big one, but the possibility of seeing a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game with a spot in the playoff on the table hurts the relative significance of this rivalry game.
24. Cincinnati at UCF, TBA
Nobody is forgetting about Memphis in the AAC, but Cincinnati and UCF are the top two contenders in the AAC East. A win here throws either the Bearcats or the Knights into a solid position in the Group of 5 race to the New Year's Six.
25. Baylor at Oklahoma, Oct. 3
A new head coach for Baylor. A new starting quarterback for Oklahoma. We’ll have a month to evaluate both, but Oklahoma should thrive with the home-field advantage in this one.
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Patreon, on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)