2012 College Football Preseason Rankings – Top 5 Conference Games: Is there anything better in college football than a meeting between two great teams from the same conference? The fans hate each other, the coaches hate each other, and both sides want nothing more than to ruin the conference title, and in some cases national title, dreams of their rival. Throw in the fact that both teams know the strengths and weaknesses of the other inside and out, and it is no wonder that conference rivalry games tend to produce some of the most-memorable moments in college football. With that in mind, here is a look at the top conference matchups for the upcoming college football season.
2012 College Football Rankings: Top 5 Conference Games
1. Alabama at LSU, November 3
Are you ready for the rematch of the rematch? After the Tigers nipped the Crimson Tide in overtime in the regular season last year thanks to several missed field goals, Alabama returned the favor and dominated LSU in the BCS title game. It seems unfair that the two best programs in the country have to play in the same division of the same conference, but it does produce one heck of a fun game to watch every year. The odds of one of these teams losing this game and making back to the title game for a second year in a row are slim, making this year’s meeting even more important. There won’t be more talent on one field at one time in any other game this year.
2. Oregon at USC, November 3
On the same day that the defenses of Alabama and LSU could the deliver a hard-hitting, low-scoring thriller, the high-powered offenses of Oregon and USC will be lighting up the scoreboard. Heisman frontrunner Matt Barkley and his arsenal of receivers will take on the blazing speed of De’Anthony Thomas and the Ducks. The winner will likely be in position to play for a national title, but the game will probably be the first of two. The Ducks and Trojans should both win their divisions with ease, setting up a rematch in the conference championship game. Talk about entertainment. Expect plenty of points and plenty of big plays throughout this one.
3. Georgia at South Carolina, October 6
These two programs have emerged as the class of the SEC East, and even though the Gamecocks topped the Bulldogs last year, Georgia’s easier overall conference schedule allowed them to win the division. The Bulldogs once again have a comfortable conference schedule, and they have national title aspirations. South Carolina would love to wreck those dreams and secure their own spot in the SEC title game. Two of the top defenses in the country, especially when it comes to rushing the passer, will be on display in this one. Georgia’s dark horse Heisman candidate Aaron Murray and South Carolina’s running back Marcus Lattimore will also have a chance to make a serious statement to voters, as well.
4. Clemson at Florida State, September 22
Clemson’s high-powered offense will take on Florida State’s vicious defense, and the winner will be in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal Division and maybe more. The Tigers are Seminoles are both wild card contenders for the national title, but in a weak conference, neither side can afford a loss. Last year, Clemson’s offense overwhelmed the FSU defense, and the Tigers held on for a 35-30 win. The Seminoles’ defense should be even better this year, but the same can be said for the Clemson offense. This meeting happens fairly early in the season, but the winning team could ride the momentum to a special season.
5. Michigan at Ohio State, November 24
Arguably the most-famous rivalry game in college football, this year’s meeting will be one of the most-intriguing in recent memory. Michigan snapped a seven-game skid against the Buckeyes last season in Brady Hoke’s first year as coach. Ohio State will be looking to do the same in Urban Meyer’s first year running the show. Coming off a Sugar Bowl win, the Wolverines are hoping for more this season. However, Michigan could be in serious trouble if they do enter this matchup undefeated. The Buckeyes are banned from postseason play, making this game their Super Bowl. Imagine the atmosphere in Ohio Stadium if OSU has a chance to dash the title hopes of their arch rival.
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