While a lot of the hype when looking at the college football schedule comes from looking at nonconference games, the meat of the season is in the conference schedule. The conference schedule features games with rivalries and big implications. Here are college football top 10 conference games 2019.
10. Oregon Ducks at Stanford Cardinal
Date: September 21
Oregon looks like they are the frontrunners in the Pac-12, but they will have some competition in the Pac-12 North. Expectations are high for the Ducks, but they’ll need to get through Stanford early in the year to live up to those expectations. Even if they lose to Auburn in the season-opener, the Ducks will have a lot on the line with Pac-12 play.
The Cardinal will be playing a lot of big games this season in the non-conference schedule with games against Northwestern, Notre Dame and UCF. If they drop any of these games, they’ll need make the most of the Pac-12 schedule. It will be difficult to beat the Ducks even at home, but if they do, they could steal the Pac-12 North from them.
9. Iowa Hawkeyes at Wisconsin Badgers
Date: November 9
The Big Ten West could come down to the game between Iowa and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are going to be good in the trenches this season, meaning they should be able to compete and maybe win the Big Ten West.
Wisconsin had a down year, by their standards, last season, but still will have one of the best running games in the country with Jonathan Taylor leading the way. This game will be an absolute battle worth watching, but the winner could be given a substantial lead in the Big Ten West as a result as well.
8. Oregon Ducks at Washington Huskies
Date: October 19
The game against Stanford won’t be the only big conference game for the Ducks. They will also have to get past a rival in Washington. Last season, Oregon won the game in overtime. Washington was the favorite in that game, now Oregon will need to hold off the Huskies.
Washington has been the class of the Pac-12 the last few seasons under Chris Petersen, but they have lost a lot of talent. They have recruited well, but in order to keep their place atop the Pac-12 they’ll need new players to step up.
7. Georgia Bulldogs at Auburn Tigers
Date: November 16
Georgia not only has a big nonconference game against Notre Dame, but also have a few key conference games. The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will pit the Bulldogs against Auburn in a game that Georgia will likely need to win if they are to make the College Football Playoff.
While Georgia may have more talent than Auburn, the Tigers have a great defensive line, which could cause problems. Auburn has a tough schedule, as most SEC West teams do, but winning this game could really bolster Auburn’s season.
6. Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Tigers
Date: November 30
Alabama could be coming into the Iron Bowl with another undefeated record. They’ll have to bring their best game, as Auburn has upset the Crimson Tide before, even when they don’t have as many good players. The offensive line will be tested by Auburn’s defensive line, so like so many others, this game will be won in the trenches.
No matter how many wins Auburn has at this point, this game will provide some drama, at least in the lead up to the weekend. Alabama will likely have a lot on the line and Auburn is a solid team, meaning that fans will be tuned in.
5. LSU Tigers at Florida Gators
Date: October 12
LSU has a lot of talent returning from a 10 win team, but they haven’t been able to get over the hump and into the College Football Playoff. It will be hard to do so again this season with another tough schedule. They lost to Florida last season and will want to make sure they go into Gainesville and get the win.
The Gators are looking to compete in the SEC East, so they’ll need to pick up this win in case they drop the game against Georgia. After winning 10 games last season, they look like they could give Georgia a run for their money. The defensive talent in this game will be off the charts.
4. Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns (Dallas, TX)
Date: October 12
Oklahoma has had two straight Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks and now former Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has joined the fold. The Sooners lost this game last season, but still made the College Football Playoff. This will be a big resume builder for Oklahoma, who will hope to get another shot at the title.
Winning 10 games, including the Sugar Bowl against Georgia, has put a lot of expectations on Texas for this season. While Oklahoma is expected to win the Big 12, if Texas wins this game, the Longhorns can steal the regular season Big 12 Championship from under them. Either way, the game will be a high-scoring, competitive affair.
3. Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators (Jacksonville, FL)
Date: November 2
As mentioned earlier, Georgia has a lot of big games this season. This rivalry game presents the chance for them to keep their stranglehold on the SEC East. Even if they drop other games and are out of the College Football Playoff picture, the Bulldogs will want to keep their supremacy over the Gators.
Florida is looking to build on their impressive season from last season and there is no better way than beating a very good team, who just happens to be a rival. This will be a tough, physical game with the winner possibly coming out of the season as SEC East champs.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines
Date: November 30
The Big Ten East has been one of the toughest divisions in all of college football over the last few seasons. Winning the division usually comes down to “The Game” at the end of the season. Ohio State has had Michigan’s number, but now new coach Ryan Day takes over the team. There could be more on the line than just Big Ten East implications as both teams could slide into the College Football Playoff with a good season.
Michigan has had talented enough teams to beat Ohio State under Jim Harbaugh, but haven’t gotten the job done. With Ohio State’s turnover at coach and quarterback, this seems like a good year for the Wolverines to take advantage. “The Game” is a great rivalry, but the past few years has featured great teams and this year shouldn’t be any different.
1. LSU Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide
Date: November 9
One of the biggest weekends on the college football calendar every year is when LSU plays Alabama. In recent years, LSU has not been able to live up to the hype, as Alabama has dominated the series recently. Could this year be different? Time will tell, but the Tigers have 16 returning starters and their offense was improved last season. Joe Burrow will need to have a good game at quarterback for LSU to have any chance.
Alabama will be looking to go to the College Football Playoff yet again. This will be a game that they won’t want to drop, as if they do, LSU could pass them by in the SEC West standings. The Crimson Tide will have the upper hand, but if Tua Tagovailoa plays as poorly as he did late in last season, LSU could have a chance.