We’ll be counting down to this Saturday’s kickoff of the 2019 college football season all this week, and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday goes over the top games on the schedule this year. 2019 has a strong slate of games, and there are five conference and five out-of-conference games on the list.
10. No. 9 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Michigan (Sat. 10/26, TBD)
Last season, Notre Dame jumped out to an early 14-0 lead against Michigan and didn’t look back in a win that was more convincing than the 24-17 score indicated. This year, the series moves to the Big House, as the Wolverines get the top-notch homefield advantage as they look for a little redemption on their sour start to 2018. Also, the matchup this time around comes in middle of the season, so we should get a better idea of where each of the two programs stand in what’ll likely be a primetime matchup if they are both in the College Football Playoff hunt.
9. No. 12 Texas A&M vs. No. 1 Clemson (Sat. 9/7, 3:30 PM ET)
Kellen Mond (430 yards and three scores) and the Aggies nearly staged an amazing comeback against the Tigers in their September 8 matchup in 2018, and now they’ll run it back almost exactly one year later when they square off on September 7. Texas A&M had the benefit of playing at home in the previous matchup, so a trip to Clemson Memorial Stadium will be a major challenge, as will sophomore sensation Trevor Lawrence entering this campaign as the unquestioned starting quarterback for Clemson.
8. No. 11 Oregon vs. No. 16 Auburn (Sat. 8/31, 7:30 PM ET)
This Yahoo article on Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert, which reveals that he’s basically a genius with a 4.01 GPA, helps set the table for a highly-anticipated opening-week contest between the Ducks and the Tigers at the neutral site of AT&T Stadium. Herbert is one of the top NFL prospects entering the 2019 season, and facing an elite Auburn front could spark a magical season by Herbert and his hometown team. Meanwhile, head coach Gus Mazlahn—who should have some tricks up his sleeve for the opening game—and Auburn are looking to put up points with a new undetermined quarterback under center after Jarrett Stidham left for the NFL.
7. No. 8 Florida vs. No. 6 LSU (Sat. 10/12, TBD)
The first conference game on the Top Ten Tuesday comes from the SEC, and it’ll happen on October 8 when two Playoff hopefuls play in “Death Valley”. Florida handed LSU its first loss of the season last year in Gainesville, and the Gators also won their last contest at Tiger Stadium in 2016. Each of the past five matchups between the two schools has been within one possession, and we should see the same in this year’s version.
6. No. 4 Oklahoma vs. No. 10 Texas (Sat. 10/12, 12:00 PM ET)
The Red River Rivalry (or Red River Showdown) should be intense in 2019, as the two Big 12 rivals are both ranked in the preseason top ten and are coming off two matchups last season, with Texas taking the regular season game before Oklahoma claimed the conference title and a Playoff appearance. Two experienced quarterbacks (Sam Ehlinger for Texas, and Alabama transfer and former SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts for Oklahoma) lead their teams, but the play of the defenses in an offensive-slanted conference could determine the outcome.
5. No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 8 Florida (Sat. 11/2, 3:30 PM ET)
Since 1990, Georgia has won just eight matchups in the Florida-Georgia rivalry, but they have been dominant in the last two seasons, with 47-7 and 36-17 victories. With no regular season matchup versus Alabama this year, this could be the toughest test on the schedule for the Bulldogs. Both teams have difficult slates leading up to this November 2 game, so perhaps this won’t be a top-five game for 2019 by the time it rolls around; but in the preseason, it looks like one of the games to most look forward to.
4. No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 16 Auburn (Sat. 11/30, TBD)
Alabama will almost certainly enter this game as the clear favorites, but the Iron Bowl will always be among the best games in any college football season no matter how good or bad the two teams are—and Auburn should be very good themselves in 2019. The Tigers’ offense will need to perform if they are going to be national title contenders, but the talent on defense should make this close for at least a bit.
3. No. 6 LSU vs. No. 10 Texas (Sat. 9/7, 7:30 PM ET)
After the big-time Sugar Bowl victory over Georgia last season, Texas will have the confidence that they can beat any team in 2019. And from LSU’s perspective, they might be looking to not allow the Longhorns to beat two consecutive SEC teams, especially after the mock chants during that Sugar Bowl. The September 7 contest will be one of those games where the fans of each conference will likely be pulling for their rival.
2. No. 9 Notre Dame vs. No. 3 Georgia (Sat. 9/21, 8:00 PM ET)
Notre Dame tends to get too much hype from the media, and they could certainly get run out of the building while having to face a top-three Georgia squad at Sanford Stadium. However, the narrow 20-19 victory for the Bulldogs in 2017 gives hope that this year will be another close one. If the Fighting Irish win, they’ll be squarely in the Playoff conversation early in the season; and even if they just play well an make it close on the road, they’ll likely again get the benefit of the doubt from the media again.
1. No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 7 Michigan (Sat. 11/30, 12:00 PM ET)
Despite it being played in Columbus last season, Michigan entered “The Game” as the favorites before getting demolished, 62-39, for their seventh consecutive loss to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won 14 of the last 15 of the matchups between the storied programs, and this is currently tied for their longest winning streak in the rivalry, so they’ll look to make it eight while Jim Harbaugh looks to get his first victory over Ohio State as a head coach. There’s a good chance Playoff hopes are riding on this one, and most college football fans will be locked on their televisions for November 30 at noon ET.