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College Football’s October-Fest

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It’s October and it’s time to get serious.

That’s right, now is when the games get more intense and conference standing is on the line.

Just ask the folks in the Big Ten how big the first weekend in October will be.

We’ve all enjoyed the first month of the season, so what do we have to look forward to in October?

Let’s take a good look.

Oct. 1

Best Game: No. 8 Nebraska at No. 7 Wisconsin (8 p.m., ABC)

The first weekend has some really great games, but the highlight is definitely the Cornhuskers making their first visit to Camp Randall.

North Carolina State-transfer Russell Wilson has played about as well as anyone could have asked and he’s elevated himself into the Heisman discussion. Now the games get real, though. How he does against Nebraska’s defense will tell a lot about the Badgers.

It will be interesting to see if Nebraska’s Heisman hopeful, Taylor Martinez, can make the deep throws against Wisconsin. Martinez is just a 50 percent passer, but he has rushed for 421 yards and seven touchdowns.

This game might actually serve as a Heisman eliminator for one of the star quarterbacks.

Notables:

No. 14 Texas A&M vs. No. 18 Arkansas (Noon, ESPN)

Kentucky at No. 1 LSU (12:21 p.m., ESPN3)

Auburn at No. 10 South Carolina (3:30 p.m., CBS)

Michigan State at Ohio State (3:30 p.m., ABC)

No. 13 Clemson at No. 11 Virginia Tech (6 p.m., ESPN2)

No. 3 Alabama at No. 12 Florida (8 p.m., CBS)

LandryJonesOct. 8

Best Game: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 17 Texas (Noon, ABC)

It’s never easy to trump the Red River Rivalry for the top spot, and it won’t happen this year. With both teams likely to enter this game ranked and undefeated it is easily a must-watch this weekend.

Texas hasn’t quite returned to championship form, but Mack Brown’s team is winning games (something it struggled to do last year). The Longhorns will bring a more diverse offensive attack to the game, which could be a serious test for Oklahoma’s defense.

But when the Sooners are clicking on offense it’s hard to stop Landry Jones and Co. Florida State came close, but couldn’t pull out the win.

I love the early start and would someone please pass me a fried Twinkie.

Notables:

No. 12 Florida at No. 1 LSU (3:30 p.m., CBS)

Miami at No. 11 Virginia Tech (3:30 p.m., ABC)

No. 14 Texas A&M at Texas Tech (7 p.m.)

Ohio State at No. 8 Nebraska (8 p.m., ABC)

oregon-lamichael-jamesOct. 15

Best Game: No. 25 Arizona State at No. 9 Oregon (TBA)

This has the potential to be a preview to the Pac-12 Championship Game in December, so it’s smart to take an early look at the match up.

Arizona State has the talent on both sides of the ball to hang with Oregon, but do any Pac-12 teams ever go to Autzen Stadium and win?

After a rough season opener, the Ducks have found their stride — especially Heisman candidate LaMichael James, who just made a serious statement against Arizona with 288 yards on 23 carries. He’s proving to be a big-time home run threat.

Notables:

No. 1 LSU at Tennessee

No. 5 Oklahoma State at No. 17 Texas

No. 10 South Carolina at Mississippi State

No. 12 Florida at Auburn

No. 15 Baylor at No. 14 Texas A&M

No. 19 Michigan at Michigan State

Ohio State at No. 24 Illinois

Utah at Pittsburgh

Oct. 22

Best Game: Tennessee at No. 3 Alabama (TBA)

You could make an argument for some other games this weekend (which is actually the least appealing of the month), but this is one of college football’s least appreciated rivalries.

These two despise each other and going into Tuscaloosa with a hostile crowd is always tough. But second-year coach Derek Dooley could really use a signature win and nothing would endear him more with the Vol Nation than a huge upset win over the Tide.

One problem with that plan — Alabama’s defense just might shut out the Tennessee offense.

Notables:

Auburn at No. 1 LSU

No. 5 Oklahoma State at Missouri

North Carolina at No. 13 Clemson

No. 14 Texas A&M at Iowa State

Air Force at No. 4 Boise State

Washington at No. 6 Stanford

No. 7 Wisconsin at Michigan State

andrew-luck-2Oct. 29

Best Game: No. 6 Stanford at USC (8 p.m., ABC)

OK, Baylor-Oklahoma State and Clemson-Georgia Tech are superb match ups in the final week of October. But if Stanford is really going to make a run at winning a BCS Championship, a showdown with USC in Los Angeles is a huge test.

Plus this is a chance to see Andrew Luck work his magic against the Trojans. No one questions Luck’s overall talent, and I always love to watch a special player in big games.

Unfortunately I can’t say the same about Matt Barkley. It’s almost a guarantee he’ll throw a few picks against the Cardinal.

Notables:

No. 15 Baylor at No. 5 Oklahoma State

Michigan State at No. 8 Nebraska

No. 13 Clemson at No. 21 Georgia Tech

No. 24 Illinois at Penn State

Georgia at No. 12 Florida

Missouri at No. 14 Texas A&M

Navy at Notre Dame

No. 7 Wisconsin at Ohio State

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