Your 2005 College Football Viewer's Guide

We go in depth and look at the best college football games and rivalries for the entire 2005 season. We share the best games of each weekend of the college season. We track where all of the top teams will be this season. Print this out and keep it close by as you figure out which games to watch all season long.

Summer must be officially over because the college football season is set to kick off, not within a matter of days, but within just a few hours.
Once again this year, college football will be all over the airwaves for the next four months, all the way up through the national championship game at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4.

You can consider the following as a viewer's guide for the 2005 season. In most cities, college fans can access as many as 12 to 15 games a weekend via a basic cable package. Those with access to ESPN's Game Plan package or a satellite dish can access as many as 10 more games each weekend.

As a general rule, Notre Dame's home games will be shown nationally on NBC. The biggest games at SEC venues will be shown on CBS.

ABC, which televises the season-ending Bowl Championship Series, would have to be considered the home of college football. The network has longstanding arrangements to televise the best games at Big Ten, Big East, ACC, Big 12, Pac-10 and Mountain West venues each week.

If ABC is the home of college football, ESPN (and also ESPN2) have to be considered the sport's heartbeat. The ESPN umbrella – which now includes a slate of games on its new college sports channel, ESPNU -- will televise over 100 games, featuring its weekly Thursday night coverage as well as special games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. ESPN will fill in the cracks with games from the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Big East, Conference USA, Mountain West, WAC and the MAC.

Fox Sports Net will add coverage of the Pac-10, Big 12 and Conference USA. For the fourth year in a row, TBS will also show a package of games from those same conferences. And CSTV will also have a package of C-USA games.

Several leagues have moved games to off days to get their teams on national television. The ACC will be a regular feature on ESPN on Thursday nights, while C-USA, the MAC and Big East will have teams playing on any number of different days of the week. Louisville, West Virginia, UConn, Miami (Ohio), Ohio U. and Toledo are examples of some teams who will play games on four different days of the week this season.

Of course, all of it will culminate in Championship Saturday Dec. 3 with title games in the SEC and Big 12 and for the first time ever in the ACC. The BCS pairings will be announced the next day on ABC.

In terms of television, most of the August and September games have been slotted. Some of the bigger games later in the season have also been tabbed. Others will be selected on a six- or 12-day basis as the season wears on.

We have pored over the 2005 schedule and have picked out what we think will be the best five to 10 games from each weekend. Plus, we will examine each week for Ohio State.

File this list -- call it your Official 2005 Viewer's Guide -- away as a reference tool this season. (All times Eastern time.)

Week 1 (Sept. 1-5)

* Oregon at Houston, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- The season has to start somewhere, so it may as well be with this game, which has no compelling storyline – other than the fact these teams combined for eight wins a year ago.

* Central Florida at South Carolina, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Steve Superior … er, Spurrier makes his debut as the South Carolina coach. Should be a winning one because UCF was 0-11 last year.

* Minnesota at Tulsa, Sept. 1, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN2) -- This is a game Minnesota needs to win to keep its time-tested strategy for getting bowl bids on target (i.e. three winnable nonconference games, then 3-5 in the Big Ten).

* Indiana at Central Michigan, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU) -- Terry Hoeppner debuts as the IU coach.

* Arizona at Utah, Sept. 2, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- Interesting opener as the Utes move on without Urban Meyer and Alex Smith. Arizona just 3-8 last year for new coach Mike Stoops.

* Miami (Ohio) at Ohio State, Sept. 3, noon (ABC) -- Intriguing opening game for the Buckeyes. They face instate MAC opponent Miami, whom they defeated 27-16 in 2000 in Columbus. Shane Montgomery makes his college coaching debut for MU, which also has 3,000-yard passer Josh Betts back.

* TCU at Oklahoma, Sept. 3, noon (ABC) -- TCU steps up in class from C-USA to the Mountain West. After a disappointing 5-6 year last season, the Horned Frogs are looking for bigger things. Opening at OU will give TCU a firm grasp on where they're at, no doubt.

* Bowling Green at Wisconsin, Sept. 3, noon (ESPN) -- BG has stellar QB Omar Jacobs, and you read it here first – with the Badgers returning just four starters on defense, this could be the season's first major upset. If that happens, Barry Alvarez's swan song would quickly take a lame duck feel.

* Rutgers at Illinois, Sept. 3, noon (ESPN2) -- Ron Zook debuts as the Illinois coach.

* Northern Illinois at Michigan, Sept. 3, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- NIU is another dangerous MAC team, especially coming off a 9-3 season and a bowl win (albeit over Troy in the Silicon Valley Bowl). Look for U-M's talent and depth to prevail and pull away late.

* Colorado State at Colorado, Sept. 3, 3:30 p.m. (TBS) -- CSU coming off a disappointing 4-7 campaign, which began with a 27-24 lost to rival Colorado.

* Boise State at Georgia, Sept. 3, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Everything you hear, the Georgia program is in a state of disarray with injuries, suspensions and academic casualties. QB Jared Zabransky (2,927 yards, 16 TDs) pilots BSU's high octane offense. Again, you have a chance at a upset of historic proportions. The Broncos have 16 starters back from last year's 11-1 team.

* USC at Hawaii, Sept. 3, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- USC's run for a third straight national title begins with a trip to Hawaii. June Jones must reload the Rainbows' offense without QB Timmy Chang.

* Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, Sept. 3, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- Charlie Weis debuts as the Notre Dame coach in prime time television. And, oh yeah, Dave Wannstedt also debuts for Pitt. Pitt stunned ND 41-38 in South Bend a year ago. That was Pitt's first win in South Bend since 1986.

* Georgia Tech at Auburn, Sept. 3, 8:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- Can Reggie Ball put it together for Tech? What will Auburn do without Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams?

* West Virginia at Syracuse, Sept. 4, 1:30 p.m. (ABC) -- Yes, there is still a Big East. New SU coach Greg Robinson would love to steal a win here. WVU won 27-6 in Morgantown last year.

* Louisville at Kentucky, Sept. 4, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Louisville's 11-1 season began with a 28-0 home win over UK a year ago.

* Virginia Tech at N.C. State, Sept. 4, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2) -- Yes, we have Sunday night college football now. These two are in separate divisions of the ACC. But Tech will want to avenge its only ACC loss from a year ago, a 17-16 decision in Blacksburg. N.C. State, with its stellar defense, should be a tough match-up for returning Tech QB Marcus Vick.

* Miami (Fla.) at Florida State, Sept. 5, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- ABC has this game on Labor Day night as the precursor to its Monday Night Football series, which begins the following week. This rivalry has been lopsided of late with Miami winning the last six meetings, including a 16-10 overtime thriller last year at the Orange Bowl. Both teams are a little shaky at QB, so look for the defenses to dominate once again.

Week 2 (Sept. 8-10)

* Oklahoma State at Florida Atlantic, Sept. 8, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- FAU, under coach Howard Schnelleberger, makes the jump to full I-A status and the Sun Belt. New Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy debuts Sept. 3 against Montana State, then brings his team down to Florida five days later for this one.

* Pittsburgh at Ohio U., Sept. 9, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) -- Yes, that is OU – the one that is still in Athens – hosting Pitt. Frank Solich debuts as the OU coach Sept. 3 against Northwestern. But a national TV game from Peden Stadium? What is the world coming to? Pitt downed OU 24-3 last year at Heinz Field.

* Kansas State at Marshall, Sept. 10, 10:30 a.m. (ESPN2) -- New Marshall coach Mark Snyder debuts Sept. 1 against William & Mary. He would get instant credibility if the Herd can knock off the Wildcats, whom they beat 27-20 in Manhattan two years ago. K-State, coming off a 4-7 season, could be ripe for the picking, too.

* Notre Dame at Michigan, Sept. 10, noon (ABC) -- This one gets national treatment as one of the game's great annual showdowns. Weis would get instant credibility with a win here over the defending Big Ten champions. But the Irish haven't won in The Big House since 1993. ND stunned Michigan 28-20 last year in South Bend.

* Cincinnati at Penn State, Sept. 10, noon (ESPN-Plus) -- PSU plans a return to the first division of the Big Ten. The first step would be a resounding win over visiting UC here.

* Colorado State at Minnesota, Sept. 10, 2 p.m. (ESPN2) -- The Gophers rolled over CSU 34-16 last year in Fort Collins.

* Iowa at Iowa State, Sept. 10, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- The state championship of Iowa is at stake here once again. Iowa won 17-10 in Iowa City last year. This could be a great match-up with ISU picked by some to win the Big 12 North.

* South Carolina at Georgia, Sept. 10, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Spurrier's first big SEC test at South Carolina involves a trip to Athens.

* Texas at Ohio State, Sept. 10, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- Believe the hype. This is the biggest nonconference game in all of college football and, possibly, the biggest nonconference game in the 85-year history of Ohio Stadium. Texas is on top of the world after a Rose Bowl win over Michigan. The two big questions: Can the vaunted OSU defense contain Texas QB Vince Young? What role will OSU QB Troy Smith have after missing the opener due to suspension? This shapes up as a classic.

* Arizona State at LSU, Sept. 10, 8:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- ASU will not be a pushover with 17 starters back. LSU opens Sept. 3 with North Texas. However, a home loss here would end the honeymoon with new LSU coach Les Miles.

Week 3 (Sept. 15-17)

* Utah at TCU, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Welcome to the Mountain West, TCU. The Frogs get Utah in their conference opener.

* Oregon State at Louisville, Sept. 17, noon (ESPN or ESPN2) -- This is an important game for the Big East, which is struggling for every ounce of credibility it can get.

* Michigan State at Notre Dame, Sept. 17, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) -- MSU lost at home to Notre Dame, 31-24, a year ago.

* San Diego State at Ohio State, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- The Aztecs made OSU work for wins in 2001 (27-12) and 2003 (16-13). Plus, they nearly upset Michigan last year in Ann Arbor, falling 24-21. OSU must avoid the post-Texas hysteria (if there is any) and avoid looking ahead to Iowa.

* Florida State at Boston College, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- This figures to be a nice ACC Atlantic Division match-up as BC makes its conference debut.

* Oklahoma at UCLA, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- Comparing scores from last year we see that USC demolished Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl, but the Trojans only beat UCLA 29-24 in their regular season match-up. Hmmm. A win would put UCLA back on the map as a national power and would give the Pac-10 some sorely needed credibility – beyond USC, of course. OU defeated UCLA 59-24 in 2003 in Norman.

* Pittsburgh at Nebraska, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- Nebraska won 24-17 at Pitt last year.

* Alabama at South Carolina, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Spurrier's first big home SEC game comes against resurgent Alabama. With all NCAA issues in the rear view mirror, the Tide want to contend in Mike Shula's third season as the coach.

* Wisconsin at North Carolina, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- UNC beat Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Miami (Fla.) at home last year. This will be a tougher road trip than it may seem for UW.

* Fresno State at Oregon, Sept. 17, 7 p.m. (TBS) -- Autzen Stadium is one of the toughest places to play. But FSU won at Washington and at Kansas State a year ago.

* Tennessee at Florida, Sept. 17, 8 p.m. (CBS) -- Tennessee took a controversial 30-28 win over Florida a year ago. Meyer will get his first taste of this great SEC East rivalry in his first big game at The Swamp. The winner will become the division favorite and, quite possibly, a national championship contender.

* Arkansas at USC, Sept. 17, 10:15 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- The Razorbacks have eight starters back on defense, but will face the ultimate test in this game at USC. The Hogs must replace QB Matt   Jones.

* Illinois at California, Sept. 17 -- Tough road trip for the Zooker, but a win would give him instant credibility. Cal in transition after departures of QB Aaron Rodgers and TB J.J. Arrington.

Week 4 (Sept. 21-24)

* Bowling Green at Boise State, Sept. 21, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) -- This would be a bracket buster if it was a college basketball game. This Wednesday night clash of possible top-25 teams will be required viewing.

* Purdue at Minnesota, Sept. 24, noon (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN-Plus) -- Purdue misses Ohio State and Michigan in Big Ten play this year. But the Boilers' master plan to sneak through to a BCS game hinges on winning a key conference road game like this one.

* Notre Dame at Washington, Sept. 24, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- This game has intrigue written all over it – even if the schools were a combined 7-16 last year. Tyrone Willingham was forced out at ND after a rough three years. He landed at U-Dub and you know he will want to exact some revenge. This is precisely the kind of game ND hasn't won for nearly a decade now. But the Irish crushed UW 38-3 in South Bend last year.

* USC at Oregon, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. (ABC, West Coast only) -- USC has two straight national titles, but did not have to play Oregon either year. The Ducks believe this could be the ones to stop the Trojans' tear.

* Michigan at Wisconsin, Sept. 24, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- On paper, Michigan is simply better than Wisconsin. But you make this a night game in Madison and you can see where things may not go as expected for the Wolverines.

* Iowa at Ohio State, Sept. 24 -- ABC has not stepped up and declared this game as one of its broadcasts, but you know it's coming. Most likely this will be in the noon slot with Notre Dame-Washington being a national game at 3:30 p.m. (provided all four teams get off to a good start). Iowa throttled OSU 33-7 last year in Iowa City. Can the Buckeyes succeed where they failed last year by doing something – anything – to contain QB Drew Tate?

* Colorado at Miami (Fla.), Sept. 24 -- Give Colorado credit for scheduling some tough BCS-caliber out-of-conference opponents. They have also played Florida State and Washington State in recent years.

* Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, Sept. 24 -- This will be one of the pivotal ACC Coastal Division games. Virginia Tech downed GT 34-20 in Atlanta last year.

* Tennessee at LSU, Sept. 24 -- This is Tennessee's second straight rough SEC road trip. This could be a preview of the conference title game.

Week 5 (Sept. 27-Oct. 1)

* Toledo at Fresno State, Sept. 27, 9 p.m. (ESPN2) -- Another great MAC-WAC match-up.

* Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio), Sept. 28, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- This is one of college football's oldest rivalries at 109 years. Mark Dantonio won his debut in this series last year, 45-26 at UC.

* Florida at Alabama, Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- A nice cross-division game in the SEC.

* Notre Dame at Purdue, Oct. 1, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- ABC took a pass on Notre Dame here so one of the ESPNs could have a nice night game. The Boilers pummeled ND 41-16 last year in South Bend. But that was with Kyle Orton at the controls. This ends ND's hellacious start with four of the first five games on the road.

* USC at Arizona State, Oct. 1 -- USC obliterated ASU 45-7 last year in Los Angeles.

* Michigan at Michigan State, Oct. 1 -- The Spartans blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and ultimately lost 45-37 at U-M in triple overtime. We will see how Drew Stanton and the Spartans fare this time around in East Lansing.

* Minnesota at Penn State, Oct. 1 -- This will be a key game for each side in its quest to get back in the top half of the Big Ten.

* Virginia Tech at West Virginia, Oct. 1 -- These old Big East rivals maintain their series. Tech won 19-13 in Blacksburg last year. Again, a WVU win would do wonders for the credibility of the struggling Big East.

Week 6 (Oct. 6-8)

* N.C. State at Georgia Tech, Oct. 6, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Tech won 24-14 at N.C. State last year.

* Oklahoma vs. Texas at Dallas, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. (ABC) -- Once again, this game figures to be the deciding factor in the Big 12 South race. The winner could also be a factor in the national championship race. Mack Brown is the toast of Texas after winning the Rose Bowl last January. Imagine would he would be if UT can finally beat Oklahoma, which has won five straight games in the Red River Shootout series (including 12-0 last year). The last time OU won six straight over Texas was 1952-57.

* Minnesota at Michigan, Oct. 8, 1 p.m. (ABC) -- Minnesota's ground game nearly churned out a win at The Big House last year before Michigan rallied for a 27-24 win. The Gophers could again give Michigan fits.

* Georgia at Tennessee, Oct. 8, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Another huge SEC East showdown. UT completed a sweep of Florida and Georgia with a 19-14 win in Athens last year.

* Iowa at Purdue, Oct. 8, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- This could well be Purdue's toughest test and it will be at home. Iowa won 23-21 at Iowa City last year.

* Ohio State at Penn State, Oct. 8, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- OSU's record in conference night road games is not good with losses to Wisconsin (2003) and Northwestern (2004) of late. If OSU can negotiate Texas and Iowa, there is a even a slight chance each team could come in unbeaten. A night game at Happy Valley? OSU has won three straight over PSU, including 21-10 last year in Columbus. The all-time series is dead even at 10-10, although OSU commands the Big Ten series (since 1993) at 8-4.

* North Carolina at Louisville, Oct. 8 -- UL went to Chapel Hill last year and blasted the Tar Heels 34-0. Again, a win for Louisville would be a big boon for the Big East.

* Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, Oct. 8 -- The Bengals and Steelers in an AFC Central showdown at Three Rivers? No, just a nice regional match-up that could become a rivalry in the reshaped Big East.

Week 7 (Oct. 13-15)

* Clemson at N.C. State, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Clemson downed N.C. State 26-20 at home last year.

* USC at Notre Dame, Oct. 15, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) -- USC has only won twice in its last 11 trips to South Bend, pulling out wins in 1997 and 2003. The Trojans' domination of their Midwestern rival – USC has taken three straight 31-point wins over Notre Dame (including 41-10 last year) – was as big a factor as anything in Willingham's rushed departure from ND. A win here would make Weis St. Charlie in the eyes of Irish fans.

* Florida at LSU, Oct. 15, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- LSU won 24-21 in Gainesville last year. But Florida has dominated this series in recent years, winning 14 of the last 17 meetings and seven of its last eight trips to Baton Rouge. Again, this could be an SEC title game preview.

* Penn State at Michigan, Oct. 15 -- You just say the names of the two schools and a chill goes down your spine. But the rivalry has been one-sided since PSU joined the Big Ten in 1993. U-M owns a 7-3 edge and has won six straight over the Lions.

* Michigan State at Ohio State, Oct. 15 -- Drew Stanton missed last year's game at MSU, which OSU won 32-19. Ted Ginn Jr. may have been the first Buckeye to score three ways – tallying touchdowns on a run, a punt return and a reception.

* Wisconsin at Minnesota, Oct. 15 -- Wisconsin reclaimed Paul Bunyon's Axe with a 38-14 shellacking of UM in Madison last year.

* Colorado at Texas, Oct. 15 -- Nice game that could be a preview of the Big 12 title game. Texas rolled 31-7 last year in Boulder.

* Louisville at West Virginia, Oct. 15 -- This may be UL's toughest regular season game, particularly on the road. The winner should be in contention for the Big East title with November match-ups with Pitt still on the docket.

Week 8 (Oct. 20-22)

* Virginia Tech at Maryland, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- Tech crushed Maryland 55-6 last year in Blacksburg. Can the Terps get back into the discussion in the suddenly strong ACC?

* Southern Miss at UAB, Oct. 21, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- This will be a key C-USA East Division match-up. Southern Miss won 26-21 at home last year.

* BYU at Notre Dame, Oct. 22, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) -- The Irish lost 20-17 at BYU last year. That's the same BYU team that lost games to UNLV and New Mexico and finished 5-6.

* Purdue at Wisconsin, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- Purdue's season began to unravel with last year's come-from-ahead 20-17 loss at home to Wisconsin. That was the first of four straight losses after a 5-0 start.

* Tennessee at Alabama, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- The Vols prevailed 17-13 last year in Knoxville.

* Penn State at Illinois, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- This shapes up as a must-have game for PSU.

* Michigan at Iowa, Oct. 22 -- Over the last three years, this has been an interesting series. Iowa crushed U-M 34-9 at The Big House in 2002, then won again at home 30-27 in a classic in 2003. Michigan exacted some revenge last year with a 30-17 home win. The winner here could be on pace for a shot at the conference crown. Keep in mind, U-M is 16-5-1 all-time at Iowa City.

* Ohio State at Indiana, Oct. 22 -- OSU rolled 30-7 last year in Columbus. Big Ten teams should get IU and Hoeppner now because his track record says Indiana will be respectable or better very soon.

* Auburn at LSU, Oct. 22 -- This could be the deciding game in the SEC West race. Auburn nipped LSU 10-9 at Auburn last year.

* Texas Tech at Texas, Oct. 22 -- Texas cruised to a 51-21 win last year in Lubbock.

Week 9 (Oct. 27-29)

* Boston College at Virginia Tech, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- These former Big East rivals renew their series as ACC members.

* Oklahoma at Nebraska, Oct. 29, noon (ABC) -- These former Game of the Century rivals only play sporadically now. OU cruised 30-3 last year in Norman.

* Washington State at USC, Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- USC won 42-12 in Pullman last year.

* Florida vs. Georgia at Jacksonville, Oct. 29, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, as they call it, again figures to factor in the SEC East race. Georgia won 31-24 last year. Still, Florida has won 13 of the last 15 meetings and 15 of the last 21. This marks the 73rd time the teams will have met in Jacksonville.

* Michigan at Northwestern, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- Unbelievably, Michigan will play a second Big Ten road night game. Northwestern shocked Ohio State in a similar situation last year. U-M won 42-20 in Ann Arbor last year.

* Ohio State at Minnesota, Oct. 29 -- Minnesota rotates back on to OSU's schedule after a two-year hiatus. You know Glen Mason will want to win this one against his alma mater in the worst way. But his Minnesota teams have only turned that trick one time (2000, in Columbus) in six tries since he got there in 1997. OSU is also 9-0 all-time in the Metrodome.

* Texas at Oklahoma State, Oct. 29 -- Texas fell behind by 28, then rallied with 49 unanswered points to take a 56-35 win over the Cowboys last year in Austin.

* North Carolina at Miami (Fla.), Oct. 29 -- UNC stunned Miami with a 31-28 defeat last year in Chapel Hill, the ‘Canes' first-ever ACC loss.

Week 10 (Nov. 2-5)

* Connecticut at West Virginia, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) -- WVU won 31-19 at Storrs last year.

* Pittsburgh at Louisville, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- The Big East's two favorites collide at Louisville. A win would likely give UL its long-awaited BCS bid.

* Toledo at Ohio U., Nov. 4, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) -- They can thank Solich for another national TV game from Athens. Toledo won 31-13 at home last year.

* Tennessee at Notre Dame, Nov. 5, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) -- Notre Dame pulled out a 17-13 win at Tennessee last year.

* Illinois at Ohio State, Nov. 5 -- Illinois rotates back on to OSU's schedule after a two-year hiatus. Zook brings Illinois to Columbus, where he was an assistant from 1988-90.

* Wisconsin at Penn State, Nov. 5 -- UW barreled over Penn State for a 16-3 win a year ago. But on PSU's turf with an improved offense, the Lions could roar this time around.

* N.C. State at Florida State, Nov. 5 -- This could be the key game in the ACC Atlantic Division. FSU won 17-10 in Raleigh last year.

* Miami (Fla.) at Virginia Tech, Nov. 5 -- The Hokies pulled out a 16-10 win in their season finale in Miami to claim their first ACC championship. This time around, this game could be the deciding factor in the ACC Coastal Division race.

Week 11 (Nov. 8-12)

* Southern Miss at Marshall, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) -- A big national TV home game for Marshall and its first-year coach Snyder.

* West Virginia at Cincinnati, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) -- Another nice regional rivalry courtesy of the new Big East alignment.

* Boise State at Fresno State, Nov. 10, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- Clearly, the game of the year in the WAC. BSU has won all four meetings since joining the league, including 33-16 last year.

* Navy at Notre Dame, Nov. 12, 1 p.m. (NBC) -- This is the nation's longest running intersectional rivalry at 79 years. ND dealt Navy its first loss last year with a 27-9 win. That extended ND's all-time record for consecutive wins over a Division I-A opponent to 41.

* Northwestern at Ohio State, Nov. 12 -- OSU should have plenty of incentive here. NU snapped a 24-game losing streak against OSU with a stunning 33-27 overtime win over the then-No. 7 ranked Buckeyes in Evanston. That streak dated to a 1971 NU win in Columbus. The Wildcats had lost 14 straight to the Buckeyes in Evanston, dating to 1958.

* Iowa at Wisconsin, Nov. 12 -- The teams met a year ago for a share of the Big Ten title in Iowa City. But Iowa just had too much, posting a 30-7 win.

* Texas A&M at Oklahoma, Nov. 12 -- The Sooners crushed A&M 77-0 two years ago in Norman and won a 42-35 thriller at College Station last year.

* Auburn at Georgia, Nov. 12 -- Auburn took a 24-6 win at home a year ago.

* LSU at Alabama, Nov. 12 -- LSU cruised 26-10 a year ago. Could go a long way to deciding the SEC West.

* USC at California, Nov. 12 -- Cal was the last team to beat USC, pulling off a 34-31 triple overtime win on Sept. 27, 2003. The Trojans have reeled off 22 straight wins since then, including an all-too-tight 23-17 win over the Bears last year at the Coliseum. Can Cal pull off another major upset?

* Florida at South Carolina, Nov. 12 -- Yes, Steve Spurrier coaches against Florida. This has an ESPN hype job night game written all over it.

Week 12 (Nov. 15-19) * Bowling Green at Miami (Ohio), Nov. 15, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- BGSU moves from the MAC West to the MAC East and the winner here could be headed to the MAC title game. These two teams met in the 2003 MAC title game with BG pulling out a 49-28 win.

* Northern Illinois at Toledo, Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) -- Likewise, this could be the deciding game in the MAC West. Toledo won 31-17 at NIU last year.

* Syracuse at Notre Dame, Nov. 19, 2:30 p.m. (NBC) -- It will be on national TV, and other than that I don't have much to say about it.

* Washington State at Washington, Nov. 19, 3:15 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- WSU won 28-25 last year.

* Alabama at Auburn, Nov. 19, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Few rivalries have this kind of acrimony. Auburn capped its unbeaten regular season with a 21-13 win over Alabama last year.

* Oregon State at Oregon, Nov. 19, 6:45 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- Oregon State rocked Oregon 50-21 last year.

* Fresno State at USC, Nov. 19, 10:15 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- Fresno State could not possibly pull off this upset, could it?

* Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 19 -- The 102nd rendition of The Game. OSU has won three of the last four, including a 37-21 upset of then-No. 7 ranked Michigan. The series is dead even (26-26-2) since 1951. U-M's big edge in the overall series was aided by a 13-0-2 head start between 1897 and 1918. This is OSU's longest continuous series, dating to 1918. It has been the final game of the Big Ten season for each team since 1935. The winner this time can probably make some BCS bowl plans, maybe even for the Rose Bowl.

* Virginia Tech at Virginia, Nov. 19 -- Virginia's Al Groh will look to improve on his 1-3 record against the Hokies. Tech won 24-10 in Blacksburg last year.

* Clemson at South Carolina, Nov. 19 -- Spurrier vs. Bowden – the other Bowden, Tommy – in the battle of the Gamecock state.

* Minnesota at Iowa, Nov. 19 -- Iowa eked out a 29-27 win over the Gophers in Minneapolis last year.

* Penn State at Michigan State, Nov. 19 -- Penn State helped deny MSU a bowl bid with a 37-13 win in State College last year.

* Oklahoma at Texas Tech, Nov. 19 -- OU prevailed 28-13 over Tech last year.

Week 13 (Nov. 22-26)

* Toledo at Bowling Green, Nov. 22, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- This could be a MAC title game preview. The Rockets took a 49-41 win at home last year.

* Kent State at Akron, Nov. 24, 10 a.m. (ESPN2 or ESPNU) -- Yes, that's Thanksgiving morning college football from the Rubber Bowl.

* Pittsburgh at West Virginia, Nov. 24, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- The Backyard Brawl on Thanksgiving night. Pitt locked up its BCS bid with a 16-13 win at home last year.

* Texas at Texas A&M, Nov. 25, noon (ABC) -- A&M's third-year coach Dennis Franchione is still looking for his first win against UT. The Longhorns have won five straight over A&M, including 26-13 last year.

* Arkansas at LSU, Nov. 25, 2:30 p.m. (CBS) -- LSU humbled the Hogs 43-14 last year.

* Arizona at Arizona State, Nov. 25, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- Mike Stoops' first year at UA was salvaged with a 34-27 upset of ASU.

* Nebraska at Colorado, Nov. 25, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- CU wrapped up its Big 12 North title and snapped Nebraska's NCAA-record bowl streak of 36 years with a 26-20 win in Lincoln last year.

* Wisconsin at Hawaii, Nov. 25, 9 p.m. (ESPN2) -- The Badgers need to be aware of the Rainbows and the officials. Both did in Northwestern and Michigan State last year in Honolulu.

* Florida State at Florida, Nov. 26, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Florida State pulled out a 20-13 win over the Gators last year in Tallahassee.

* Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, Nov. 26, 3:30 or 8 p.m. (ABC) -- Oklahoma squeaked out a 38-35 win over the rival Cowboys last year in Stillwater.

* Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 26, 3:30 or 8 p.m. (ABC) -- ND prevailed 23-15 in South Bend last year.

* Georgia at Georgia Tech, Nov. 26 -- Georgia continued its mastery of its instate rival with a 19-13 win last year.

* Virginia at Miami (Fla.), Nov. 26 -- Miami pulled out a 31-21 win at UVa. A year ago.

Week 14 (Dec. 1-3) * MAC Championship Game at Detroit, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- The MAC assigns its bowl bids before this game is even played, rendering it somewhat meaningless – other than the trophy that is awarded at the end.

* Big 12 Championship Game at Houston, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. (ABC) -- Oklahoma has won three of the last five Big 12 title games.

* Army vs. Navy at Philadelphia, Dec. 3, 2:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Not usually high caliber football, but as a spectacle few things compare. This will be the 106th rendition.

* UCLA at USC, Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m. (ABC) -- The Bruins came close last year, but fell 29-24 at home at the Rose Bowl.

* SEC Championship Game at Atlanta, Dec. 3, 6 p.m. (CBS) -- Six different teams have won the last seven SEC title games.

* ACC Championship Game at Jacksonville, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- The first-ever ACC title game. On paper, it could be Florida State against either Miami or Virginia Tech.

* Louisville at Connecticut, Dec. 3, TBA (ESPN) -- UL could wrap up a BCS bid here … or put UConn on the I-A football map.

* Conference USA Championship Game, Dec. 3, TBA (ESPN) -- Home field for the C-USA Championship Game will be awarded to the team that posts the highest regular season winning percentage against conference opposition.


Remember, with New Years' Day on a Sunday, the usual Jan. 1 bowls have been moved to Mon., Jan. 2. These include the Outback Bowl (11 a.m., ESPN), Cotton Bowl (11 a.m., FOX), Gator Bowl (12:30 p.m., NBC), Capital One (1 p.m., ABC) as well as the Fiesta and Sugar bowls (see below).

This will be the eighth year of the BCS rotation. The BCS lineup this year features (all games televised by ABC):

* Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 2, 4:30 p.m., Tempe, Ariz. -- The Big 12 champion would meet a BCS at-large team here.

* Sugar Bowl, Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m., New Orleans -- The SEC champion would meet a BCS at-large team here.

* Orange Bowl, Jan. 3, 8 p.m., Miami -- This one matches the ACC or Big East champion against a BCS at-large team.

* Rose Bowl, Jan. 4, 8 p.m., Pasadena, Calif. -- This game will match the top two teams in the BCS standings as of Dec. 4 and will be billed as the national championship game. The winner is the automatic No. 1 in the USA Today coaches poll.

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