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College Football 2004: Top 10 Games to Watch

[size=-1]By Bob Birge
SportsTicker Staff Writer[/size]

<SMALL>BRISTOL, CONNECTICUT (TICKER) </SMALL>-- A look at the 10 must-see games of the regular season:

1) SEPTEMBER 6 - FLORIDA ST AT MIAMI - The new and improved Atlantic Coast Conference starts with a bang as the archrivals clash for the third time in less than a year. And since Miami has joined the ACC, this contest could decide a conference title, in addition to the usual state bragging rights. Miami has won five straight in the series.

2) SEPTEMBER 18 - LSU AT AUBURN - In the last four years, the winner of this battle of Tigers has gone on the play in the SEC championship game. That could again be the case this year as Auburn is looking to improve upon a disappointing 8-5 season that began with national-championship aspirations.

3) SEPTEMBER 25 - CLEMSON AT FLORIDA ST - Think Bobby Bowden has forgotten the beating he received from his son, Tommy, last year in Death Valley? Tommy Bowden, who received a three-year contract extension, may have saved his job with a 26-10 victory over Florida State. Now, the Seminoles will be primed for revenge.

4) OCTOBER 2 - LSU AT GEORGIA - Could be a preview of the SEC championship. LSU will be as stingy as ever and Georgia clearly is the team to beat in the East. This could be Georgia's best squad under coach Mark Richt, and the Bulldogs will be looking to even the score after a one-sided home loss to LSU last season.

5) OCTOBER 9 - TEXAS VS OKLAHOMA (AT DALLAS) - Will Texas coach Mack Brown ever win a big game? Will he ever beat Oklahoma? The Sooners routed the Longhorns last year, 65-13, for their fourth straight victory in the series. Oklahoma's Jason White threw four TD passes and the Longhorns committed six turnovers.

6) OCTOBER 9 - CALIFORNIA AT USC - Trojans look to avenge last season's only loss, a wild triple-overtime setback at California. This could be the game of the year in the Pac-10 as the Golden Bears have made huge strides under Jeff Tedford and may contend for their first Rose Bowl appearance since Joe Kapp was in Berkeley.

7) OCTOBER 30 - GEORGIA VS. FLORIDA (AT JACKSONVILLE) - The Bulldogs will be looking to snap a six-game losing streak to the Gators in the latest installment of the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Florida defeated Georgia last season, 16-13, on a late field goal, its 13th win in the last 14 meetings with the Bulldogs.

8) NOVEMBER 6 - KANSAS STATE AT MISSOURI - This game could decide the title in wide-open Big 12 North Division. The Tigers have improved from four to five to eight wins in three seasons under Gary Pinkel and, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Brad Smith, could be one of the nation's darkhorse teams.

9) NOVEMBER 20 - MICHIGAN AT OHIO STATE - As is so often the case, the Big Ten title could be on the line when the rivals clash in Columbus. Michican coach Lloyd Carr, who won't have John Navarre at his disposal, looks for second straight win over Jim Tressel, who is 2-1 against the Wolverines.

10) NOVEMBER 25 - WEST VIRGINIA AT PITTSBURGH - With the Big East depleted due to the departures of Miami and Virginia Tech, a conference title could be on the line for the Mountaineers. West Virginia still faces Virginia Tech, but it won't be a league game. The Mountaineers will be happy to face the Panthers without Larry Fitzgerald.