- Associated Press - Thursday, August 14, 2014

Everybody’s talking about them. Yet no coach dares mention them for fear of “looking ahead.”

They’re the biggest games of the fast-approaching season.

Alabama’s Nick Saban, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer - among many others - have been prodded about their team’s earth-shaking showdowns, against the likes of Auburn, Notre Dame and Michigan State. And each time they’ve batted aside the question like Anthony Davis flicking a fly from his unibrow.

Not constrained by looking past opponents, here’s a gander at a college fan’s best days of the year:

August 30_Yeah, that’s right, the very first Saturday of the season is a banquet. Tucked in among Youngstown State-Illinois and UC Davis-Stanford are four games which might just impact the playoffs four months later.

Pick of the litter: Oklahoma State vs. defending national champion Florida State, at AT&T; Stadium in the heart of Texas. Cowboys fans will flood the place in a deluge of orange, all wanting their Pokes to give 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston his comeuppance.

Best of the rest: LSU vs. Wisconsin in Houston; Clemson at Georgia; Alabama vs. West Virginia in Atlanta.

Sept. 6_The Playoff Era means very few more wasted days of Top-5 teams drilling weather-vane schools. Welcome to the new world of major-college scheduling.

Pick of the litter: Michigan State at Oregon. If you don’t like the color green, you might want to tune to a True Detective repeat.

Best of the rest: Michigan at Notre Dame, Virginia Tech at Ohio State, Southern California at Stanford.

Sept. 13/14_That’s right, the season’s only three weeks old and we’ve already locked up half the sport’s best weekends.

Pick of the litter: The Head Ballcoach might just have his best team ever at South Carolina. Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks get an early test at home against Georgia, which also has visions of bigger things. The game will revolve around which running back is the most productive: the Bulldogs’ Todd Gurley or South Carolina’s Mike Davis.

Best of the rest: UCLA travels to a supposed neutral site in the Lone Star State to take on Texas in Charlie Strong’s first bigtime matchup as Longhorns head coach. Also: Tennessee at Oklahoma.

Oct. 11_The best games feature teams fighting for early superiority in the Pac-12 and Big 12.

Pick of the litter: Oklahoma vs. Texas in the Cotton Bowl, with Sooners coach Bob Stoops itching to shove aside a few bad memories in the Red River Rivalry. Also, Oregon at UCLA, a battle between Heisman-contending QBs Marcus Mariota of the Ducks and Brett Hundley for the Bruins.

Story Continues →