Forde has seven B1G showdowns on list of most intriguing games
Yahoo’s Pat Forde is counting down the start of college football with some intriguing lists. He already did his list of intriguing coaches, quarterbacks and non-quarterbacks. Today, he came out with his most intriguing games.
Seven Big Ten games highlighted the list of 25, with Ohio State/Michigan highlighting the list, of course. The defending national champion Buckeyes had four games on Forde’s countdown, which was more than any other team. Michigan State and Michigan were tied for second with three mentions apiece.
Here’s the list in its entirety:
2. Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 28. Is one of the game’s great rivalries back, with the arrival/return of Jim Harbaugh to Ann Arbor? Eventually Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer could be the 21st century version of Bo vs. Woody – but how soon? The Buckeyes should be undefeated and the Wolverines defeated multiple times by the time they meet, but that may not matter. Even bust Brady Hoke managed to get his team to play over its head against Ohio State the last couple of years, so expect more of that with Harbaugh in charge and the game in the Big House.
4. Oregon at Michigan State, Sept. 12. Sexy intersectional matchup played a key role in the 2014 season: the Ducks won in Eugene, launching Marcus Mariota’s Heisman Trophy bid and helping Oregon to a place in the College Football Playoff. The loss put the Spartans behind the Playoff 8-ball, and they stayed there after losing in November to Ohio State. Both teams are ranked in the USA Today top six heading into this season, so the matchup again carries a heavy payload. First huge test for Oregon transfer QB Vernon Adams.
5. Michigan State at Ohio State, Nov. 21. The two programs have alternated delivering haymakers to each other since Meyer came to Columbus in 2012. Buckeyes won the first meeting 17-16. Spartans won the next one, a shocking upset in the Big Ten title game that kept Ohio State out of the BCS Championship Game. And last year the Buckeyes went into Spartan Stadium as a four-point underdog and won, one of the biggest steps in a national championship season. If the ‘dog is going to win for the fifth straight year in this series, Mark Dantonio will be a happy man.
12. Ohio State at Virginia Tech, Sept. 7. The Buckeyes’ one revenge game of 2015 was shaping up as a beatdown, but then star Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa and a couple of key receivers were suspended. This still should be an OSU victory, but the task has gotten tougher. On the road, Labor Day night – Ohio State has to show up ready.
15. Michigan at Utah, Sept. 3. The sport lucked into the perfect season lid-lifter. The Most Intriguing Coach in the country makes his Michigan coaching debut on Thursday night, on the road, against a quality opponent. And that quality opponent could reveal a stealth Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Devontae Booker.
20. Michigan State at Michigan, Oct. 17. The Ohio State series hasn’t been as vexing for Wolverines fans in recent years as this one. The Spartans have owned Big Brother, winning six of the last seven, with the last four victories all by a minimum of two touchdowns. Half a season before Harbaugh can get to Meyer, he has to deal with the very difficult Mark Dantonio.
22. Penn State at Ohio State, Oct. 17. Between the opener at Virginia Tech and the closing tandem of Michigan State and Michigan, there isn’t much stress for the defending national champions. Except maybe this game. The Nittany Lions pushed the Buckeyes into double overtime last year, and James Franklin’s second team should be improved. Worth keeping an eye on.