The start of the college football season is an exciting time full of possibilities and rivalries, making it one of the most entertaining times for dedicated college football fans. September marks the beginning of a new year, with big games between powerhouse teams taking place throughout the month that can set up contenders for playoff berths. If you want to witness thrilling matchups between some of the most revered teams in Division I college football, tune into these marquee games in September.
Hands down, one of the most highly anticipated games to kick start your Labor Day is the electrifying matchup between LSU and Florida State on Sunday night. This is a repeat of last year’s thrilling season opener, where the Seminoles held off a late LSU charge in New Orleans to win by one-point, thanks to a blocked extra point. This year, the stakes have escalated even further, with the game taking place in the buzzing city of Orlando and both teams ranked inside the AP Top 10. Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis and Tigers signal-caller Jayden Daniels are both considered Heisman hopefuls.
Florida State, revitalized after their first 10-win season since 2016 and returning with most of their formidable lineup, is set to return to being a national contender. The Seminoles are viewed as potential heavy hitters in this year’s College Football Playoff race, and this game will be a true test of their credentials.
On the other side, LSU, under the visionary guidance of Brian Kelly in his second year, also bounds into this season following a successful 10-win haul. The Tigers will be ready to start their campaign with a strong statement. The early chatter suggests this game could significantly impact the College Football Playoff landscape.
When we think of the blue bloods of college football, Texas and Alabama are among the first teams that come to mind. This year, both schools bring in stacked rosters with national championship aspirations. The game promises a fascinating dynamic, with Alabama keen to reclaim its place at the pinnacle of college football while sorting out its quarterback quandary, further complicated by Tyler Buchner’s transfer from Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, Texas is entering its final year in the Big 12, starved of a CFP appearance and bereft of conference titles since 2009. Coach Steve Sarkisian, a former Alabama offensive coordinator known for his strategic playcalling and adept recruiting, will be under pressure to deliver results.
Last year’s match saw Texas vastly outperform Alabama until quarterback Bryce Young turned the tables. Combined with Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers’ critical first-half injury, the Crimson Tide rallied to beat Texas. This year, a road victory for the Longhorns would place them squarely on the CFP radar and create further uncertainty around Alabama’s future. On the other hand, a convincing win for Alabama would provide a significant momentum boost entering SEC play, especially considering a home schedule that favors the Tide with matchups against Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU.
Ohio State will travel to Sound Bend to face off against Notre Dame for the first time since 1996. Fresh off a season-opening victory over Notre Dame last year, Ohio State will surely be chomping to replicate that success.
Ohio State emerges this season with a question mark hanging over the quarterback slot. The tantalizing competition between Kyle McCord and Devin Brown to fill the shoes of C.J. Stroud is set to add an exciting layer of intrigue to this road trip, with McCord slated to get the nod. Both have shined in camp, but a showdown against Notre Dame is a different kettle of fish.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame, under the shrewd leadership of Marcus Freeman, will present a formidable challenge, especially with Wake Forest import Sam Hartman commanding the field. Hartman and the Irish shined in their opening game a week ago against Navy, proving they have a considerable quarterback upgrade and a stalwart offensive line that can create big holes for their talented running backs.
Given the bruising defeat to Michigan last year, the Buckeyes have a point to prove, and a win against Notre Dame would certainly elevate their standing in the early playoff conversation. However, the Fighting Irish won’t be a pushover, and their home turf advantage may pose a significant challenge for the tried and tested Ohio State.
Florida State at Clemson, Sept. 23: A game likely to have huge implications on the CFP, it could be the first of two meetings between these teams since they are favored to also square off in the ACC Championship in December.
Ole Miss at Alabama, Sept. 23: A former Alabama offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin returns to Tuscaloosa, this time as the head coach of the Rebels. Kiffin has high hopes for Ole Miss after a promising first season and has his sights set on winning the brutal SEC West. For those dreams to come true, he must deliver here.
Utah at Oregon State, Sept. 29: The FanDuel NCAAF Odds are no longer against the Beavers; there is reason to believe Oregon State can win the Pac 12. Ranked in the top 20 to open the season for the first time since 2001, Oregon State will host the team to win the Pac-12 title the last two seasons, Utah. It will be a stellar quarterback matchup between Cameron Rising and D.J. Uiagalelei.