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Key early season matchups in college FB

Michigan State safety Jairus Jones runs a drill

Michigan State safety Jairus Jones runs a drill during an NCAA college football practice. (Aug. 6, 2012) (Credit: AP )

Here are some August/September matchups the country should pay attention to.

August 31
Boise State at Michigan State: This is a make-or-break game, especially for Boise State. A loss for the Broncos means no shot at a national championship and probably no BCS bowl berth.  Can Michigan State get it going early without Kirk Cousins?


September 1
Michigan vs. Alabama (in Arlington, Texas): Michigan, in year two of the Brady Hoke regime, will face its toughest challenge of the year in Week 1. Alabama took some serious losses on defense and will miss RB Trent Richardson. On a neutral field, this game might be close.

September 8
Georgia at Missouri: This could be the first upset special of the season. Missouri, making its SEC debut, has a powerful offense. Georgia, considered a national title contender by most, needs to prove it can beat quality teams on the road.

September 15
Alabama at Arkansas: The Bobby Petrino fiasco hit the Razorbacks hard and fast. Can they recover in time to deal with Alabama? As stated previously, the Crimson Tide lost some big time firepower from last season’s championship team.

Notre Dame at Michigan State: The Fighting Irish need to get off a big start and could be 3-0 assuming they get past Navy and Purdue the first two weeks. The good news in this game is that they’ll get suspended QB Tommy Rees back just in time to face a strong Spartans’ squad.

USC at Stanford: Matt Barkley against an Andrew Luck-less Stanford team. This looks like it might be an easy one for the Trojans. Don’t bet on it.

September 20
BYU at Boise State: Playing as an Independent isn’t easy. It usually means some tough road games. This will be the first of a few tough road trips for BYU. Winning at Boise State will boost the Cougar profile very quickly.

September 29
Ohio State at Michigan State: Michigan State must be a glutton for punishment with this early-season schedule. They’ll be facing an Ohio State squad that isn’t bowl eligible and will be looking to play giant-killer.