I don't think there's a more exciting time on a college campus than the week of a big football game. Whether its Homecoming week, playing the big rival, trying to make it into the postseason or the home opener, the surrounding area just seems a little more alive.
Living in the Dallas area, we are fortunate to experience this to various degrees throughout the year. The CJ Wilson/Yu Darvish matchup between the Angels and Rangers had the town buzzing. A Monday Night Football Cowboy home game (like the Bears game in a few weeks) will have people talking all week prior as the anticipation builds. A Mavericks playoff series dominates the local news. SMU and TCU charges up local alumni from both sides. Heck, I'm fairly certain most of the high schools around here have one or two matchups a year that seem like do or die to their respective fanbases.
This week, Alabama and Michigan are facing off in Cowboy Stadium. The past few years, Jerry Jones has put together a marquee matchup in the first week of the season, but this one seems special. No disrespect to LSU/Oregon last year or BYU/Oklahoma and TCU/Oregon State of previous years, but this years Cowboys Classic seems to have extra oomph. Alabama has the second most national championships and is the current reigning champ. Michigan is tied for third on the "total national championships" list and is college football winningest program all time. Bo and the Bear, Shoelace versus the vaunted Alabama defense, maize and crimson...it's all some people want to talk about it. This matchup of top ten teams will have my full attention this Saturday night.
Other games of note: South Carolina at Vanderbilt (first ESPN game of the season)
Texas A&M at Louisiana Tech (a rebuilding A&M team against an often overlooked Ragin' Cajun squad)
Boise State vs Michigan State (can Boise shock another marquee program?)
North Texas at LSU/Hawaii at USC (who will win by more, the Tigers or the Trojans?)
SMU at Baylor (can Baylor rebuild after losing RG3?)