Adam is CSTV.com's football editor and national football writer. E-mail here!
Over the summer, CSTV.com will be taking a look at the college football schedule, highlighting the top matchups, the can't-miss games and the storylines that make certain contests so intriguing. Check in every Thursday for the heads-up on what games are shaping up to be the best each week, the top offensive matchups, Heisman showcases and a few others that have piqued our interest.
The first weekend in October is filled with so many good games that you wonder why the schedule makers couldn't have moved a few of these can't-miss matchups to a different date so college football fans aren't forced to scuttle between game after game.
Because by the looks of it, there is so much going on that it's going to be impossible to follow it all. Even a few games that didn't make the list - like Notre Dame-UCLA - just happen to kickoff at the exact same time as the biggest game of them all: Florida-LSU.
Kentucky is fashioning itself as a legitimate contender in the SEC East for the first time in what feels like forever, but if the Wildcats want to prove they're not all talk, going into Columbia and beating Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks could serve as their notice of arrival.
It's another tough game for the Vols who, if they aren't careful, could find themselves with their third loss of the year after their season opener on the road against Cal and their week 3 matchup with Florida in The Swamp. Key to the game for Tennessee? How about Erik Ainge passing for over 200 yards. The Vols lost just one game last year in which Ainge passed for that number or more.
Sat., Oct. 6 - Florida at LSU
The biggest matchup of the day takes place in Baton Rouge as the Gators and Tigers meet in what many figure to be a prelude to the SEC Championship game the first weekend in December. The contrast in styles is great. There's Florida's dynamic offense, led by Tim Tebow this year, that will have the unenviable task of trying to move the ball and put up points against LSU's dominating defense. The Gators won a physical game in Gainesville last season thanks to Tebow's two touchdown passes - including that infamous "jump-pass." After that win, the Gators moved to 6-0 for the first time since 1996, the last time they had won the national championship. If the Gators are unbeaten up to this point in the season and knock off LSU, they'll be 6-0 again.
Once again, these two teams figure to battle it out for the ever weak Big 12 North title. Hopefully, Missouri can hold up its end of the bargain this year after the Tigers finished two games behind Nebraska in the final division standings thanks to winning just two of their final seven games. It'll be a good quarterback matchup between Chase Daniel and Sam Keller.
The top running duo in the ACC - C.J. Spiller and James Davis - goes toe-to-toe with the best defense in the conference and what figures to be one of the best units in the nation yet again. But if there's one relative "weakness" with the Hokies defense, it's their ability to stop the run. Rushing defense was the only category in which Tech did not finish first nationally last year - the Hokies were only 11th best.
It was Cincinnati that threw a wrench in Rutgers' BCS hopes last season. Can they do the same to Ray Rice's Heisman hopes this year? The Scarlet Knights were coming off the biggest win in school history after beating Louisville last November. But the Bearcats held Rutgers to just 288 yards of total offense and came away with a 19-point victory at home. Rice had just 54 yards on the ground that evening after he ran for 131 against Louisville. Cincinnati was an underrated defensive team last season, and they're bringing back eight starters. Rice should wrack up the yards in September with the Scarlet Knights' only real competition coming against Maryland. Can he make amends for his worst performance of 2006 and avoid any derailment along his trail to the Heisman with a big game at home against Cincy?
Rivalry of the Week
Sat., Oct. 6 - Oklahoma vs. Texas (Dallas)
The name has officially been changed to the Red River Rivalry at the behest of political correctness, but no matter what's it's called, the annual matchup between the Sooners and Longhorns is always one of the best regular season games of the year. Can Oklahoma and its topnotch rushing attack run right through the Texas defense that was as good as any against the run last season? It'll be tough for the Sooners, considering the Longhorns are bringing back plenty of talent up front. If Oklahoma wants to win this one, how about testing that Texas secondary that was surprisingly bad last year. Only one starter returns to that unit which was ranked 99th against the pass. So whoever wins the Oklahoma starting quarterback job - presumably Joey Halzle - will undoubtedly look to throw the ball to his talented receiving corps.