Previewing the Top Games of 2012: Week Nine

Great games between Michigan State and Wisconsin last year. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

9 more weeks to go until the college football season starts. We're also into the 9th week of top games to preview for the upcoming 2012 season.

This is a pretty unimpressive week on a the national scene which means the Notre Dame trip to Oklahoma is probably going to get a lot of attention.

Friday

Cincinnati at Louisville

There's a lot of talk about Louisville winning the Big East this year but they'll likely have to go through Cincinnati to get something like that done. The Bearcats will be without a Brian Kelly-era quarterback for the first time this year but Cincinnati has taken the last 4 games in this rivalry.

The last three games between these teams at Louisville have all been decided by 8 points or less. The fourth before that was a 70-7 shellacking by the Cardinals in 2004.

Saturday

Florida at Georgia

The World's Largest Cocktail Party is coming to Jacksonville once again. This has largely been a Georgia series (the Bulldogs hold a 8 game lead) with two notable stretches: the early 1950's to early 60's and in modern times.

In fact, since 1990 Georgia has won just 4 games in this rivalry. That includes last year's 24-20 Florida loss.

The Gators have taken 18 out of the last 22 games but are likely to be the underdog again in 2012.

Michigan State at Wisconsin

Remember these two wild games played last year? Michigan State won the first regular season game on a last-second Hail Mary and then Wisconsin came back in the B1G title game and rallied with two 4th quarter touchdown drives to secure their trip to the Rose Bowl.

No team has won two in a row in this series over the last 8 meetings stretching back to 2003. If you believe that pattern the Spartans should take this year's contest.

Ohio State at Penn State

Not many are expecting Penn State to win their division and Ohio State is obviously on probation for 2012. With that said, this game really doesn't have a whole lot of impact in the B1G but it's been a close series and one of the more entertaining games of a weak week for college football.

The Buckeyes lost last year at home but have taken 4 out of the last 6 overall in the series.

Michigan at Nebraska

These two long-time Midwestern powers will be making only their 8th meeting in history in 2012, and only the 4th meeting since 1962.

Last year in Nebraska's first season in the B1G, the Wolverines gave the Cornhuskers a rude welcome with a 45-17 whoopin' at the Big House.

Michigan has only played in Lincoln once before (way back in 1911) so this will be a very historic game in 2012.

TCU at Oklahoma State

TCU is making the transition to the Big 12 this year and that means their first game against Okie State since 1993. Neither of these teams are thought to be serious conference contenders, but they'll be near the top and in the running.

NC State at North Carolina

North Carolina has a comfortable lead in the series against NC State, but the Tar Heels have not played well in recent years. Would you believe that the Wolfpack have won 5 straight in this series?

Well they have and North Carolina will need to end that streak to make some noise in the ACC. Also, this might be one of the more important yet underrated ACC games of the season.

Tennessee at South Carolina

In a normal week this might not make the cut for the top games, but there's the chance that Tennessee actually improves in 2012 and this one is important in the SEC.

Historically the series has been all-Tennessee but they've lost 2 in a row, 3 of the last 4, and 4 of the last 7 out of only 6 total losses to the Gamecocks since 1903.

Texas A&M at Auburn

This will be only the third meeting all-time between these teams. They played two games in Dallas in 1911, and 1986---so it's been a while.

Which games are you looking forward to?

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