As the 2013 college football season kicks off, intrigue abounds. Will Johnny (Football) Manziel be suspended for autographing photographs of himself? How did Stanford transform its pocket protectors from academic icons into a football forte? Can Ohio State go undefeated in games that count? Does Oregon need Chip Kelly to outrace its opponents? Most importantly, can anybody beat Alabama (and, if so, who)? Before the season answers those questions, check out the top college football destinations in 2013 — the games college football fans want to see (if not in person, at least on TV).
- Georgia at Clemson, Saturday, August 31 (8 pm ET, ABC). This opening weekend, top-10 matchup is strong enough to attract ESPN’s College GameDay crew. If you visit Death Valley for the game, bring your golf clubs; there are over a dozen public golf courses within 20 miles of Clemson’s center, including the on-campus John E. Walker Golf Course.
- Alabama at Texas A&M, Saturday, September 14 (2:30 pm CT, CBS). Johnny Football led A&M to a 29-24 upset of Alabama last year, the Crimson Tide’s only loss of the season. Should he indeed be “the dumbest player to ever play college football,” as ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit hypothesized, the Aggies probably won’t repeat their success. Still, Kyle Field in College Station, TX, is one of the top college football stadiums in the country, so if you attend the game, you’ve got that going for you, which is nice.
- Oklahoma vs. Texas, Saturday, October 12 (TBA).
The Red River Shootout at the historic Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX, is a big draw every year, a border-state rivalry that stirs passions regardless of the teams’ records. It also coincides with (and is surrounded by) the Texas State Fair, complete with pig races, Midway attractions, fried foods, and so much more that the football game may be the least of your fun.
- Florida vs. Georgia, Saturday, November 2 (3:30 pm ET, CBS). No longer (officially) promoted as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” the Gators-Dawgs matchup at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL, attracts annual crowds approaching 80,000 people, some of whom may imbibe while tailgating. You’ll want to make it to the game, though, since it features two potential top-10 teams.
- Oregon at Stanford, Thursday, November 7 (6 pm PT, ESPN). Kick off a Bay Area weekend early with this top-5 showdown. Stanford and Oregon are both enjoying great success lately, and this game will likely determine the PAC-12 North Division winner — and possibly a slot in the BCS Championship Game.
- Ohio State at Michigan, Saturday, November 30 (TBA). “The Game,” held this year in Ann Arbor, MI, was recently voted college football’s greatest rivalry. Records don’t matter in this affair; 11 different times, one team has entered The Game undefeated, only to lose.
Whatever college team you root for (or against), you can save on all your weekend getaways when you make reservations through Travel Plus. What’s your top college football game destination in 2013? Leave us a reply!