In honor of Halloween and the release of the first College Football Playoff Top 25, we have decided to consider the scariest regular season game for each of the top 10 teams in the first ranked selection committee. These games are not necessarily the best match any team faces, as every college football run reminds you that seasonal losses can come from unexpected sources.
No. 1 Alabama: No. 3 of the LSU (November 3)
It's finally time to see what Alabama can do against a worthy rival. The team of Nick Saban was not even challenged when it came to an 8-0 record. You've probably heard that Tua Tagovailoa has not yet thrown a pass in the fourth quarter. There is an excellent chance that will change on Saturday. The LSU has made impressive victories against Georgia and the state of Mississippi, letting the defense playmakers – the securities that Grant Delpit and John Battle have brought together for eight interceptions – make the life of Tagovailoa a little more difficult. Both teams have been preparing for this game for two weeks, and the crowd in Death Valley could play a role if the tigers score earlier.
If the LSU can avoid being stormed in the first half, Devin White's return from targeting suspension will help tremendously. Alabama also plays in the Mississippi State and Auburn in late November, but these are less scary as they will be in the Bryant Denny Stadium. LSU at night could prove to be a trick for the Crimson Tide.
# 2 Clemson: at Boston College # 22 (Nov. 10)
The undefeated tigers were not as immaculately dominant in 2018 as Alabama. The Crimson Tide's only win in less than four touchdowns was a 22-point win over a Texas A & M team that beat Clemson for two (Clemson did not have the Aggies on the road and Alabama, but anyway). Clemson barely escaped Syracuse in one afternoon when quarterback Trevor Lawrence was injured.
What Dabo Swinney's team has over Alabama is a much easier path to an unbeaten season. While Alabama faced three top-15 teams in their last four games in Bill Connelly's S & P + rating, and possibly a fourth in the SEC championship game, Clemson could roll to 13-0 without seeing anyone in the top 30 Chestnut Hill in the face of Boston College is a scary trip that could endanger the season of the tigers. Clemson's last six street games against BC include two defeats and two wins with one result. This is the best team the Eagles have had since 2008. BC is led by Stud leading AJ Dillon and a playmaking defense that leads the ACC in bags intercepting.
# 3 LSU: No. 20 Texas A & M (November 24)
There is no scariest opponent in the country (and perhaps the last decade) than the 2018 version of Alabama. So as not to talk about the same game twice, we focus on another opponent of the LSU. Regardless of what happens on Saturday, the tigers should blow their next two opponents (Arkansas and Rice) and put up a tough road game to end the year. A & M is at home this year with 1: 4 at home. The only loss is due to a failed two-point conversion to Clemson. Quarterback Kellen Moon and Trayveon Williams are running back, a strong backfield duo for Jimbo Fisher's Aggies, and Jace Sternberger may be the nation's best end. When LSU defeats Alabama, it becomes a classic disappointment point. If the LSU loses, A & M may be second in SEC West. In any case, this is an impressive excursion for the tigers.
No. 4 Notre Dame: in the northwest (3rd of November)
The Irish are four victories away from imprisoning a playoff spot. They are also a slip-up that is unlikely to be seen from the outside. This makes every game scary for Notre Dame and his fans, especially street tests against Northwestern and USC. The Trojans are the toughest of these teams, according to S & P +, but they are currently staggering with two defeats and a game change. So it's hard to say what your meeting with the Irish on November 24th will look like.
Several factors make Northwestern a choice. The Wildcats won four consecutive seasons on Saturday including Michigan State and Wisconsin. They lead the Big Ten West and have emphasized that they can play easily this week without having conferences in line. In other words, Notre Dame will be the only team that has anything to lose at Ryan Field. Finally, Northwestern has won two wins against Notre Dame and defeated the Irish as 27-point outsiders in 1995 and 17-point dogs in 2014. It's giving the Irish, who are 4/11 against Power 5 opponents, a frightening night in the last five of November.
# 5 Michigan: Ohio (Nov. 24)
Apart from a slow start to Northwestern a month ago, Michigan has been superb since being in South Bend just before the season opener. If the Wolverines prevail, they are in an excellent location to meet their first playoff. There are two challenges ahead of a possible test of the Big Ten titles: a visit by a dangerous Penn State team this weekend and a trip to Columbus to face the hated rivals. Michigan should be able to deal with the Nittany Lions at home, which offers a massive opportunity against the state of Ohio.
The pressure will be applied to both teams as the loser is excluded from the playoff competition (assuming neither of them slip up). However, this is a particularly horrific game for Michigan, which will come one step ahead of a game in the Big Ten East and the higher ranking. The Wolverines have not won since 2000 in Columbus. If Michigan wants to secure a place among the top four, many demons must be defeated.
No. 6 Georgia: vs. Auburn (Nov. 10)
The game on Saturday in Lexington is a huge one on paper. It's No. 6 against No. 9, with the winner receiving the SEC's Eastern Crown. But how scary is it really for Georgia? Kentucky barely survived Missouri last weekend and was not impressive against Vandy the week before. Meanwhile, Georgia looked as if it had beaten in Florida in 2017. Their offense in Kentucky will not be too much for the fantastic defense, but Kentucky's 109th rank (according to S & P +) will hardly score on the Bulldogs.
The slightly harder matchup is a week later when Auburn comes to the oldest rivalry in the South to Athens. A top-10 pre-season ranking has become a disappointing season for Auburn after three defeats. If there is ever a time for the meeting, this would be against Georgia (or Alabama) with the chance to eliminate the bulldogs from the playoffs. In 2017, Auburn devastated the SEC, which defeated Georgia and Alabama after two early losses in November. The defense of the tigers is good enough to stay close to Georgia in '18.
No. 7 Oklahoma: No. 13 West Virginia (November 23)
Oklahoma still has some tough games to play to make the Big 12 championship game, and each one of them is important, as a single loss is likely to eliminate the Sooners from their last four calls. Saturday's game in Lubbock and rival Oklahoma State's visit the following week are possible trap games, but the big test takes place in the final week of the regular season. Then Oklahoma travels to Morgantown on a Friday night, a Thanksgiving weekend with Will Grier and West Virginia. The mountaineers are one of the few teams in the country who have hung out with Kyler Murray. They are being attacked to defeat the Sooners in six games.
# 8 Washington State: vs. Washington (November 23)
Washington State is the only surviving Pac-12 team in the playoff race. In order to get there, it has to win and the teams have to follow it up in the first ranked matches in November. This first part will not be easy in a conference that seems to be full of land mines. The Cougars must first play games against Cal and Arizona, who defeated Washington and Oregon last weekend. Provided that they can, visiting the huskies is a scary way to end the regular season. Washington's strong defense has the defensive back to challenge Gardnew Minshew and the high-flying Wazzu attack. The Cougars have not won the Apple Cup since 2012.
No. 9 Kentucky: vs. No. 6 Georgia (November 3)
Kentucky has the opportunity this weekend to show it's the real deal. If the Wildcats beat the defending national runners-up, it shows they really belong to the nation's elite. They had the SEC East in their hands and would bring their big win against Florida and Mississippi State earlier this year to a big win. It will be Kentucky's best performance of the year. Georgia is scary when it plays like against Florida. Jake Fromm takes care of the ball, D'Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield run effectively and the defense plays. Josh Allen and the Kentucky defense should be able to hold their own against Fromm & Co., but Benny Snell must have an incredible afternoon for the Wildcats attacks to do enough to win.
# 10 State of Ohio: in the state of Michigan (Nov. 10)
Despite his embarrassing loss to Purdue, the state of Ohio has everything it needs to win the playoff. The Buckeyes simply can not be caught looking at November 24 and the game in Michigan. Most likely is the spotdown in the state of Michigan, where a solid Spartans team with a new quarterback OSU could cause problems. The decision of Mark Dantonio to put Brian Lewerke in favor of the newcomer Rocky Lombardi, met perfectly Purdue. Lombardi threw 318 yards and two touchdowns in a Spartan victory. There are many talents in the MSU squad, though Felton Davis III is in the lead this season. Two of Buckeyes' last three visits to East Lansing have also helped Ohio win the same score of 17-16. Apart from the blowout defeat last season, Mark Dantonio always seems to be preparing his team for the state of Ohio.