Thursday, Aug 16, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

David Briggs

Ranking the best college football games of 2018

  • Ohio-St-Spring-Game-Football-8

    Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will coach the Buckeyes in two of the biggest local college football games — against Michigan and at Penn State.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • SPT-UMFB26-40

    Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will try to avoid becoming the first UM coach to lose his first four games against Ohio State this year.

    BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

The other day, I received an invitation to a September wedding.

Which reminded of something important.

Time to buy a thoughtful gift? Nah, it’s time for our annual public-service list of the best college football games of local interest.

With invitations to fall weddings, parties, and reunions on the way, we’re back to to help you decide whether to accept with pleasure or decline with regret. Hey, a person can get married more than once, but how many times is Miami coming to the Glass Bowl? (Note: Do not take our advice!)

Here goes:

SPT-UMFB26-40

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will try to avoid becoming the first UM coach to lose his first four games against Ohio State this year.

BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge

1. Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 24: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 15 times ... where do I get my tickets? We’ve seen the same story in this great rivalry unfold on loop, with the Buckeyes beating Michigan in 15 of their past 17 meetings. Yet we can’t look away, the final Saturday in November remaining the one day a year where our region stops and any non-football invitations really can be declined without regret. This season shapes up no differently as Jim Harbaugh — in what has the feel of a now-or-never year — tries to avoid becoming the first Michigan coach to lose his first four games against the Buckeyes.

2. Ohio State at Penn State, Sept. 29: This matchup has decided the Big Ten East Division — and, for that matter, league champion — the past two seasons, and the early guess here is it will again this year. 

3. Miami at Toledo, Sept. 15: Toledo athletic director Mike O’Brien is no stranger to football scheduling coups, having brought a half dozen power-conference programs to town. And that’s to say nothing of his biggest stroke: a “home” game against Ohio State. In an unexplainable transaction the likes of which we never will see again, the Buckeyes ceded Toledo the gate from the schools’ 2009 game in Cleveland, netting UT $3 million. But as far as games in the Glass Bowl go, this is O’Brien’s biggest get yet. Expect a rocking scene for a visit from what should be a top-10 Hurricanes team.

4. Michigan at Notre Dame, Sept. 1: As if Toledo native Shea Patterson’s expected debut under center wasn’t enough, it will come under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium. After a three-year break to see other people, the UM-Notre Dame rivalry is back not a moment too soon.

5. Bowling Green at Toledo, Oct. 6: Kudos to ESPN — the proprietor of the MAC’s soul — for leaving this one alone. The best rivalry in the MAC is back where it belongs this season — on a Saturday afternoon in October.

6. Ohio State at Michigan State, Nov. 10: Buckeyes fans shouldn’t ride too high after Ohio State’s 48-3 dusting of Michigan State last season. Five of the schools’ past six showdowns came down to the fourth quarter, and with the Spartans returning 19 starters from a 10-win team, the safe money is on another white knuckler.

Best of the rest: 7. Michigan at Michigan State, Oct. 20; 8: Toledo at Northern Illinois, Nov. 7; 9. Ohio State at TCU in Arlington, Texas, Sept. 15; 10. Wisconsin at Michigan, Oct. 13; 11. Toledo at Western Michigan, Oct. 25; 12. Nebraska at Michigan, Sept. 22.

Contact David Briggs at: dbriggs@theblade.com419-724-6084, or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.

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