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Looking for the state of Florida’s top 10 college football games

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To go forward, the college football teams of Florida will have to travel in a lot of directions.

South, as when FSU hosts Charleston Southern.

North, as in when Florida hosts North Texas.

Farther north, as in when USF hosts Northern Illinois.

Yeah, yeah. There are some soft touches on the team’s schedules. Florida plays Umass and Presbyterian. USF plays Towson State. Miami plays Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic and Appalachian State. Even FSU has Syracuse.

But there are keeper games, too. Games you want to play attention to.

Games like these: The top 10 games ahead for Florida schools.

1. Clemson at FSU (Oct. 29):
The ACC title will once again be decided when Deshaun Watson’s team plays against Dalvin Cook’s. The best argument for Sean Maguire as FSU’s quarterback was the game he played against Clemson two years ago. Can home field advantage make the difference for FSU? We’ll see.

2. Miami at Notre Dame (Oct. 29): The rivalry is back. Once, they referred to it as Catholics vs. Convicts. It’s more sedate now, but if the Hurricanes are really to be different during the Mark Richt era, this will help to show it.

3. Florida at FSU (Nov. 26): Florida is still fighting to catch up with FSU, which has won the last three meetings. But the Gators will have a good defense as they play this year’s game. Can they keep from being worn down by the Seminoles?

4. Florida at Tennessee (Sept. 24): If there was a signature win in Jim McElwain’s first season, it was the comeback win over the Vols. Can Florida, once again searching for a new quarterback, do it again? It may have a lot to say about the Gators’ season.

5. FSU at Miami (Oct. 8): The last two years, the Hurricanes have played one of their better games against FSU. With new coach Richt and quarterback Brad Kaaya, Miami lurks as a potential threat to FSU. Is Miami’s defense good enough, though?

6. LSU at Florida (Oct. 8): Once again, LSU running back Leonard Fournette looms as a threat to the Gators’ defense. Some expect the Tigers to threaten for this year’s national championship. Can the Gators muster enough offense to threaten?

7. FSU at USF (Sept. 24): One of the biggest wins in USF history came when B.J. Daniels led an upset in 2009. With Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack, the Bulls will try it again. As always, the question is if USF can slow down the FSU offense and stay in the game.

8. UCF at USF (Nov. 26): The War on I-4 should take on additional meaning with new UCF coach Scott Frost. The Bulls should still have an advantage as far as personnel, but the Knights seem to be trending upward.

9. FSU vs. Ole Miss (Sept. 5): It’s a pesky opener for FSU, which plays the game in Orlando. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly is expected to keep the Rebels in the nation’s top 10. Ole Miss does have inexperience on its offensive line, so the Seminoles must take advantage.

10. UCF at Michigan (Sept. 10): It gets hard early for the Knights, who face Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines in Frost’s second game. That’s a tough chore. UCF will try to keep the game respectable.

Honorable mention: FAU at FIU, Georgia vs. Florida, FSU vs. Louisville, FSU vs. North Carolina, North Carolina at Miami, USF vs. Temple, South Carolina vs. Florida.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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