We are already halfway through the month of August, and in just two weeks, the 2011 college football season will kick off across the country. After looking through ticket sales for every game during the upcoming season, we have found the top 25 best games* that all fans should circle on their calendars.
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. USC Trojans
October 22 at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $405.88
The rivalry between Notre Dame and USC dates back to 1926. Every year the game draws national attention, and in 2011, it will garner even more interest. For the first time in 21 years, the two teams will play under the lights in prime time at Notre Dame Stadium.
2. Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
October 8 at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, TX
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $391.39
Known as the Red River Rivalry, the game between the University of Texas and Oklahoma University is one of the most heated in college football. The game is played every season at the Cotton Bowl and will most certainly be sold out in 2011.
3. Michigan Wolverines vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
September 10 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $328.21
The Fighting Irish are not short on rivalries, the Michigan Wolverines being one of them. In the last 12 games that Notre Dame and Michigan have played, each team has won six times. Overall, Michigan leads the head-to-head match-up, winning 22 times to Notre Dame's 15 wins.
4. Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
October 8 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, OH
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $317.81
Now that the Nebraska Cornhuskers have moved to the Big Ten conference, their game against the Ohio State Buckeyes will quickly become one of the sport's best rivalries. Despite the recent NCAA violations that have tarnished OSU football, their fan base is still one of the largest and most loyal.
5. Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
September 10 at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $299.50
After Penn State and Alabama renewed their rivalry last season in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide will venture to Happy Valley in 2011. Alabama is a preseason favorite to win the National Championship, and this could turn out to be the biggest game for Penn State all season.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Michigan State Spartans
September 17 at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, IN
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $289.71
Ah, the Fighting Irish again. Last year, Michigan State handed the Fighting Irish one of the toughest losses in recent history, when they executed a game-ending touchdown on a fake field goal in overtime. Notre Dame will be at home in 2011, where they hope to get their revenge.
7. Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
October 1 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $288.40
Their game against the Wisconsin Badgers is another new rivalry for the Cornhuskers after joining the Big Ten. As soon as Nebraska announced their move to the conference, many believed this was the most natural rivalry. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema agreed and called the Big Ten offices asking them to schedule Nebraska as a last game rival on a permanent basis. This year's October 1st game has a lot of hype to live up to.
8. Cowboys Classic: Oregon Ducks vs. LSU Tigers
September 3 at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $286.86
The Cowboys Classic is the biggest game of the opening week of college football. The Oregon Ducks lost in last season's National Championship game but are hoping to get off to a good start in 2011. The game will be played in a neutral location at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, but because of the easier commute from Louisiana, LSU fans will most likely fill the majority of the massive stadium.
9. Florida State Seminoles vs. Oklahoma Sooners
September 17 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, FL
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $227.66
The Oklahoma Sooners are the preseason's top ranked team, and their visit to Doak Campbell Stadium will be the first real test of 2011. If the Seminoles are able to knock off OU, they will immediately be pushed into the conversation as a possible National Championship contender.
10. West Virginia Mountaineers vs. LSU Tigers
September 24 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, WV
Average Price per Ticket Sold: $207.57
The Big East Conference is the weakest BCS conference in college football, but West Virginia is annually among the Top 25 teams in country. Their game against SEC power LSU in Morgantown this fall will be the biggest game for the Mountaineers in 2011.
Remaining Top 25 Games
||Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. South Florida Bulls
||Navy Midshipmen vs. Army Black Knights
||Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Arkansas Razorbacks
||Texas A&M Aggies vs. Texas Longhorns
||Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines
||Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
||Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Air Force Falcons
||Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
||Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
||Miami Hurricanes vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
||Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
||Florida State Seminoles vs. Miami Hurricanes
||Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Pittsburgh Panthers
||Texas Longhorns vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
||Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats
* Rankings are based on the average ticket price of games during the 2011 NCAA Division I Football season that have had at least 125 tickets sold as of 8/12/2011 at 5 p.m. EST on the TicketNetwork Exchange.