SAN JOSE -- The 2012 college football season all boils down to this:
That shapes up as the single biggest day of the regular season, with what amounts to a pair of semifinal matchups: Oregon at USC and Alabama at LSU.
The SEC showdown is set for 5 p.m. (Pacific) on CBS. The kickoff time and network for the Pac-12 collision have not been announced, but prime time seems like a good bet.
And if those two games aren't enough to lure you onto the couch, the first Saturday in November also features Missouri at Florida, Nebraska at Michigan State, Oklahoma State at Kansas State, TCU at West Virginia and San Diego State at Boise State.
That's just one day -- the biggest day, yes, but just one day.
If we broaden our view to include all 13 weekends, these 10 games shape up as the biggest of the season:
(Rankings are AP preseason)
Sept. 1: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan (in Arlington, Tex.). We won't have to wait long to find out if Michigan is for real. First regular-season meeting between the two storied programs.
Sept. 1: Ohio at Penn State. Most anticipated for-all-the-wrong-reasons season opener in college football history.
Sept. 22: No. 8 Michigan at Notre Dame. Even if it's half as good as the '11 classic -- the Wolverines won 35-31 in the final seconds -- it will be one of the best early-season games.
Oct. 6: No. 6 Georgia at No. 9 South Carolina. Winner becomes the frontrunner
Oct. 27: Notre Dame at No. 4 Oklahoma. For the pomp more than significance. Sooners are 1-8 against the Irish, their last win coming in 1956.
Nov. 3: No. 2 Alabama at No. 3 LSU. Obviously.
Nov. 3: No. 5 Oregon at No. 1 USC. Something will have to go very wrong for this to be anything less than the biggest game of the Pac-12 season.
Nov. 8 (Thurs): No. 7 Florida State at No. 16 Virginia Tech. Best chance for loaded FSU to stumble before season finale vs. Florida.
Nov. 17: No. 4 Oklahoma at No. 11 West Virginia. The Sooners could very well be undefeated when they head to Morgantown.
Nov. 24: No. 8 Michigan at No. 18 Ohio State. As if this rivalry needed any fuel, the Big Ten title, a BCS bid and the Heisman Trophy could be on the line.