Michigan-Notre Dame among half-dozen most pivotal games to watch in college football this season

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watches players warm up for the Wolverines’ game against Ohio State in Ann Arbor on Nov. 25. Harbaugh is 28-11 since taking over the Wolverines. While that’s a clear improvement from where Michigan was, it’s a bit underwhelming considering the hype and expectations that accompanied his arrival. (AP photo)

By NOAH TRISTER
AP Sports Writer
Remember last year, when everyone was eyeing the season-opening Alabama-Florida State game as one of the most anticipated matchups?
The third-ranked Seminoles lost that game and several more, barely finishing with a winning record.
Even late in the season, a huge showdown between two top teams might not mean as much in hindsight. Consider the Iron Bowl between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn. The Crimson Tide lost but still went on to win the national title.
So predicting the most important games of the regular season is a tricky proposition, but with that caveat out of the way, there are several matchups that already stand out when looking through this year’s schedule. Here are a few of those games to watch in 2018:

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UCLA at Oregon (Nov. 3)
Chip Kelly’s debut season at UCLA includes a trip to Oregon to face the Ducks. Even if neither team turns out to be a title threat in the Pac-12, this should be quite a scene when the star coach takes on his former team. See also: Dan Mullen and Florida playing at Mississippi State on Sept. 29.

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Auburn at Georgia (Nov. 10)
These Southeastern Conference rivals split two meetings three weeks apart toward the end of last season. Auburn won 40-17 in November, only for Georgia to take the rematch 28-7 in the SEC championship game. There’s every possibility that this matchup could impact the title race in both SEC divisions.