In a perfect world, I would traverse the country watching the biggest college football games each week. There are only two problems with that plan: I hate to fly. And I hate to drive even more than I hate to fly.
Still, if I could just travel Mississippi to watch the best games each week I would. So here are my must-see games for the 2012 college football season:
Mississippi College Choctaws at Millsaps Majors (Aug. 30) The "Backyard Brawl" is a must-see, small school, short-distance rivalry between Millsaps and Mississippi College. The Choctaws pulled out a close 33-27-overtime victory last season. Expect another classic this year.
Jackson State Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs (Sept. 1) Mississippi State opened with Jackson State in 2009. The Bulldogs won that game in a 45-7 blowout. Consider it a win for the Tigers if they can keep this game close heading into the fourth quarter.
UTEP Miners at Ole Miss Rebels (Sept. 8) This is going to sound mean, hurtful or just sad, but Rebels fans might want to see this game. Ole Miss could equal last year's win total in just two games this season.
Texas Longhorns at Ole Miss Rebels (Sept. 15) The eyes of Texas will be upon Oxford as the Texas Longhorns travel to Mississippi to face Ole Miss. The Rebels could shock the nation with a win.
North Alabama Lions at Delta State Statesmen (Sept. 22) Delta State pulled off a dramatic win over North Alabama last season. The Lions were the number one ranked team in Division II when the second ranked Statesmen survived overtime to pull a 30-24 victory.
Louisville Cardinals at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (Sept. 29) Until Louisville bolted Conference USA for the Big East, they were one of USM's biggest conference rivals. The last time these to former conference foes meet was in 2010 in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl when the Cardinals beat the Golden Eagles 31-28.
Boise State Broncos at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (Oct. 6) No small school has been more of a thorn in the side of the BCS than Boise State. The Broncos have made busting the BCS their goal each year. Because that used to be USM, this is a measuring-stick game.
Bluefield College (Va.) Rams at Belhaven Blazers (Oct. 13) Belhaven celebrates homecoming against Bluefield College. This is the first season of football for Bluefield College since Thanksgiving Day 1941 when the football program was shut down for WWII. The Rams won their last game 30-7 over Rio Grande (Community College?) Before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at Jackson State Tigers (Oct. 20) This is the first of three games between Mississippi's historically black colleges and universities. Jackson State defeated the Delta Devils 17-16 in their last meeting when MVSU scored early in the fourth quarter making it a one-point game. The Tigers had to hold on for the victory last season.
West Alabama Tigers at Delta State Statesmen (Oct. 27) Delta State hosts West Alabama for homecoming this season. The Statesmen pulled out a close 36-34 victory over the Tigers last year.
East Texas Baptist Tigers at Mississippi College Choctaws (Oct. 27) Homecoming festivities also come to Mississippi College as they host East Texas Baptist. The Lions defeated the Choctaws 34-21 at home in 2011.
Austin Kangaroos at Millsaps Majors (Nov. 3) Millsaps celebrates homecoming against Austin College. The Majors defeated the 'Roos last season 33-27. (How many football teams have Kangaroo as a mascot?)
Texas A&M Aggies at Mississippi State Bulldogs (Nov. 3) I have to put this game on the list just for Todd who is an A&M grad and Donna who loves MSU. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this game.
Alcorn State Braves at Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (Nov. 3) This game was no contest last season as the Braves blew away MVSU 39-14. (While we are at it, can we get all three teams to play for a trophy like the service academies?)
Alabama A&M Bulldogs at Jackson State Tigers (Nov 10) The Bulldogs tied with the Tigers and Alabama State last season in SWAC East division at 7-2. Jackson State could use another win like last season's 34-6 victory.
Jackson State Tigers at Alcorn State Braves (Nov 17) This rivalry has the chance to get really good media coverage because Alcorn moved the game from Jackson to Lorman. The Tigers have owned the Braves since 2010, including last year's blistering 51-7 win.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at Ole Miss Rebels (Nov 24) Can Ole Miss win one SEC game before the season ends? Can Mississippi State make it four in a row? The Rebels haven't won an SEC game in two years, and the Bulldogs have not lost to Ole Miss since 2008, stomping them 31-3 last year.