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The most important games left for the Top 25 teams

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With Week 6 of the college football season already here, it's not too early to look at what big games are left.

Some of the Top 25 teams have key conference games still to play, while for others there's nothing bigger than a traditional rival.

Here are the most important games remaining on the schedule for each of the Top 25 teams.

1. Alabama: Nov. 25 @ Auburn

It's the Iron Bowl, and it isn't close. With LSU, Mississippi State and nearly every other SEC West team reeling, Auburn appears to be the only team with talent on both sides of the ball to challenge Alabama until the SEC championship game. -- Alex Scarborough


2. Clemson: Nov. 11 vs. Florida State

After three impressive wins over top-15 opponents in the first month of the season, it might rightly be said that Clemson's biggest remaining opponent is apathy. The Tigers have proven themselves worthy of playoff talk once again, but look no further than last season when the eventual national champs fell to unranked Pittsburgh. As coach Dabo Swinney preached after last week's win at Virginia Tech, one month doesn't equal a season. By that same rationale, it'd be impossible to completely write off Florida State, the Tigers' longtime nemesis in the ACC Atlantic and -- even in a year in which they appear headed in opposite directions -- still their most important remaining game. -- David Hale


3. Oklahoma: Nov. 4 @ Oklahoma State

Even though a home bout with TCU will loom afterward, Bedlam is still the biggest game left for the Sooners. A win in Stillwater will go a long way toward ensuring Oklahoma will be in the Big 12 title game and can make a push for a second trip to the College Football Playoff. -- Jake Trotter


4. Penn State: Oct. 21 vs. Michigan

If you ask coach James Franklin what the most important game is, he would tell you it's the next one. For our purposes, the most important game is against Michigan. It's easy to say the Ohio State game is the most important, but the Wolverines were the team that spoiled a playoff appearance for Penn State last season. If the Nittany Lions don't get through this game, the Ohio State matchup doesn't mean as much. -- Tom VanHaaren


5. Georgia: Oct. 28 vs. Florida

Beating Mississippi State was big. As was beating Tennessee. The prove-it games aren't over yet for second-year coach Kirby Smart. To truly take control of the SEC East, Georgia has to beat rival Florida in Jacksonville. -- Scarborough


6. Washington: Nov. 25 vs. Washington State

Let's all be very honest with ourselves for just a moment. When the season started, we didn't really think the Apple Cup would decide the Pac-12 North. With both Washington and Washington State undefeated, it's now looking that way. The season finale for Washington at home against Wazzu is also the only game you could point to and think the Huskies might not be heavy favorites -- or favorites at all. Division, conference and playoff hopes could be on the line. -- Edward Aschoff


7. Michigan: Nov. 25 vs. Ohio State

The Ohio State game is the answer, but since it's also the answer for Ohio State (see below), we'll give you a bonus important game and say it's the visit to Penn State on Oct. 21. A loss means the Wolverines will have to win at home against Ohio State and hope the Buckeyes beat the Nittany Lions for a chance to be in the Big Ten championship conversation. A win over Penn State sets up an exciting finish with Wisconsin on Nov. 18, and then Ohio State. -- VanHaaren


8. TCU: Nov. 11 vs. Oklahoma

After their win over Oklahoma State, the Horned Frogs look like the primary challenger to the Sooners for the Big 12 crown. A win over OU would virtually secure a berth in the league's title game and likely have TCU in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation. -- Sam Khan Jr.


9. Wisconsin: Oct. 7 @ Nebraska

This could be the Michigan game, but for the matchup with the Wolverines to matter, the Badgers need to beat Nebraska in Lincoln on Saturday. Wisconsin, which beat the Huskers in overtime last season, had a little trouble against Northwestern, and Nebraska seemed to gain a little confidence against Illinois. Nebraska is also the only other team in the West division that hasn't lost a conference game, so the winner has the inside track to reaching the Big Ten championship game. This might not seem like the obvious answer, but a win over the Huskers gives the Badgers some breathing room later in the season. -- VanHaaren


10. Ohio State: Nov. 25 @ Michigan

It's tough to say any game other than the Michigan game is the most important. The Penn State matchup could have big ramifications, but The Game will always be the biggest game of the year. The way Ohio State won last season, with a controversial fourth-down conversion by J.T. Barrett, will give this game extra hype and extra emotion, if that's possible. The Buckeyes and Wolverines could be playing for a trip to the Big Ten championship. -- VanHaaren


11. Washington State: Oct. 7 @ Oregon

Yes, that season finale against Washington could be for everything, but Saturday's game at Oregon has trap game written all over it. The Ducks are banged up and won't have starting quarterback Justin Herbert. The Ducks won't be favored in Eugene and they shouldn't win this game. But the Cougars are coming off an emotional win over USC, meaning an emotional letdown is possible. After watching Oregon's running game against Cal, any sleeping on these Ducks could be disastrous for Wazzu. -- Aschoff


12. Auburn: Nov. 11 vs. Georgia

The Tigers are back on track after a couple shaky weeks against Clemson and Mercer, and don't be surprised if the roll they're on continues. The real test, however, comes in November when the perennial thorn in Auburn's side, Georgia, comes to town. -- Scarborough


13. Miami: Oct. 7 @ Florida State

The Hurricanes have lost seven straight to Florida State, and head up to Tallahassee this weekend to try to break that losing streak. Though Virginia Tech might appear to be the toughest game left on paper, getting past their biggest rival as the favored team makes the Florida State matchup the most challenging. -- Adelson


14. USC: Oct. 14 vs. Utah

After Wazzu, it was supposed to be a relative cakewalk for the Trojans. However, with injuries piling up, especially on offense, USC is an enigma going forward. The Trojans are on thin ice when it comes to the playoff, but they aren't out of the Pac-12 race at all. That means taking down Utah at home is now the biggest game in conference/divisional play. The game at Notre Dame a week later is big, but USC can lose that game and still make a New Year's Six bowl by winning the Pac-12. Beating Utah puts the Trojans firmly in the Pac-12 South driver's seat. -- Aschoff


15. Oklahoma State: Nov. 4 vs. Oklahoma

Bedlam. The Cowboys can't afford to lose any games from here on out if they want a shot at both a Big 12 title game berth and a chance to play their way back into the playoff conversation. To do either of those things, they have to beat the Sooners. -- Khan Jr.


16. Virginia Tech: Nov. 4 @ Miami

The only ranked team left on the Hokies' schedule is Miami, a road game the first weekend in November that could determine who wins the Coastal Division. But the following week can't be overlooked, either, as Virginia Tech has to play at Georgia Tech. -- Adelson


17. Louisville: Nov. 25 @ Kentucky

A Week 3 loss to Clemson put Louisville's hopes of an ACC title on life support, so let's set aside title aspirations for this discussion. The real big game? That one's all about emotion. A year ago, Louisville was highly regarded, yet still fell to rival Kentucky, giving the neighbors to the east an offseason of bragging rights. Making it two in a row would be an outright disaster. So while there are plenty of big games remaining on the ACC slate, Louisville's most important job this season is to quiet down those Wildcats fans who've had a full year to crow about their win. -- Hale


18. USF: Nov. 24 @ UCF

This season is setting up for perhaps the biggest game ever between USF and UCF, rivals who end the year the day after Thanksgiving. Not only could this game be for the chance to play in the AAC championship game, but the outcome could also determine the Group of 5 representative in the New Year's Six bowl games. -- Adelson


19. San Diego State: Oct. 14 vs. Boise State

The Aztecs are looking to sneak into a New Year's Six bowl from the Group of 5 ranks. To do that, however, they'll have to run the table. Luckily, there aren't many pitfalls in the Mountain West, but that game against Boise State is one that a lot of people will be watching. Win that game and it's smooth sailing, as New Mexico is the only team left on SDSU's schedule that currently has a winning record. -- Aschoff


20. Utah: Oct. 14 @ USC

We're about to learn a lot more about Utah than we have during the first five weeks. The Utes have had a relatively comfortable start, but their remaining strength of schedule is ranked No. 4, according to FPI. The most important of those games is a visit to USC. A win over the Trojans would put Utah on solid footing in the Pac-12 South race. -- Aschoff


21. (tie) Notre Dame: Oct. 21 vs. USC

If Notre Dame gets past North Carolina and enters the USC game at 5-1, that game against the Trojans becomes one of the biggest of the season. The loss to Georgia looks better considering the seventh-ranked Bulldogs' climb in the polls, and a win over a good Trojans team could keep the Irish in the playoff conversation. If Notre Dame beats USC and can finish the season with one loss, who knows what could happen as far as the playoff. Losing that game, however, destroys the Irish's playoff hopes. -- VanHaaren


21. (tie) Florida: Oct. 7 vs. LSU

There's no time to worry about clich├ęs. For Florida, there's no game but the next game. The offense has shown signs of life, but until it gets consistent play at quarterback, the Gators don't have a gimme on the schedule. Hosting LSU this Saturday should tell us a lot about this team's future. -- Scarborough


23. West Virginia: Oct. 7 @ TCU

The Mountaineers can announce their arrival in the Big 12 title conversation -- and possibly the College Football Playoff race -- with a victory at eighth-ranked TCU. -- Trotter


24. NC State : Nov. 4 vs. Clemson

There are plenty of tough games remaining, but the biggest has to be at home against Clemson. The Wolfpack came oh-so-close to beating the Tigers on the road a year ago, and now they get them at home with possible ACC Atlantic Division hopes on the line. It's no secret NC State players have had this game circled on their calendars for a year. The atmosphere should be electric. -- Adelson


25. UCF: Nov. 24 vs. South Florida

The battle for the Group of 5 New Year's Six berth still has a handful of prime contenders, but two at the top of the list reside about 80 miles apart. UCF has forced its way into the conversation with some impressive wins, but to make a real case for a bid to a big-time bowl game -- and to win the American -- it'll need to knock off USF, the preseason pick to win the league, in the regular-season finale. -- Hale