The Most Anticipated College Football Games of 2017

How to watch college football and make TV history

College football broke a ridiculous number of records in 2016 in terms of TV audiences. More people watched more minutes of more games on more channels than ever before. According to Nielsen, more than 159 million people tuned in for some college football action during the 2016 regular season. That’s a lot.

And the way people watch college football is changing. In 2016, college football streaming records were smashed. Big games had streaming audiences in the millions. Whether you watch college football on TV or on your computer or mobile devices this season, DISH can help make you part of college football television history. See how big audiences were last year, and read on for the games we think will be biggest in 2017.

Looking Back

Let’s start at the end. The championship between Alabama and Clemson went stratospheric as it drew 26,029,000 viewers on TV and streaming services. It was the most watched cable TV telecast since Alabama played Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2016. It was the eighth largest cable TV telecast of all time.

More than 17.1 million people watched Ohio State beat Michigan on November 26 last year. It was the highest rated game of the regular season, and it was a doozy. OSU won it 30-27 in double overtime. That’s why they call it The Game, right?

Alabama had an easy time drawing eyeballs all year. The second and fourth most-watched games were Alabama-Florida and Alabama-LSU with 11.1 and 10.39 million viewers, respectively. But the games that really grabbed interest last season were Notre DameTexas and LouisvilleClemson. On October 1, Louisville visited Clemson, and Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson, both Heisman contenders, just had it out. Clemson held on to win 42-36, but it wasn’t a done deal until the last minute in the fourth quarter, when Louisville missed a first down by a yard. Watching Clemson squeak by were 9.3 million people. Earlier in the season, 11 million people held on to watch the final seconds when Notre Dame lost to Texas in double overtime 50-47.

The thing is, 2017 promises to break even these lofty records. More people are watching and streaming college football than ever before. And the competition this year promises to be fierce. We can expect lots of people to tune in for the biggest teams and the most hotly contested rivalries. Here are the top 7 regular season games we think have a shot at being the most interesting.

Looking Ahead

Alabama – Florida State
September 2, 8pm on ABC

One of the most consequential games of the year could be played in the first week. In preseason surveys, Alabama and Florida State are expected to finish the year ranked #1 and #2. See them face off in the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Ohio State – Michigan
November 25, 12pm on FOX

Ohio State has won 14 of the last 17 games in the big rivalry series. But Michigan is turning around fast. This could be their year, and the game promises to be epic either way.

Florida – Georgia
October 28, 3:30pm on CBS

The SEC rivalry comes to Jacksonville at the end of October this year. While fans enjoy “The World’s Biggest Cocktail Party” outside the stadium, the Gators and the Bulldogs will be scrapping for SEC East and for their respective places in national polls. Heading into the 2017 season, Georgia and Florida are projected to finish #15 and #16.

LSU at Alabama
November 4

Last year, Alabama beat LSU 10-0 in a defensive clash. No score was recorded until the fourth quarter. This will be a game to watch as Alabama tries to find its way back to the championship.

Clemson – Louisville
September 16, 3:30pm

Returning for Louisville this year is Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson left for the NFL, but Clemson keeps Deon Cain, Kendall Joseph, and Dexter Lawrence for what should be another explosive matchup.

Washington – Stanford
November 10, 10:30pm on FS1

The battle for the PAC-12 North, and possibly the PAC-12 championship, will be in full swing when the Huskies take on the Cardinal.

December 9, 3:00pm on CBS Sports

Army won 21-17 in 2016 after losing 14 consecutive years to the Midshipmen. They’ll be looking to add to their margin this year.  

Penn State – Ohio State
October 28, 3:30pm on FOX

The Buckeyes will be out for revenge after last year’s 24-21 loss to the Nittany Lions. Penn State went on to win the Big Ten East and lost to USC in the Rose Bowl.

When will your favorite college football teams be squaring off? Search schedules by team and conference here and see what channels you can watch games on DISH.