RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer

Every game counts. Some games count more than others.

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These six games could shape the race for the College Football Playoff. Make time to see them and maybe consider seeing them in person. Here’s why you should be interested and how much it’ll cost you to get in the stadium.


No. 15 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M in Houston, Sept. 5.

The opener at NRG Stadium could be the most entertaining game of the first Saturday of the season. But it’s the subplot that makes Sun Devils-Aggies so juicy. The two toughest divisions in college football are the SEC West and Pac-12 South. This is the only time the two are scheduled to cross paths before the postseason. A chance for conference bragging rights and maybe a trump card with the playoff selection committee is also on the line.

Getting in: The most expensive tickets on StubHub are $782 each, but plenty of tickets in the $65 range for what could be a great game. Huge bargain.

No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State, Sept. 12

A rematch of last year’s game, won by the Ducks in Eugene, Oregon, with a second-half rally led by Marcus Mariota. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback is gone. His replacement could be Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams, who arrived to camp late and still has to beat out junior Jeff Lockie. The Spartans have a Heisman contender quarterback of their own in Connor Cook and one of the best defensive lines in the country. The winner could for the second straight year get to claim the best out-of-conference win of the regular season.

Getting in: It’ll cost you $160 a ticket just to sit in the outer reaches of Spartan Stadium, per StubHub. Or $1,750 to get up close.

No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 12 Clemson, Oct. 3

Notre Dame has its most talented team of the Brian Kelly era. Clemson has a quarterback in Deshaun Watson who could be the breakout star of the 2015 season. The Tigers and Fighting Irish have played only twice and not since Notre Dame visited Death Valley in 1979. A victory over one of the Atlantic Coast Conference favorites would do wonders for the Irish’s playoff hopes. (USC at Notre Dame could also be on the list but the rareness of the Clemson-Notre Dame matchup gives this the nod).

Getting in: For as little as $264 or as much as $1,991, you can buy a ticket on StubHub to see the Fighting Irish in Death Valley.

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No. 4 Baylor at No. 2 TCU, Nov. 27

The rematch of what might have been the wildest and most significant game of last season. The Bears rallied from 21 down in the fourth quarter to beat the Horned Frogs 61-58 in Waco, Texas. Then both Big 12 co-champions got left out of the College Football Playoff. This season they’ll play in Fort Worth on the Friday night after Thanksgiving.

Getting in: Standing room available at Amon G. Carter Stadium for $104 dollars on StubHub. Or a club seat for $4,682.

No. 1 Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 28

The first matchup of Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. It could be Woody vs. Bo all over again for the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. The Wolverines don’t seem to have the manpower to match up with the defending national champions, yet. But remember, Brady Hoke almost beat Meyer’s Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a couple of years ago, and the Wolverines hung around at the Horseshoe last year. No way does Harbaugh go quietly.

Getting in: Grab those $171 seats while you can. The most expensive seats at the Big House on StubHub are more than $3,000 each.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn. Nov. 28

Win the Iron Bowl. Win the SEC West. Win the SEC. Go into the bowl season with a chance to win the national championship. That’s mostly been the case in recent years and no reason to think it won’t happen again. College football’s most intense in-state rivalry has been wild the past two seasons with the Kick-6 going Auburn’s way in 2013 and then a record-setting shootout being won by Alabama last year.

Getting in: No hotter ticket in college football. The cheapest seats on StubHub are $320 each. The most expensive: There are some listed at more than $11,000 each, but maybe that’s a mistake. Right?


Follow Ralph D. Russo at http://www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

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