Editors' pick: Originally published July 20.
College football fans will soon be swapping their shorts and sandals for jerseys and face paint as the fall months approach. This year will begin a little differently than in years past, as California and Hawaii set to open the season abroad at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 27.
It will be the first college football game in Australia since 1987, albeit one between schools that are usually not among the game's powerhouses. California finished 8-5 last year and had a win in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Hawaii lost nine consecutive games en route to a 3-10 record.
That said, there will be no shortage of big games stateside this season with ticket prices ranging widely. Based on early pricing for 2016 college football tickets on Razorgator, Ohio State and USC will play in several of this year's most expensive games. The two schools are two of college football's elite programs.
Ohio State posted a 12-1 record last year and thrashed Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. In a down season marked by the firing of its once promising, young coach Steve Sarkisian, USC finished 8-6 and lost to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl. Sarkisian was fired after taking a leave of absence to seek treatment for a drinking problem.
As of now, the top-priced game of the 2016 season will pit Ohio State and Oklahoma on Sept. 17 at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The highest-priced tickets are running about $1,500 for prime sideline seats. The cheapest ticket on the resale market is currently $284 in Section 18, directly behind the eastern goalpost.
The stadium seats more than 104,000 people and is college football's third largest. Oklahoma finished 11-2 and lost its semifinal matchup to Clemson in the NCAA men's football tournament.
In another high-priced match-up, the Buckeyes host their arch rival, the Michigan Wolverines at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 26. The cheapest available ticket is now $221 in Section 4C, also behind the eastern goalpost.
The teams have played 112 times with Michigan holding a 58-47 advantage in wins. There have been six ties.
Last year, the Buckeyes decimated the Wolverines, 42-13, in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The top-priced ticket on the USC football schedule will be for its matchup against cross-town rival UCLA on Nov. 19 at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Tickets are starting at $122 on Razorgator. In 83 meetings dating back to 1929, USC has gotten the better of UCLA with a record of 45-7-31.
In another highly anticipated game, USC will travel to Arlington, Tex. to face Alabama in the 2016 Cowboys Classic. The game will take place at the AT&T Stadium on Sept. 3, with tickets starting from $116 in the stadium's upper concourse.
Other notable college football games already posting big price points this summer include two SEC matchups: Auburn vs LSU at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn's home field, and Florida vs the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., the home field of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Auburn-LSU game takes place Sept. 24 in Alabama, where tickets are starting at $101 on the secondary market.
The Florida-Georgia game will take place Oct. 29 with tickets starting at $166.
Florida, Georgia and LSU lost a combined 10 games last year, while Auburn posted a winning record, no small achievement in the country's toughest football conference.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.