How Jim Harbaugh fires up a Texas high school football team
College football’s rivalry week starts with games Thursday and concludes Saturday.
Each has its own history, its own level of football hate for the opposition from each fan base and its own importance to the College Football Playoff picture.
So here’s this week’s college rivalry games ranked:
t-10. Oregon-Oregon State
Don’t look at the win-loss records of either team this season, because the Ducks-Beavers game makes the list purely based on the historical factor. The Civil War game has had national implications with BCS bowls and conference championships at stake.
The Utes are heading to the Pac-12 title game, while BYU is an independent a game above .500 this season. But the Holy War game is a fierce rivalry.
9. Georgia Tech-Georgia
On paper, the Bulldogs shouldn’t have any problems with the Yellow Jackets. This game, albeit not as important as Georgia’s rivalry with Florida, makes the list for how it could impact the CFP race. The Dawgs must win to have any chance at returning to the CFP this season.
The War on I-4 is a relatively new rivalry, and the game lost a little luster with the Bulls dropping their last four games after a 7-0 start. But USF can snap the Knights’ 23-game winning streak with a victory at Raymond James Stadium. UCF, meanwhile, needs to win to continue its case for inclusion with the Power 5 teams in the CFP.
7. Florida-Florida State
There’s no national title implications like what happened in the 1990s, but this Sunshine State rivalry sees Willie Taggart coaching his childhood favorite team against the Gators for the first time. Add the comments he made about how “gator meat” is his favorite Thanksgiving side dish on top of the Seminoles needing a win to continue their bowl game streak, which currently stands at 36. UF is playing for a New Year’s Day Six bowl game.
6. Mississippi State-Ole Miss
The Egg Bowl is one of the SEC’s best rivalries. It wasn’t too long that both Bulldogs and Rebels were enjoying banner seasons simultaneously for much of the college football season. The road team has won the Egg Bowl the previous three games, and this year comes from Oxford. The Bulldogs are ranked, while Ole Miss needs a win to become bowl eligible.
5. South Carolina-Clemson
Clemson is a prohibitive favorite to win its fifth in a row in the series, but this Palmetto State showdown isn’t as one-sided historically as you might think. The Gamecocks won five in a row from 2009 to 2013. Lately, it’s all Clemson and the Tigers can take one step forward toward another CFP appearance with a win over their in-state rivals.
4. Notre Dame-USC
So much tradition with each program. The Heisman Trophy winners, national titles between the two and the “Bush Push” game. Well, this season’s game has lots of important for the Irish. Ranked No. 3 in the past few CFP rankings, Notre Dame must win to secure a berth in the CFP. USC, on the other hand, needs to win just to become bowl eligible.
3. Washington-Washington State
Before the season, all eyes were fixed on Washington carrying the Pac-12 banner toward the CFP. Well, the Huskies aren’t national title contenders any longer, but they can still claim a Pac-12 Championship Game berth with a win over Wazzou. The Cougars are aiming a bit higher in this edition of the Apple Cup. Washington State needs a win over Washington as well as a victory in the Pac-12 title game to knock on the CFP door. Washington has won the last five Apple Cup games.
Recent seasons would see the Iron Bowl at No. 1, but the Tigers aren’t ranked this year. That doesn’t matter, even if it’s against the juggernaut Crimson Tide. There are recent games to draw from to cement the Iron Bowl as a top rivalry game, just look at the 2013 Kick Six game and the reactions from fans to see the passion.
1. Michigan-Ohio State
The Wolverines haven’t defeated the Buckeyes under Jim Harbaugh, but this might be their best chance. Running back Karan Higdon guaranteed a Michigan victory, which was met with a social media response from Ohio State running back Mike Weber. Add in both teams have one-loss, the historical hate between both fan bases on top of the CFP implications this season (Michigan ranks No. 4, while Ohio State could jump from No. 10 with a signature win over the Wolverines) and this year’s edition at the Horseshoe tops our list.
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