Conference realignment has brought an end to many great rivalries over the years. Our hope is that these storied rivalries will one day be replaced by new, developing rivalries. But until West Virginia and Oklahoma State establish a true hatred for each other and Louisville and Wake Forest duke it out for bragging rights, we may only be left with our fading memories of what once was in the sport of college football.
But perhaps there is some hope out there. A Texas legislator has submitted a bill with the intent to renew the football rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M. Whether or not this will result in the Longhorns and Aggies settling their differences and bringing back the Lonestar Showdown remains to be seen of course. In the end it could just be a waste of time (and perhaps tax payer's money).
This all got us thinking about some of the other rivalries that have been lost in the fallout of conference realignment over the last couple of years. Nebraska and Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and West Virginia were fantastic rivalries hat we one day hope to catch a glimpse of again (Nebraska and Oklahoma actually have a schedule agreement in principle for 2021, the 50th anniversary of The Game of the Century, and 2022). So we stepped in to our fictitious world where private institutions were unshielded from government imposition and put together five in-state rivalries or series we would like to see our utopian government to step in and force to resume.
Penn State vs. Pittsburgh
Last Played: September 16, 2000 (Pitt wins 12-0)
Series Record: Penn State leads 50-42-4
The Keystone rivalry between Penn State and Pittsburgh was largely abandoned when Penn State accepted an invite to the Big Ten. Penn State's move to the Big Ten meant cutting ties with a number of traditional rivals such as West Virginia, Syracuse, Maryland and of course Pittsburgh. The two schools could never quite meet eye-to-eye on a way to continue the series. Joe Paterno had long insisted Penn State get an extra home game in any deal between the two schools while Pittsburgh stood firm on an even number of home and away games.
The two schools have worked out a set of four games to be played in future seasons, with each school getting two home games between 2016 and 2019. Any chance we can see more?
Cincinnati vs. Ohio State
Last Played: September 16, 2006 (Ohio State wins 37-7)
Series: Ohio State leads 13-2
By all accounts, this is far from a rivalry. With only 15 games between the two schools dating back as far as 1893, there is no real history to go off of here. Is there?
For a long time Ohio State was just playing on a different level than Cincinnati in football. That may even still be the case today although that gap that once existed has certainly been closed somewhat. All of the makings for a great rivalry are right in front of us, if we could just get the top program in the state of Ohio to come to grips with playing the big city school. But with Ohio State wanting to reduce the number of games they play against in-state opponents (mostly of the MAC variety), the chances they would risk losing to the other BCS level program in the state are probably not all that great.
Florida vs. Miami
Last Played: September 6, 2009 (Florida wins 26-3)
Series Record: Miami leads 28-26
With Miami being a private institution the government has little power to do anything to force this rivalry to continue more frequently, but remember that we are working in an alternate world where private schools are fair game. The two programs had faced each other every year from 1938 through 1987 but then the series went on hiatus just before Steve Spurrier arrived in Gainesville (oh the fun that could have been).
Miami has been going through some rough times of late, and Florida is certainly playing on a different level right now it would seem, but if we could get Miami and Florida to play annually in addition to the series each school has with Florida State, we could be in for some legitimate three-way state of Florida bragging rights.
The two schools are scheduled to play this season, but unless the Gators and Hurricanes meet up in a bowl game that may be the only meeting for a while.
Louisiana Tech vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Last Played: November 11, 2000 (Louisiana Tech wins 42-19)
Series: Louisiana Tech leads 30-13
This may not be a headliner of a series rivalry, but with the two schools being separated by just a 37 minute drive on I-20 this just seems like something that has to happen. The two schools played all but five seasons between 1953 and 2000 and they have not faced each other since. Part of the reason comes from the two schools having programs that have long been more in need of scheduling payday games against bigger programs while finding other non-conference opponents to try and pick up easy wins against.
Scheduling each other may have been seen as too much of a risk in an age where bowl payouts from bowl games and conferences rule the day. Still, given the proximity of the campuses there could be something to work with here as both programs continue to grow a winning tradition.
Texas vs. Texas A&M
Last played: November 24, 2011 (Texas A&M wins 27-25)
Series: Texas leads 75-38-5
It would be silly to not include this one in the conversation, despite the fact the entire concept of the list was inspired by the latest news regarding it. Of all of the rivalry games to be put to the pasture as a result of conference realignment, this may be at the top of the list. The rivalry once had everything you need for a great rivalry. Two top in-state programs with a bitter taste for each other played on Thanksgiving or the day after Thanksgiving with some of the top pregame festivities imaginable.
Texas and Texas A&M certainly can live without each other as they go their separate ways now, but this is one series we all hope to lay eyes on again some day, hopefully with the same intensity and passion it was once known for.
Two Rivalries We Hold Out Hope For
BYU vs. Utah
When Utah left the Mountain West Conference for the Pac 12, BYU made the decision to go independent. The Holy War was then moved to earlier in the season but it just seems odd to see the game not at the end of the year. But we will take what we can while it lasts. We will get one more game this season and another in 2016 but 2014 and 2015 will be without a Holy War. As the programs travel their different paths, we hope something can be arranged to keep this rivalry going.
SMU vs. TCU
The long time rivals battle for The Iron Skillet. Even though TCU has moved in to the Big 12 and SMU is preparing for a move to the Big East, the two schools have agreed to play each other through at least 2017. With any hope, this series will continue beyond that.
Ultimate Fantasy Combos
In an extreme dream world, these rivalries would be taking place every year as well...
Rutgers vs. Princeton: The two that started it all, in a battle for New Jersey bragging rights every year. In MetLife Stadium? Again, dream world scenario.
Boston College vs. Harvard, and Connecticut vs. Yale: Power conferences vs. in-state Ivy League foes in a New England style double-header.
Temple vs. Villanova: If only Villanova had invested in football the way UConn did years ago, this might actually be possible.
LSU vs. Tulane: Please Tulane, get better so this rivalry can mean something again some day.
Arkansas vs. Arkansas State: Why not? This seems almost to perfect.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comment section below.
Either your age or our age is showing here Kevin. The guys below and I are right about those two rivalries but you have to be over 30 to remember one and over 50 to know about the other.
How could you leave out Nebraska & Oklahoma? These teams were in the game of the century! Oklahoma and Oklahoma St, As usual you pass over you over the great rivalries in the Midwest.
How about the South's oldest rivalry, Auburn versus Georgia Tech? City versus country, engineering versus engineering, complete with greased train tracks and a history of upsets and just a short drive away from each other on I 85.