Which college football rivalry should be re-started?

This morning we started our Wednesday roundtable by talking about college football rules we would change. This afternoon we are back as TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and a rotating special guest in our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.

We explored the rulebook earlier so let’s look at a completely different topic this afternoon, college football rivalries. Joining us in our afternoon discussion is Phil Harrison from Scout.com’s College Football News….

Question: If you could re-start any college football rivalry that is currently dormant which would it be?

Phil Harrison

On Twitter: @PhilHarrisonCFB

The rivalry that needs to heat up faster than burnt embers in a microwave is Ohio State vs. Michigan, or “The Game” if you will.

Face it, no matter where you live, or what you’re doing on that cold, gray November Saturday when these two play, you want to turn the tube on just to see these ancient rivals go at it. Woody, Bo, Archie, Biakabutuka, Howard, Woodson. You know these names if you are a college football junkie because they rubber stamped their place in the annals of college football in this annual border war of attrition.

But in years past, the luster has faded because Michigan has hit a speed bump on a trail to nowhere. Ever since a sweater-vest wearing senator from Youngstown began beating back Wolverines like a trapper with a family to feed, the Maize and Blue have could have officially changed their school colors to black and blue. The rivalry is still the rivalry, but even the most ardent OSU fan would admit that things are more fun, and more interesting when those winged helmets sit atop a little bit of swagger and earned respect.

We were fooled before with the potential of Brady Hoke vs. Urban Meyer, but now Hoke is gone because he only managed one win with weird-scientist Rich Rodrizuez’s leftovers. He was never able to really compete with the bigger-than-life brand of Urban Meyer. Now that we have the Twitter-gone-wild, brand of Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, let us not be fooled again.

If the universe is right and in-balance, what many consider the best rivalry in all of sports needs to take its rightful place among everyone’s thoughts once again. You are on the clock Michigan.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

It’s insane how these things go. Pittsburgh can travel to South Carolina or Florida for football games, but not 70 miles away to Morgantown, WV. And West Virginia can eschew those 70 miles as well to play in places like Manhattan, KS or Norman, OK.

The Backyard Brawl betwixt the Mountaineers and Panthers stands as college football’s 14th oldest rivalry, and there’s no underlying animosity that suggests these teams can’t patch things back up and make the 70 trip annually and play one another. Oliver Luck in 2013 commented that it wasn’t a matter of “if,” but “when” and said something about Pitt having a lot going on.

Hogwash, personally. That sounds like a girl home from college on Fall break and the guy she left back home says he wants to get together but she’s got “a lot going on, and I guess we’ll see if we can fit some time in.” This is a rivalry of great fan bases, outstanding moments, and not many miles between them. Hike up your britches and bring it back. Yesterday.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

If I was the czar of college football (sidenote: does anyone know where I can apply for that position?), I would re-start a lot of college football rivalries. Texas and Texas A&M would play every year as would Clemson and Georgia and Pitt and Penn State would be getting after it as well. But, there is one rivalry that was probably the best rivalry in the 1980s and now it’s gone. Poof. Up in smoke.

These two teams first played in 1912 and went on to play 85 more times.

Which rivalry am I talking about?

Nebraska vs Oklahoma

Because of the divisional split of the Big 12, the last regular season meeting was in 2009 but the last official meeting was in the Big 12 Championship Game in 2010. With Nebraska moving to the Big Ten in 2011, this rivalry will likely never have the standing it once did in the world of college football.

The two schools will play a “home and home” in 2021 and 2022 but if we can get the two schools back together for two years, why not do it for good?

Between them they claim 12 national titles and close to 100 conference titles. Isn’t that the type of prestigious rivalry that you want to preserve instead of letting it become another distant memory?

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

Let me qualify my remarks by saying that the rivalry I’m speaking of isn’t dead yet. While the game wasn’t played last year and won’t be played this year, the series will resume again in 2016, lasting through 2018. However, it’s quite possible that the teams won’t meet on an annual basis after that thanks to the Pac-12’s nine-game conference schedule.

For those that haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about BYU – Utah, which is affectionately referred to as “the Holy War.”

Played every year from 1922-2013 – with a three-year hiatus during World War II – this rivalry game is every bit as intense as the Game, the Iron Bowl, the Civil War, and the Red River Shootout. With the two schools separated by just 45 miles, fans from each team circle the date on the calendar as soon as the schedule was released, hoping to earn bragging rights for the next 365 days.

As for the game itself, you could always count on a hard-fought contest that went right down to the wire. In fact, 14 of the last 17 meetings in the series were decided by a touchdown or less.

That’s why if it were left up to me, I’d make BYU – Utah an annual event that would be played on the final weekend of the season just like all of the other great rivalries in college football. What fan wouldn’t want to add another nail-biter to the final week of the regular season?


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