Rivalry Week (Part 1 of 2)

The most anticipated week in the college football season is finally here

college football    It’s finally here: Rivalry Week, when football games split regions, states, cities, and households in two.  When teams with losing records can salvage a season by defeating an age-old foe.  When 364 days of bragging rights are on the line, and when memorable games get their own nicknames, and get passed down for generations and turn into football folklore.

   In honor of rivalry week, I’m going to list my five favorite rivalries playing this weekend, and predict the winner of this year’s installment of each.

#5- Florida vs. Florida State

All Time Series: 34-21-2 Florida

Last Meeting- 37-26 Florida (2012)

The battle for the Governor’s Cup between the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles has for most of its history not only been about bragging rights or a trophy, but for a berth in the National Title.  Many times, including ever year from 1990-2000, both teams have come into the game highly ranked, and the winner has played in the national championship several times (including 6 times in the 1990s).

Memorable Games:

1964- After 6 attempts, the Seminoles had yet to defeat the Gators, and in 1964 the contest was played in Tallahassee’s Doak Campbell Stadium (home to FloridaState) for the first time.  The ‘Noles broke through, claiming their first victory over their in-state foes by a score of 16-7.

1996- The 1996 matchup was especially intense, as the two teams came in to the contest ranked #1 and #2.  Florida State would hold on after a late Gator surge, and win the game 24-21.  After the game, Gator coach Steve spurrier called out the FSU defense for intentionally trying to injure star quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

1997- The two foes played a rematch just a month later in the 1997 Sugar Bowl.  The night before, #2 Arizona State lost in their bowl game to Ohio State, making the Sugar Bowl the de-facto National Championship game.  The game was close (24-21) until the middle of the third quarter, when the Gators turned the contest into a rout, scoring the final four touchdowns of the game, and winning their first national championship with a 52-20 win.

1997 Regular Season (the greatest game ever played in the Swamp)- Florida State entered the game ranked #1 in the country, and with a win over #10 Florida would play for the National Championship for a second straight year.  After pregame fights, the Gators started the game by driving down the field for a quick touchdown.  In the game Florida State used a dual quarterback threat, but the Gators were too much, and after a late touchdown took the victory 32-29.

2013 matchup- Florida State comes into the game as heavy favorites, ranked #2 in the country with an 11-0 record.  The Gators on the other hand, have played terribly for much of the year, and limp into the game with a 4-7 record.  The ‘Noles will add to the Gator’s woes, and the only question going into the game is ‘when will the rout begin’.

Final Score: Florida State 56- Florida 21


#4- Oregon vs. Oregon State: The Civil War

All-time series: 60-46-10 Oregon

Last meeting- 48-24 Oregon (2012)

One of the most intense rivalries in college football, the Civil War pits the Oregon Ducks against in-state rival Oregon State Beavers.  Eugene (the home of the Ducks) and Corvallis (the home of the Beavers) are separated by just 47 miles, making the rivalry even more passionate, and each November the two fan bases collide, inciting riots on several occasions, and one of the most exciting games of the year.

Memorable games:

1933- Both teams entered the game undefeated, the Ducks with a 7-0 record, and the Beavers with a 5-0-2 record.  Oregon wins 13-3, and wins a share of the conference title (Stanford however, would go to the Rose Bowl).

2000- The first time both teams came into the game undefeated, with Oregon ranked #5 and OSU ranked #8.  Oregon State won the game 23-23, and ended up clinching an at-large berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

2009- Dubbed “the war for the roses”, it was the first time in the series’ history that the winner automatically clinched a berth in the Rose Bowl.  Oregon won the game 37-33 in Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

2013 matchup:  The Ducks come into the game with a 9-2 record, and ranked #12 in the country, as they play host to the 6-5 Beavers.  Oregon comes off an embarrassing loss at the hands of Arizona, and although their season has turned out to be a disappointment, Quarterback Marcus Mariota should lead the Ducks to a somewhat easy victory.  Beaver quarterback Sean Mannion will have a big game however, and keep the road team in contention late.

Final Score:  Oregon 38- Oregon State 28

#3- USC vs. UCLA- The Battle for the Victory Bell

All Time Series: 44-29-7 USC

Last Meeting: 38-28 UCLA (2012)

The rivalry between cross-town foes USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins has always been passionate and intense, given the close proximity between the two schools (13 miles) and the fact that the two both reside within Los Angeles City Limits.  USC has long been a football powerhouse, while UCLA is a school more notable for its basketball prowess.  The winner of the game earns bragging rights in southern California, and gets to keep the famed Victory Bell until the next matchup.

Memorable Games:

1967- #1 UCLA and #2 USC clash with a Rose Bowl berth on the line.  UCLA missed an extra point on a late touchdown, and Trojan Running back O.J Simpson races down the field  for a 64 yard touchdown to clinch a 21-20 SC victory.

1996- After starting the fourth quarter with a 17 point lead, the Trojans proceed to collapse, and UCLA mounts a 17 point comeback to force the only overtime in the series’ history.  The Bruins would go on to win 48-41.

2001- The first matchup under head coach Pete Carroll marked the beginning of a decade on dominance in tinsel town, as the Trojans shutout their cross-town rivals 27-0.  The Trojans would only lose one game to the Bruins under Carroll, and put a chokehold on the Bruins for the next decade.

2006- USC comes into the matchup ranked #2 and on the verge of a National Championship.  UCLA has other thoughts in mind however, as the Bruins win the huge upset 13-9, and spoil the Trojans’ Championship aspirations.

2013 Matchup- Both teams come into the game ranked, with the Bruins ranked 22nd in the nation, and the Bruins ranked 23rd.  The game is at the Coliseum (home of the Trojans), and under interim-coach Ed Orgeron, the Trojans have been playing inspired football.  The teams are very evenly matched, but because USC is streaking coming in and playing at home, watch for the Trojans to pull out the win in a thriller

Final Score- USC 35-UClA 31

I will post the two greatest rivalries later today.  The two set themselves apart from the rest, and deserve their own article for this reason.

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