Thursday, August 13, 2015

Five Defunct Rivalries That Should Come Back Full-Time

                                          Photo Credit: Joe Sadlek/AP Photo

One of the splendid parts of being a college football fan are rivalry games. Without them, college football might not be the sport it is today.

With the recent round of conference realignment spreading like wildfire since 2010, a lot of rivalries have been tossed by the wayside as a result.

Here are five rivalries I want to see in a fantasy world come back to full-time status:

1) Notre Dame vs Miami (FL) (Catholics vs. Convicts)

Last Meeting: 2012 (Notre Dame 41, Miami 3)

All-Time Series: Notre Dame leads 17-7-1

In what most fans consider the best rivalry in college football in the 1980's came to a conclusion in 1990 on a full-time basis as Miami gave up its independence to go to the newly formed Big East, while Notre Dame stayed aligned on its own.

If there is a rivalry that represents polar opposites, then Notre Dame (Catholics) and Miami (Convicts) are the perfect definition.

Known for its swagger and passion for intimidating the opposition, Miami contended every season for the National Championship as the antagonist, while Notre Dame, known for its laid-back approach as a Catholic school, would play the role of the protagonist.

This video from 1988 is the perfect illustration of how heated the two teams were against one another:

With Miami now in the ACC and Notre Dame required to schedule at least five teams from that conference each season, here's to hoping these titans will meet on a more frequent basis. 

2) Oklahoma vs Nebraska

Last Meeting: 2010 (Oklahoma 23, Nebraska 20)

All-Time Series: Oklahoma leads 45-38-3

For decades, the Oklahoma Sooners and Nebraska Cornhuskers dominated the Big 8 Conference, until it merged with Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor from the Southwestern Conference to form the Big 12 in 1996.

After being split into separate divisions, most fans knew that the rivalry between Oklahoma and Nebraska would never be the same again as the two would play sparingly until 2010, when Nebraska bolted for the Big Ten, while Oklahoma remained in the Big 12.

For fans of both teams, there is a ray of hope in the future as Oklahoma and Nebraska agreed to play each other in 2021 and 2022.

Let's hope they can build on those meetings and have one another playing more often for the enjoyment of both fanbases.

3) Notre Dame vs Michigan

Last Meeting: 2014 (Notre Dame 31, Michigan 0)

All-Time Series: Michigan leads 24-17-1

                                 Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski

When you think of college football, Michigan and Notre Dame come to mind in terms of history and prestige.

Because of Notre Dame's commitment to playing a minimum of five ACC schools and its other rivalries with Stanford, USC and Navy, this matchup of the mega-powers is off for the foreseeable future.

If the rivalry is to ever come back on a full-time basis, it will likely require Notre Dame to give up its independence and go to a conference.

Given the current postseason formula, conference championships are weighed over a team who doesn't participate in one and that's the predicament the Fighting Irish are in.

Rivalries will continue to be scrapped in this era of college football and Notre Dame is not immune from anything. 

Maybe, the Fighting Irish will rid itself of Navy and take on Michigan full-time again, but only time will tell.

4) West Virginia vs Pittsburgh (Backyard Brawl)

Last Meeting: 2011 (West Virginia 21, Pittsburgh 20)

All-Time Series: Pittsburgh leads 61-40-3

From Independents to Big East mates, the Backyard Brawl showcased legends such as Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Darrelle Revis, Pat White and Pacman Jones over the years.

With West Virginia and Pittsburgh leaving the Big East in 2011 and 2012 to go the Big 12 and ACC, respectively, it meant the stoppage of a historic Northeast rivalry.

West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons hinted last month at a possible revival of the Mountaineers and Panthers rivalry. 

5) Texas vs Texas A&M

Last Meeting: 2011 (Texas 27, Texas A&M 25)

All-Time Series: Texas leads 76-37-5

Next to the Notre Dame/Miami rivalry, Texas/Texas A&M is looked at as another head scratcher as to why these schools ceased meeting each other indefinitely.

Yes, Texas A&M moved to the SEC in 2012, but has managed to play old SWC foes Rice and SMU in that time span. 

The question now lies not if, but when will The Longhorns and Aggies will renew their longstanding series.

Let's hope fans in Texas do not have to wait until at least 2027 to renew a Thanksgiving Weekend tradition.

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