Rivalries help make college football the greatest sport in the world which is why rivalry weekend is the best week for the sport. The last week of the regular season is known as rivalry weekend due to the amount of rivalry games which are played. The last weekend of college football is always a bitter sweet moment. The games are always intense because no team wants to end the season losing to their arch rival but it is also a signal the season is almost over. Today’s 99 Things will look at rivalry weekend and the amount of important games played in the last week of the regular season.
Most fans are aware of the major rivalry games. The Game between Ohio State and Michigan will typically kick off at noon drawing most of the attention. At 3:30 EST is usually the Iron Bowl. Alabama and Auburn usually have the best draw for their time slot beating most other afternoon games. These are typically the two premier games but the rivalry matchups stretch the entire weekend. The schedule starts on Thursday and will be filled through Saturday evening giving fans plenty of action to watch each day.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss kick off the weekend playing on the evening of Thanksgiving. The Egg Bowl has been host to numerous intense matchups over the past decade. The series will be one to watch with Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach looking to move their programs up the ladder. This is the only game on Thanksgiving but Texas and Texas A&M may be one to watch in the coming seasons. The two programs used to play on Thanksgiving prior to the Aggie’s departure of the Big 12. Rumors have swirled they may look to play on Thanksgiving once again when Texas joins the SEC which would be a win for all of us.
Friday has numerous matchups to keep an eye on. North Carolina and NC State play in one of the ACC’s oldest rivalries. The two programs have met 111 times in their history with North Carolina leading 68–37–6. NC State is expected to be a top 15 team this season and contend for the ACC. North Carolina will likely be rebuilding and looking to play spoiler. Nebraska and Iowa also meet in a recently revived rivalry. Iowa and Nebraska have embraced the matchup since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten. Florida vs Florida State, Arizona vs Arizona State, Arkansas vs Missouri and Central Michigan vs Eastern Michigan also play on Friday.
Saturday has more rivalry games than fans can count. Wisconsin and Minnesota play for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Either the Badgers or Golden Gophers have the opportunity to take home one of the coolest trophies. South Carolina and Clemson play for the right to be the best team in the state of South Carolina while Georgia Tech and Georgia do the same for the state of Georgia. Washington and Washington State play in one of the most underrated rivalries known as the Apple Cup. The Governor’s Cup features one of the newest rivalry games on this list between Kentucky and Louisville. The two schools have a passionate rivalry after only 33 meetings. Saturday also hosts the War on I-4 (USF vs UCF), the Battle for Nevada (UNLV vs Nevada), the Commonwealth Cup (Virginia vs Virginia Tech), the Old Oaken Bucket (Purdue vs Indiana) plus numerous other games.
If you are going to pick one weekend to plant yourself in front of your television and watch nonstop college football, pick the last weekend of the season. Plenty of teams will be out of contention for the conference or even a bowl game but you will be able to tell these games matter the players. No players wants to lose to their rival meaning they play a little harder, they are a little more focused and they play with a little more fire than usual. Take an opportunity an explore a few games outside of your conference of choice. They may be different from what you are used to but they are worth watching.