Non-conference rivalries for teams that don't have one
With four SEC teams playing non-conference games during rivalry week, here’s a look at some potential non-conference rivalries for teams that don’t have one.
Alabama: Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are the only team with more national championships than Alabama during the modern era of college football. Both programs have a rich history of a winning tradition and two of the NCAA’s largest fan bases.
Arkansas: Wisconsin. Bret Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas in 2012. Upon his arrival in the SEC, Bielema brought his Big 10 style of football. The matchup would feature two teams with run-heavy offenses featuring several talented backs.
Auburn: Oregon. How fast would this game be? Auburn-Oregon would feature two of the nation’s best uptempo offenses. If you’re a fan of scoring, this is the rivalry game for you.
LSU: Michigan. Les Miles’ name is always mentioned when the Wolverines face a coaching search. Miles lettered at Michigan during the 1974 and 1975 seasons and was a graduate assistant from 1980-81. The rivalry could feature the Les Miles Cup as a prize for the winning team.
Ole Miss: Memphis. The two programs are separated by 84 miles. Ole Miss has pillaged the Memphis hotbed for recruiting and has a strong fan base in West Tennessee. The Tigers had a surprising performance against the Rebels during a Week 5 loss to the Rebels. Ole Miss was held to seven points through three quarters before scoring 17 unanswered in the fourth quarter.
Mississippi State: TCU. The Bulldogs and Horned Frogs went from unranked in the preseason to top-5 spots in the College Football Playoff. Both programs have been the surprise stories of the 2014 season and look to continue as national contenders.
Missouri: Kansas. The Broder Showdown, formerly known as the Border War until 2004, was one of college football’s most heated rivalries in college football. The Tigers held a disputed advantage of either 57-54-9 or 56-55-9 in 120 games played, the second-most-played rivalry in FBS football history. Missouri won the last three meetings between the two teams before joining the SEC in 2012.
Tennessee: Virginia Tech. Tennessee and Virginia Tech will meet on Sept. 10, 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway for what is expected to be the highest attended game in college football history. The teams are within 236 miles apart and enjoyed success in the late-90s and early 2000s.
Texas A&M: Texas. The Lonestar State teams met 118 times, with Texas leading the series 76-37-5. Texas’ fight song, “Texas Fight,” features the lyrics, “And it’s goodbye to A&M.” This was never more evident than when the Aggies joined the SEC, ending the annual matchup between the two programs.
Vanderbilt: Stanford. This matchup could be considered the “Battle of the Brains.” Aside from being two of the top accademic institutions, both programs employed current Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason, who was a defensive coordinator at Stanford before joining the Commodores in January.