Predicting the Winners of Every College Football Rivalry Game in 2013

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIMay 17, 2013

Predicting the Winners of Every College Football Rivalry Game in 2013

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    The rivalries in college football are some of the most heated of any sport in the country. Predictions for every 2013 rivalry game are right here.

    From Alabama vs. Auburn to Washington vs. Washington State, there are many major rivalries that get blood boiling all over the country each season.

    Here are the projected 2013 winners of every major rivalry in college football.

    *Schedule of matchups from ESPN. (Rivalry weekend, Notre Dame and Oklahoma schedules and post-rivalry weekend links here.)

Alabama at Auburn

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Alabama has seen three national championships in the past four years. Auburn is rebuilding its program from the debacle that Gene Chizik perpetrated on the team.

    Auburn will have a game plan ready for the Tide that will make this game much closer than it should be, but Alabama will win it again in 2013.

    From quarterback to kicker, every advantage in this game lies with the Tide. Gus Malzahn and the Tigers will give Alabama everything they have, but it won't be enough.

    Tigers fans should not despair, though, as beating Alabama is not a requirement to make the postseason.

    Winner: Alabama Crimson Tide.

Arizona at Arizona State

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Arizona State is bringing back Will Sutton as one of the nation's best defensive tackles and a more mature Taylor Kelly under center. Arizona State also has Chris Coyle, who could be even better in 2013 than he was in 2012.

    On Arizona's side of the field, Ka'Deem Carey will be back with his 1,900-yard potential in the Wildcats' backfield. Unfortunately, Arizona will be breaking a new quarterback since Matt Scott won't be there anymore.

    Arizona lost this game by seven points last season, and the 2013 edition will go the Sun Devils' way again.

    Winner: Arizona State Sun Devils.

Arkansas at LSU

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    LSU and Arkansas face off during rivalry weekend, and the battle has grown more intense and interesting over the years. The 2012 game left a lot to be desired, but the Razorbacks will be contending for the SEC West rather quickly.

    Arkansas will have a new quarterback, new starting stars and a new head coach in 2013. There will be plenty of talent on the roster, but it won't be developed enough to beat LSU until at least 2014.

    Of course, Les Miles is always capable of blowing a winnable game if he is so inclined.

    Winner: LSU Tigers.

Army vs. Navy

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.

    Army vs. Navy is an excellent football game, complete with one of the best pregame ceremonies in the land. Where other football teams have gridiron heroes, this game features kids on both sides of the ball that will go on to be leaders in America's military.

    The 2012 iteration of this battle saw Navy come out on top 17-13 with a fourth-quarter touchdown. That was the 11th straight victory for the Midshipmen over the Black Knights.

    All good things must come to an end, though, and Army will eke out the victory in 2013, ending Navy's 11-year streak.

    Winner: Army Black Knights.

Baylor at TCU

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Baylor and TCU meet on rivalry weekend in 2013. The Bears and Horned Frogs have met over 100 times, and TCU currently leads the all-time series 51-50-7. Last year's tiebreaker ended in favor of TCU by four touchdowns (49-21).

    TCU did it with defense, and TCU will do it again in 2013. Baylor has a great offense, but its defense finished 113th in the country last season. TCUs' ranked 30th.

    Baylor will be on the tail end of a new quarterback's season, and TCU will be trusting Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin to get the job done. Both quarterbacks on TCU's side are heavily experienced.

    Winner: TCU Horned Frogs.

California at Stanford

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013.

    The Cal-Stanford game has given football fans a lot to love over the years, and "The Play" still stands as one of the most thrilling finishes in college football history.

    Stanford is a power in the Pac-12, and the Cardinal were the champions of the conference in 2012. Claifornia has a new head coach, Sonny Dykes, who was in charge of one of the most exciting teams of last season.

    He has come from Louisiana Tech to the Golden Bears, and he is set on moving Cal back to the top of the conference through his quarterbacks.

    It will take time for the Bears to adjust to his scheme, and Stanford's 21-3 margin of victory is likely to be repeated in 2013.

    Of course, Cal should score more than three this time around.

    Winner: Stanford Cardinal.

Clemson at South Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    South Carolina and Clemson battle for state supremacy every season, and Clemson leads the series 65-41-4 since 1896.

    Of course, South Carolina has won the last four meetings by no fewer than 10 points each. Clemson has a great team heading into 2013, and the Tigers can use the opening match with Georgia as a growing opportunity.

    If Clemson can manage to knock off the Bulldogs, they can carry the confidence through the season to a national championship appearance at the expense of everyone else on their schedule, including South Carolina.

    Unfortunately for Clemson, South Carolina has two capable quarterbacks and a defensive end by the name of Jadeveon Clowney. The Tigers will have to wait another year for a win over the kids from Columbia.

    South Carolina makes it five in a row in 2013.

    Winner: South Carolina Gamecocks.

Duke at North Carolina

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    North Carolina and Duke have an intense rivalry, but it is mostly centered on the basketball court. The 2012 season saw both programs finish with better records than they are generally known for.

    Head-to-head, Duke took the Tar Heels down 33-30 last season, but don't expect that to be repeated in 2013.

    Duke lost its starting quarterback, Sean Renfree, to graduation while UNC lost running back Giovani Bernard to the NFL draft.

    Both teams have lost significant contributors to their offenses, but the Tar Heels took the smaller hit. Even a superstar running back is still a running back.

    The biggest issue facing the Tar Heels is replacing Jonathan Cooper, the Heels' offensive guard who was selected No. 7 overall in the 2013 draft.

    In total, the Heels have more to fight for and more to fight with in 2013. They will get the best of Duke this time around.

    Winner: UNC Tar Heels.

Florida State at Florida

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Florida State travels to Florida this coming season and looks to score a major victory against the Gators. The Seminoles may not have the most difficult schedule in the country, but the bigger teams on the docket will allow them to reach the national championship game with a perfect record.

    They face Pittsburgh, Nevada, Clemson, Miami, Syracuse and Florida next season. There are other games they could lose, but a victory over NC State wouldn't help their BCS title chances very much. (Though it could crash the dream like it did last season.)

    Florida brings back a lot of offensive starters, but the big question mark is Jeff Driskel. He commanded the country's 118th-ranked passing attack last season, and he will simply have to do better than that to be as successful as he was last year.

    Ultimately, Florida State's Jameis Winston is a better passer, but this game came down to defense last year. That, plus Florida's rushing attack should once again seal the deal for the Gators.

    That may not be the case in another two seasons or so, but Florida will win this one again in 2013.

    Winner: Florida Gators.

Georgia at Georgia Tech

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Georgia and Georgia Tech face off on rivalry weekend, but it is not much of a rivalry these days. The last time Georgia Tech won this game was in 2008, when it knocked off then-No. 11 Georgia 45-42.

    Georgia Tech has a formidable running game, but it has to be much more balanced on offense than it is before taking down national powerhouses like Georgia.

    Last season, this game ended 42-10 in favor of the Bulldogs. While the Yellow Jackets look good on paper with over 300 yards-per-game on the ground, the reality of facing an elite team from the SEC will set in long before halftime.

    Georgia Tech is still a season or two away from being able to pull off the upset.

    Winner: Georgia Bulldogs.

Iowa at Nebraska

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    When: Friday, Nov. 29, 2013.

    Iowa gets to make the trip to Nebraska to continue its renewed rivalry. However, Nebraska brings something to the table that Iowa simply couldn't find last season: offense.

    The Hawkeyes ranked 102nd (passing), 104th (rushing) and 113th (scoring) in offense last season, and Nebraska was only similar in its passing attack. The 'Huskers were 90th in that category.

    Nebraska's quarterback, Taylor Martinez will likely be on preseason Heisman watch lists, and he'll be the star of this final regular-season game unless injury prevents him from taking the field at all.

    Nebraska may or may not win the Big Ten in 2013, but it will definitely take down Iowa.

    Winner: Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Iowa State at West Virginia

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    When: Friday, Nov. 29, 2013.

    West Virginia will end its regular season against Iowa State in 2013, and it should be a great football game.

    Quarterback Clint Trickett transferred from Florida State to West Virginia, and he'll be eligible to play this coming fall. Whether he wins the starting job or not, he's got in-game experience at the FBS level.

    Iowa State also has to replace 2012 senior quarterback Steele Jantz, but he wasn't nearly as talented as Smith was.

    The 2012 game was decided by seven points, and the Mountaineers took home the win. Don't expect a replay in 2013.

    Winner: Iowa State Cyclones.

Kansas State at Kansas

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Kansas State and Kansas have an in-state rivalry at the end of the season, and Kansas State has said goodbye to its star quarterback, Collin Klein.

    Fortunately for the Wildcats, the Kansas Jayhawks are coming off a 1-11 season. Even if Kansas could find a way to pull off a miraculous postseason appearance in 2013, it's not going to be at the expense of K-State.

    Bill Snyder has been building a powerhouse at Kansas State, and Charlie Weis isn't going to catch him this soon.

    Kansas State won the 2012 match 56-16, the Jayhawks won't me making a 40-point-per-game improvement in one season.

    Winner: Kansas State Wildcats.

Notre Dame at Michigan

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    When: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.

    Notre Dame beat Michigan in 2012, courtesy of six turnovers by the Maize and Blue. Don't expect history to repeat itself so soon.

    The Irish will be bringing Everett Golson back, though, and his year of experience will be a valuable asset to Notre Dame. Golson will be better in 2013 than he was last season, and that should make everyone take Notre Dame much more seriously.

    That's bad for Notre Dame, though, because every team on its schedule will give it 100 percent. Michigan will not lose to Notre Dame this fall.

    Of course, that's what people thought last year, too.

    Winner: Michigan Wolverines.

Notre Dame at Stanford

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Stanford fell to the undefeated Irish last season 20-13 in overtime. Stanford and Notre Dame both lost their star tight ends to the draft, but Notre Dame lost its brightest star: Manti Te'o.

    While both teams are replacing key players, the teams remain largely filled with experienced kids. David Shaw has proven himself worthy of coaching at the FBS level, and Brian Kelly is just getting started over in South Bend.

    Notre Dame is capable of winning this game, but the revenge factor (and the emotions stemming from 2012's controversy) will push Stanford over the hump for the win.

    Winner: Stanford Cardinal.

Ohio State at Michigan

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Ohio State and Michigan gave football fans a great game at the end of last season. The Buckeyes came out on top 26-21 after outscoring Michigan 6-0 in the second half.

    Michigan lost Denard Robinson this past offseason, but that's actually a good thing for Michigan. It hurts not to have that offensive weapon on the field, but Devin Gardner is an improvement over Robinson at quarterback.

    Michigan still has Taylor Lewan, and Ohio State still has Braxton Miller. Ohio State also has Urban Meyer, but Michigan counters with Brady Hoke.

    Ohio State went undefeated last season, and Michigan lost five games. Don't expect either phenomenon to happen in 2013. Michigan gets revenge in the Big House.

    Winner: Michigan Wolverines.

Oklahoma at Notre Dame

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    When: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

    On paper, Oklahoma looked like the clear victor in this game last season. When the final whistle blew, there was no question that Notre Dame was the better team.

    The Irish won 30-13 and scored 20 of those points in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame had an interception from Manti Te'o in that game, but even taking that away and giving Oklahoma a touchdown in its place would still have made the score 23-16.

    Oklahoma is replacing Landry Jones under center, and this game is way too early in the season to expect the Sooners to pull off the win. Even if you believe that the Irish didn't belong in the national championship game, the victory over Oklahoma was decisive and free of lucky breaks.

    Winner: Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

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    When: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.

    Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be playing opposite the conference championship games in early December.

    The Sooners and the Cowboys have provided fans with either great or awful games in the recent past. The 2011 match ended 44-10 in favor of the Cowboys, and the 2012 edition ended in overtime with the Sooners on top 51-48.

    As previously mentioned, Oklahoma will be working with a new quarterback, and its star receiver, Kenny Stills, went to New Orleans in the 2013 NFL draft.

    Oklahoma State simply isn't trying to replace that kind of talent, so the Cowboys will be approaching the 2013 game as congealed as they were in 2012.

    Winner: Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State

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    When: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013.

    Ole Miss (7-6, bowl win) and Mississippi State (8-5, bowl loss) were of similar talent last season, and the victory went to the Rebels 41-24.

    Hugh Freeze has coached the Ole Miss Rebels from a 2-10 record to 7-6 in one season. He's heading into his second year with the program in 2013, and he also landed the best recruiting class in Ole Miss history.

    This means that Ole Miss is fielding a great team with a bigger year-to-year talent difference than ever before. Mississippi State Bulldogs fans are in for a long day if they watch the game from opening kickoff to final whistle.

    Winner: Ole Miss Rebels.

Oregon State at Oregon

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    When: Friday, Nov. 29, 2013.

    The Oregon Ducks have a five-year winning streak on the Oregon State Beavers. The Ducks last lost this game in 2007, and that was by only seven points in overtime.

    Oregon is under a new head coach, but he was the Ducks' offensive coordinator before he took the position. Oregon will be the same Oregon everyone has come to love or loathe.

    Oregon State is on the rise in the Pac-12, but they are chasing Oregon and Stanford. Yes, those teams are not invincible, and they can be caught.

    However, 2013 is not the season for the Beavers to end the losing streak against Oregon.

    Winner: Oregon Ducks.

Penn State at Wisconsin

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Penn State and Wisconsin faced off last year, and the Nittany Lions squeaked out the three-point win over the Badgers in overtime.

    That type of success is going to be hard to repeat over in Happy Valley, but Wisconsin lost superstar running back Montee Ball to the NFL draft this cycle.

    That's a big hit to the Wisconsin offense. Penn State will be feeling the recruiting effects of the NCAA sanctions this coming year, but nothing can be worse on the program than the free-for-all that decimated the roster at the beginning of last season.

    Penn State may be an unlikely winner this coming season, but Bill O'Brien has already delivered an impressive eight-win season in his first year. Don't be surprised if he does it again.

    Winner: Penn State Nittany Lions.

Purdue at Indiana

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Indiana came incredibly close to an eight-win season in 2012, and the Hoosiers should be able to take the next step forward in 2013.

    The Hoosiers lost only four games by more than four points apiece, and they even came within three points of ruining Ohio State's perfect season.

    The bad part for Indiana is that Purdue was one of the big losses. Purdue squished Indiana by a final score of 56-35.

    Indiana can make a bowl game with or without a win over Purdue, and that's a good thing to keep in mind if you're an Indiana fan in November.

    Winner: Purdue Boilermakers.

Tennessee at Kentucky

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Tennessee and Kentucky have been battling to avoid being the worst team in the SEC for a couple of seasons now.

    In 2012, things took a nasty turn (for everyone else), as Auburn and Arkansas fought to see who could claim the fastest drop from the top. That left Tennessee and Kentucky fighting for the bottom portion of the middle of the pack.

    Tennessee bested the Wildcats by 20 points in 2012, and the new head coach will make sure that Kentucky is a win for the Volunteers.

    Both schools are under new head coaches, but either one could turn out to be the next Hugh Freeze. Fortunately for Tennessee, there will have to be at least one more recruiting class before Kentucky is able to win this game on a regular basis.

    Winner: Tennessee Volunteers.

Texas A&M at Missouri

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Texas A&M and Missouri had completely different first-year experiences in the SEC. Texas A&M contended for the title and knocked off then-No. 1 (and eventual national champion) Alabama.

    Missouri did nothing of the sort. The Tigers were plagued by injuries, and that ultimately kept them home for the postseason festivities.

    Texas A&M beat Missouri by 31 points last season, but Missouri was depleted at the time. Missouri will have a much better showing against the Aggies in 2013, unless the injury bug bites again. It won't be enough to win the SEC, but it will be enough to get them far away from the bottom of the conference.

    Maybe they will be able to win this game in 2014.

    Winner: Texas A&M Aggies.

Texas vs. Oklahoma

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

    Oklahoma dominated Texas from kickoff to the end of the match in 2012. Oklahoma finished the game 63-21 and allowed Texas to score only eight total points in the first three quarters.

    Oklahoma ran through last season with only three losses, and the Sooners are still national contenders. Granted, they have some work to do, but not nearly as much as other teams on this list.

    Texas, on the other hand, has a ton of work to do on defense. One game, the Longhorns are showing up on every play and dominating the opponent; the next game, they are simply missing fundamental tackles and letting some set of scrubs run roughshod over them.

    The Red River Rivalry can be a great game, but both teams have to show up with their "A-game." If not, this thing could look just as ugly as last season's clash.

    The score will be closer than last season, but Oklahoma will still come out on top.

    Winner: Oklahoma Sooners.

UCLA at USC

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    UCLA and USC are extremely close schools. Their battle is not for state supremacy but for ownership of a city.

    USC has been the better team recently up until the tide turned in 2012. After a 50-0 blowout in 2011, UCLA defied all odds to beat the Trojans 38-28 in 2012.

    The 2013 rotation will provide further opportunity for the Bruins to hold the city for another year. While USC is busy rebuilding after losing Matt Barkley under center, UCLA will be continuing to develop Brett Hundley.

    Hundley was a freshman in 2012 when he took the UCLA Bruins to the Pac-12 title game against Stanford and lost. This season, he will be more mature and better able to handle the pressures of getting up for Pac-12 games every week.

    While he may not lead UCLA to the conference championship game again, it's fairly likely. There aren't many teams in the Pac-12 South standing in his way. The top three are Arizona State, Arizona and USC (in that order).

    He should be able to dispatch USC with ease.

    Winner: UCLA Bruins.

Utah, Utah State and BYU (for the State of Utah)

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    Utah State at Utah: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013.

    Utah at BYU: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.

    BYU at Utah State: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013.

    This is a three-way battle for the state of Utah. BYU, Utah State and Utah all hail from the Land of 1,000 Lakes, and they have fierce battles that last into the night each season.

    Last year, one of the craziest finishes of the season was when Utah's fans gave BYU two chances to tie the game with a field goal. The fans rushed the field, and it resulted in penalties that looked to give the game to the Cougars.

    BYU is returning Kyle Van Noy, one of the best defenders in the country. He alone snatched the Cougars' Poinsettia Bowl victory from the jaws of defeat. He is a game-changer, and he will be demolishing offenses for one final year in 2013.

    Utah has a way to go before contending for a Pac-12 title, but it is always competitive in the state championship. Last season, all three teams won one of these matches. Utah beat BYU and lost to Utah State, and BYU Beat Utah State.

    In 2013, things will turn out more decisive. Utah State will bring in its seventh-ranked scoring defense to trounce the Utah Utes in the season opener and BYU will come out strong behind Taysom Hill (quarterback) and linebacker Van Noy to win the state outright.

    Winners: Utah State over Utah, BYU over Utah and Utah State.

    State Champion: BYU Cougars.

USC at Notre Dame

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    When: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.

    USC and Notre Dame had a battle royale at the end of last season, but it will come much sooner than that in 2013. USC stayed competitive in this game last season, but the Irish offense was just too much for the Trojans to handle.

    Everett Golson's scoring offense ranked 80th in the country last season, and USC couldn't cope with it. In 2013, Notre Dame will be offensively better than it was a year ago.

    Based on USC's performance in the windy Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech this past winter, Notre Dame will run away with this game after the second half kicks off.

    Winner: Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Virginia Tech at Virginia

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Virginia Tech and Virginia participate in rivalry weekend, but this match is almost as lopsided (at the moment) as the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech rivalry.

    Virginia Tech's quarterback, Logan Thomas, may not be everything the Hokies hoped he would be, but he is certainly capable of leading them to victory over a Virginia squad that ended 2012 with a 4-8 record.

    Virginia Tech won the 2012 battle by three points, and this coming season's meeting won't be a blowout. However, Virginia has more question marks at quarterback than Tech does.

    This game will all depend on which quarterback shows up throwing darts. After losing to Alabama in the 2013 season opener, Virginia Tech is going to turn on the afterburners to keep from humiliating itself further.

    Virginia will be collateral damage.

    Winner: Virginia Tech Hokies.

Wake Forest at Vanderbilt

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013.

    Vanderbilt and Wake Forest is a rivalry game, but it's currently a complete mismatch. Wake Forest went 5-7 in 2012 with double-digit losses to Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt.

    The Vanderbilt loss was by 34 points. Even losing its starting quarterback and star running back, Vanderbilt will still be better than Wake in 2013.

    This game was much more competitive before James Franklin came to Vandy and decided that the Commodores needed a football program.

    Winner: Vanderbilt Commodores.

Washington State at Washington

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    When: Friday, Nov. 29, 2013.

    Washington State did the unthinkable and took down then-No. 25 Washington at the end of last season. It was unthinkable because the Cougars had only beaten Eastern Washington (FCS) and UNLV before kicking off against the Huskies.

    They Cougars saved themselves from a 10-loss season by taking down a team that had beaten the Pac-12 champion Stanford Cardinal.

    Washington is unlikely to let that happen a second year in a row. All year long, quarterback Keith Price will be thinking of the two 2012 games he should have won: Washington State and Boise State.

    If Washington won only two games next season, you'd be wise to assume they will be the 2013 opener and closer against those two teams.

    Winner: Washington Huskies.