NCAA Football 2010: Six Rivalry Games That Will Lose Their Importance
It's three full weeks into the 2010 college football season, and trends are starting to emerge.
Some of the usual suspects hit the "UP" button on the elevator once again, while others are in free fall. Others just make you scratch your head.
With the changes we have seen this year, certain rivalry games will lose their luster, as they won't carry the weight of seasons past.
Here's a look at some (traditionally) big games that may not be in prime time later this year, or possibly on television at all.
Alabama at Tennessee, Oct. 23
Coach Dooley is the right man for the job in Knoxville. Give him a few years and he will fashion a team that is right back in the thick of the SEC title hunt.
Let's get on thing straight, however. This isn't the year.
Nick Saban's Crimson Tide is on a roll, and they'll roll right through Neyland Stadium on the third Saturday in October.
The largest stadium in the SEC will probably be full for kickoff, but about two-thirds empty by the end of the third quarter.
Tennessee picked a terrible year to schedule three top-10 teams at home. Alabama and Florida can't be helped, but Oregon? Maybe it made sense at the time...
Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 27
At some level, it makes for a great storyline. The most loved program in the history of college football faces the most currently loathed coach.
Give him a few years, and Lane Kiffin will be the most despised figure in all of the game, and quite possibly the world.
The problem with the actual matchup is that neither of these teams are very good, at all.
The Trojans are 3-0, but have yet to face a team with a pulse, or even really show up against the stiffs they have played. Notre Dame has played three games also, and lost two of them.
Once upon a time, this game really meant something. It may again someday. It just won't be this year.
Virginia at Virginia Tech, Nov. 27
It wasn't supposed to be this way. Virginia Tech was going pull the minor upset of Boise State, run through the rest of their schedule, and pummel in-state rival Virginia on their way to a BCS bowl.
Now the BCS part could still happen, if the Hokies can come out on top of a shamed ACC, but would anyone take them seriously if they did?
What makes it even worse for Virginia Tech are those god-awful uniforms they debuted in that fateful Monday night opener. Even Oregon's vomit-schemed unis are better than what they had on for a national audience.
Maybe 2011 will be better for the Atlantic Coast Conference. It could hardly be worse than this year...
Georgia Tech at Georgia, Nov. 27
"Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate?" The 2010 edition of this long-term rivalry reads more like "Filthy, Modern Garbage."
For all the preseason hype, Georgia looks like a terrible football season. It's never OK for the 'Dawgs to lose to South Carolina. At least Vanderbilt and Tennessee are on the schedule for (possible) lame-duck coach Mark Richt.
Georgia Tech's highlight of the season so far has been clipping a North Carolina squad that still has virtually all their star players suspended. Not exactly a great sign for the defending ACC champions.
Whoever wins this game is a shoo-in for a bowl game played right around the time most of America is opening their Christmas presents.
You should be able to hear a deafening silence in the converted baseball stadium it is played in.
Georgia vs. Florida, Oct. 30
Call it "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." Call it "The Georgia-Florida Football Classic." Call it what you want, just forget about it deciding anything this year.
Georgia is in free-fall. Florida had better tighten up if it wants to remain near the top of the rankings.
Over the last few seasons, this game has been a stepping stone for the Gators on their way towards at least a berth in the SEC Championship game. There may not be quite as much at stake in 2010.
At least the tailgating will be interesting. It always is in Jacksonville.
USC at UCLA, Dec. 4
USC can't go to a bowl game because of its probation. UCLA can't because, well, because it's terrible and most likely won't win enough games to get eligible.
This game will determine the city championship of Los Angeles. That, and little else.
At least the Trojans will get to play in the Rose Bowl this year. It just won't be full, or against a Big Ten team.
The bigger you are, the harder you fall...