It still early in the college football season, but right now there are a handful of games where big rivals could square off in their final game of the regular season with both teams unbeaten.
Today is too soon to start the hype for these games, but you can be sure the fans of these teams have already let the fantasy of meeting their mortal enemy on the field with championships and bragging rights on the line creep into their thoughts.
So, who are these day dreaming fans?
Auburn at Alabama, November 26
Right now Alabama is the nation’s top ranked team and Auburn football has quickly caught the fancy of poll voters after their wins over Clemson and South Carolina in back-to-back weeks. Currently the Tigers are lurking just outside the top ten at number eleven.
Where are the significant opportunities for each team to be tripped up?
Before the two meet Alabama’s football team will face off against Florida this weekend and still has dates with South Carolina and LSU. Obviously there is the rest of the SEC schedule to tackle, which means Bama could get caught in a game where they are not quite as focused as they should be. Think Mississippi State.
A quick glance at Auburn’s schedule shows LSU and Arkansas lurking as real challenges. Typically Georgia would be a game that would go into the toss up bin, but this is not a normal year in Athens. Like the Tide, there are other teams who could provide a surprise on any given Saturday.
Who has the better chance to enter the “Iron Bowl” undefeated in November?
With all of the open weeks Alabama’s opposition will enjoy before facing the Crimson Tide it looks like Auburn has the better chance of winning out between now and then.
Michigan at Ohio State, November 27
Ohio State is sitting at number two and Denard Robinson looks like the player Michigan has needed to run Rich Rodriquez’s offense.
When these two powers meet in the Horseshoe the spotlight will be on the quarterbacks for both teams. Robinson has made his way onto almost every Heisman watch by rushing and passing for 354 yards through four games. Ohio State’s Pryor has ten touchdown passes on the season and is connecting on 66% of his tosses.
What is waiting for each team as the rest of the season unfolds?
For Ohio State’s football team there are two road contests that provide an opportunity for the Buckeyes to trip along the way. First up will be an October meeting with Wisconsin and the other is the final game before Michigan when Ohio State will travel to Iowa. Before their lost to Arizona the game with the Hawkeyes looked much more formidable.
Michigan has games with Michigan State and Iowa at home that need to be circled on the calendar. They also have a contest with Wisconsin before the big game.
Who is more likely to make it to Columbus without a loss when Michigan and Ohio State meet in football this season?
It is hard to believe Michigan’s Robinson will continue to play at the high level he has shown so far. Teams are going to either figure out how to slow him down or the beating he is taking will have an increasing impact with each game. With this in mind it makes Ohio State the better candidate to be undefeated on the last day of the regular season.
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, November 27
In spite of their inconsistency this year Oklahoma’s football team goes into this weekend’s game against Texas without a blemish on their record. Oklahoma State is piling up yards with their passing game and the results are showing on the scoreboard.
Dana Holgorsen was hired by Mike Gundy to put a new offense in place for the Cowboy’s and the results so far have been spectacular. Besides putting an average of 57 points per game on the opposition, Oklahoma State has forced teams to respect both their ground and air attack.
Oklahoma will look to exploit the Oklahoma State defense with Landry Jones throwing the ball, and this game has the early makings of a track meet between these two classic rivals.
Which teams on their schedule have the best chance to push Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from the ranks of the unbeaten?
Oklahoma State has several tough outings to play before they can think about being undefeated when the Sooners show up in Stillwater. The first test will come against Texas A&M this Thursday, after that they will have to take on Nebraska, Kansas State and Texas. K-State and the Longhorns will both be away games for OSU.
The Sooners face off against Texas in the Red River game Saturday. Other games to be wary of for Oklahoma include their matchups with Missouri, Texas A&M and Tommy Tuberville’s Texas Tech team. Of these only the Tech game will be played in Norman.
Which team has the better opportunity do their part by arriving undefeated for the game?
If Oklahoma takes the Longhorns down this weekend the edge goes to them. They will have taken down two quality opponents in Florida State and Texas while Oklahoma State has not faced a real test yet.
Final note: Northwestern and Wisconsin are also both undefeated currently and will meet in the final regular season contest for each team. An evaluation was not done for that game as it is not a true “rival” game, and really, do you expect Northwestern to stay undefeated between now and then?