Separation Saturday: College Football's Biggest Weekends of 2008
Anyone remember Sep. 16, 2006? This was a day that saw seven games with two ranked teams playing each other.
No. 6 LSU vs. No. 3 Auburn
No. 11 Michigan @ No. 2 Notre Dame
No. 19 Nebraska @ No. 4 USC
No. 7 Florida @ No. 13 Tennessee
No. 17 Miami @ No. 12 Louisville
No. 15 Oklahoma @ No. 18 Oregon
No. 24 Texas Tech @ No. 20 TCU
Oklahoma-Oregon had one of the most controversial calls since instant replay has been in use (everyone forgets that a few years ago there would have been no replay to be controversial). This, of course, was the infamous onside kick call. Oregon won 34-33—no need for an asterisk.
LSU-Auburn also had a bit of controversy with a pass interference call on a tipped pass that was reviewed, and where the ball was deemed uncatchable. Auburn held on for a 7-3 win.
As I have always said over and over again in both cases, the games were not over, and the other teams still had a chance to win the games.
Miami, in a show of disrespect for Louisville, stomped on the Cardinals' logo before the game. The Cardinals stomped on the Hurricanes 31-7 during the game.
Michigan went to No. 2 Notre Dame and came out with a 47-21 win. Notre Dame fell to No. 12.
Nebraska fans claimed a whole lot of restoring the order, but really they were still down. USC proved it, winning 28-10.
TCU was still making a move for the BCS by opening 3-0, including the win over No. 24 Texas Tech 12-3. They went on to lose the next week to BYU.
The Close One
Florida and Tennessee is one of the defining games of the SEC East most every season, with this one no different. Florida won 21-20 and went on to become National Champs.
2007 also had a day where a large group of ranked teams played, although for some reason I don’t remember hearing a lot about it. I included the Thursday night game, but even without it, it was still quite the day.
Oct. 6, 2007
No. 8 Kentucky @ No. 11 South Carolina (Oct. 4)
No. 25 Nebraska @ No. 17 Missouri
No. 9 Florida @ No. 1 LSU
No. 4 Ohio State @ No. 23 Purdue
No. 10 Oklahoma vs. No. 19 Texas
No. 15 Virginia Tech @ No. 22 Clemson
No. 20 Cincinnati @ No. 21 Rutgers
Eventual National Champion LSU beat defending National Champion Florida by four.
The Red River Shootout should always be good. It was a 28-21 win by Oklahoma in another close matchup.
Cincinnati edged Rutgers 28-23 with the help of two touchdowns in 19 seconds in the third quarter.
Missouri took Nebraska out of the rankings by defeating them 41-6.
Purdue fell out of the rankings as well when they fell to Ohio State 23-7.
Clemson did put up points, but Virginia Tech put up more. 41-23 may not seem like a blowout, but 15 of Clemson’s points came in the fourth quarter.
Kentucky and South Carolina weren’t the two SEC schools you would expect to see ranked this high. South Carolina walked away in the second half with a 38-23 win.
That all brings us to this year. We can only guess who will and won't be ranked later in the season. Here are my picks for the big weekends of ranked teams playing.
Florida @ Tennessee
Georgia @ Arizona State
LSU @ Auburn
Wake Forest @ Florida State
Boise State @ Oregon
Other potential games
Alabama @ Arkansas: If both win to start 3-0, it would include Alabama beating Clemson and Arkansas beating Texas.
Iowa @ Pitt: Both should be at least in the top 35 to start the season, so winning up to this point could have them ranked.
Clemson @ Wake Forest (Oct. 9)
LSU @ Florida
Tennessee @ Georgia
Penn State @ Wisconsin
Oklahoma vs. Texas
Arizona State @ USC
Other potential game
Nebraska @ Texas Tech: Nebraska should have three wins to open the season before getting VT and Missouri back-to-back. If they win, they should be ranked. I don’t see much before this one to give TT a challenge.
Auburn @ West Virginia (Oct. 23)
Georgia @ LSU
Penn State @ Ohio State
Texas Tech @ Kansas
Virginia Tech @ Florida State
Oregon @ Arizona State
I don’t know if I see much more for this week, although the Big East could get a couple like USF @ Louisville and Rutgers @ Pitt.
Whatever you want to call them, these days will be end to end some of the best days of college football this season.
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