November 16, 2006

Plenty to play for in these rivalry games

No. 1 vs. No. 2 Fact box:
  • No. 1 is 13-6-2
  • Eight times the winner of this game has won the national championship
  • Twice the loser of this game has won the national championship
  • *Does not include bowl games
    Video Preview: Ohio State vs. Michigan

    One of the biggest rivalry games in college football will be even bigger this year.

    When No. 1 Ohio State plays host to No. 2 Michigan on Saturday, it will be the 21st time the top two teams in the polls have met in the regular season.

    As if the Buckeyes playing the Wolverines didn't need anymore build-up, this year's game will decide one and who knows, maybe both teams in the national championship game.

    Should Ohio State win this game, the Buckeyes will be the first No. 1 team since 1945 to beat the No. 2 team in the country twice. Ohio State knocked off then-No. 2 Texas earlier this season.

    No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups are no stranger to rivalry games. They've featured Florida-Florida State, Notre Dame-USC, Notre Dame-Michigan, Oklahoma-Nebraska and Army-Navy.

    Here's a look at the last five rivalry games between No. 1 and No. 2:

    The No. 1 vs. No. 2 Rivalry Games
    Nov. 30, 1996:
    No. 2 Florida State 24, No. 1 Florida 20 in Tallahassee

    Florida State denied Florida its only undefeated season in school history by beating up on Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel. The eventual Heisman Trophy winner, Wuerffel passed for 362 yards and three touchdowns. However, Florida State's top-ranked defense sacked him six times and intercepted three of his passes. Behind Warrick Dunn's career-high 185 rushing yards, FSU earned its only victory over the country's No. 1 team.

    How the season ended: Florida earned a rematch with the Seminoles after beating Alabama 45-30 in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators received some help from an unranked Texas team that beat No. 3 Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship Game. Wuerffel and the Gators got revenge on FSU in the Sugar Bowl, beating the Seminoles 52-20 for the national championship.

    Nov. 16, 1991:
    No. 2 Miami 17, No. 1 Florida State 16 in Tallahassee

    Also known as Wide Right I. Florida State took a 16-3 lead in the third quarter, but Miami quarterback Gino Torretta led the Hurricanes' comeback. The Canes took the lead on Larry Jones' 1-yard touchdown run with 3:01 remaining. When Florida State got the ball back, the Seminoles drove into Miami territory and set up a 34-yard field-goal attempt for Gerry Thomas. The FSU kicker had made three field goals in the game, but missed his final attempt. Thomas' kick sailed wide right in front of a perplexed Bobby Bowden.

    How the season ended: Miami (12-0) went on to beat Boston College and San Diego State to end the regular season and then won the national championship with a win over No. 11 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Florida State lost to Florida in its next game, but beat Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl for an 11-2 season.

    Sept. 16, 1989:
    No. 1 Notre Dame 24, No. 2 Michigan 19 in Ann Arbor

    Notre Dame spoiled Michigan's bid for a national championship with help from a kickoff return for a touchdown from sophomore Raghib Ismail. During the contest, the Wolverines replaced injured senior quarterback Michael Taylor with Elvis Grbac, who had not completed a collegiate pass. Grbac led a scoring drive to narrow Notre Dame's lead to 17-12, then Ismail returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to seal the win.

    How the season ended: Notre Dame won its next nine games before losing on the road to eventual national champion Miami 27-10. Notre Dame finished the season 12-1 by beating Colorado in the Orange Bowl. The loss to the Irish was the only one during the regular season for Michigan, who then lost to USC in the Rose Bowl.

    Nov. 26, 1988:
    No. 1 Notre Dame 27, No. 2 USC 10 in Los Angeles

    Notre Dame played the game without its leading rusher (Tony Brooks) and leading receiver (Ricky Watters). Each was suspended for the contest, but it didn't matter against the mistake-prone Trojans. USC quarterback Rodney Peete threw three interceptions before leaving the game in the second half with his arm in a sling. Notre Dame got a 65-yard touchdown run from quarterback Tony Rice and a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown from cornerback Stan Smagala.

    How the season ended: Notre Dame finished the regular season 11-0 before beating West Virginia 34-21 in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship. USC went on to lose to Michigan 22-14 in the Rose Bowl.

    Nov. 21, 1987:
    No. 2 Oklahoma 17, No. 1 Nebraska 7 in Lincoln

    The score looks deceiving, but this was a rout for the Sooners. Oklahoma racked up 419 rushing yards against a Nebraska team that entered the game allowing 67.9 yards per game. Freshman quarterback Chuck Thompson led the wishbone attack. OU had three 100-yard rushers on the day with Thompson, halfback Patrick Collins and fullback Rotnei Anderson eclipsing the century mark.

    How the season ended: Oklahoma went on to the Orange Bowl, where the Sooners lost to Miami 20-14. Nebraska went on to lose to Florida State 31-28 in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Other regular season meetings between No. 1 and No. 2:
    Sept. 9, 2006: No. 1 Ohio State 24, No. 2 Texas 7
    Nov. 14, 1993: No. 2 Notre Dame 31, No. 1 Florida State 24
    Sept. 27, 1986: No. 2 Miami 28, No. 1 Oklahoma 16
    Oct. 19, 1985: No. 1 Iowa 12, No. 2 Michigan 10
    Sept. 26, 1981: No. 1 USC 28, No. 2 Oklahoma 24
    Nov. 25, 1971: No. 1 Nebraska 35, No. 2 Oklahoma 31
    Dec. 6, 1969: No. 1 Texas 15, No. 2 Arkansas 14
    Sept. 28, 1968: No. 1 Purdue 37, No. 2 Notre Dame 22
    Nov. 19, 1966: No. 1 Notre Dame 10, No. 2 Michigan State 10
    Oct. 12, 1963: No. 2 Texas 29, No.1 Oklahoma 7
    Nov. 9, 1946: No. 1 Army 0, No. 2 Notre Dame 0
    Dec. 1, 1945: No. 1 Army 32, No. 2 Navy 13
    Nov. 10, 1945: No. 1 Army 48, No. 2 Notre Dame 0
    Dec. 2, 1944: No. 1 Army 23, No. 2 Navy 7
    Nov. 20, 1943: No. 1 Notre Dame 14, No. 2 Iowa Pre-Flight 13
    Oct. 9, 1943: No. 1 Notre Dame 35, No. 2 Michigan 12



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