June 28, 2007

Rivalry Week: Lost rivalries we'd like to see

Which lost rivalry would you like to see?
Miami (Fla.) vs. Florida
Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
Penn State vs. Pittsburgh
Arkansas vs. Texas
South Carolina vs. North Carolina

Rivals.com is taking a look at the best rivalries in college football - new and old.

Today we look at matchups that should be rivalries but no longer exist or never did. Cast your vote here for one that you'd like to see and share your rationale. We may use your comments tomorrow when we reveal the results. Did we miss one? Tell us that, too.

Take a minute to turn back the clock and pine for the days of intrastate rivalries and annual showdowns in conferences that no longer exist.

The new league alignments in the 1990s forced the demise of many of the independent powers. It also marked the end of the Big 8 and Southwest conferences.

Left behind in the wake were several key rivalries that produced some of the most exciting games of the previous 50 years.

Here's our rivalries wish list:

1. Miami vs. Florida
Once a staple in the Sunshine State, this series has almost disappeared - save for an occasional matchup. When the two teams played every year from 1938-87, neither program was what it is today. Florida controlled the series for much of that time, winning eight of nine meetings from 1971-79, before Miami became "The U" and before Florida adopted the Fun 'n' Gun. The two teams have met four times since the series ended - twice in bowl games and in a home-and-home series. Miami won all four of those meetings. These two programs needed to meet on a yearly basis in their primes. It's too late for that, but they can try and address the future.
2. Oklahoma vs. Nebraska
This matchup was featured yesterday in our declining rivalries, and we would love to be able to remove it from that list. The Big 12 has muted this storied this Big 8 rivalry. Even the styles of play between the two teams Nebraska's option and Oklahoma's wishbone have all but left major college football. The rivalry reached its apex in 1987 when No. 1 Nebraska met No. 2 Oklahoma in Lincoln. Barry Switzer's Sooners knocked off the Cornhuskers for a chance at the national championship. The closest we've come since was the Big 12 title game last season, when Oklahoma beat Nebraska 21-7. Even though the two teams are in opposite divisions, we'd love to make this a permanent fixture in the Big 12.
3. Penn State vs. Pittsburgh
This annual series ended in 1992 after 92 meetings. The teams met four times from 1997-2000, but Penn State coach Joe Paterno indicated earlier this summer he's not optimistic the series will restart anytime soon. There has been a little bad blood between Paterno and Pitt in recent years. The Penn State head coach tried to recruit the in-state Panthers to form a Northeastern football conference. Pitt instead joined the Big East, and Penn State moved on to the Big Ten. This is one of many in-state rivalries we'd like to see each year.
4. Arkansas vs. Texas
The demise of the Southwest Conference took some of the luster off Oklahoma-Nebraska, but it has all but ended the Texas-Arkansas rivalry. This game used to decide a trip to the Cotton Bowl. Like this rivalry, the Cotton Bowl has seen its significance drop considerably. In 1969, Texas beat Arkansas 15-14 in a matchup of previously unbeaten teams. President Richard Nixon, who was in attendance, named the Longhorns national champions (much to the annoyance of an undefeated Penn State team). Oklahoma has since replaced the Hogs as Texas' primary out-of-state rival. The Razorbacks have some interesting series in the SEC, and they play LSU for the "Golden Boot." But that trophy game was born in 1996, meaning Arkansas lacks a traditional rival now that they don't face the Longhorns annually. The good news is that Arkansas and Texas will at least renew the rivalry for a home-and-home in 2008-09. Here's hoping they set up several more matchups in the future.
5. South Carolina vs. North Carolina
Go ahead and laugh if you want. We know that between the two of these teams the last conference title was in 1980. That North Carolina team went 11-1 and won the ACC thanks to a defensive star named Lawrence Taylor. The matchup between state border schools ended in 1991, but the two teams will meet up again this year. We believe things are looking up for both teams. Coaches Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis have proven track records and are making their presences felt on the recruiting trail. The talent level between these two teams should skyrocket over the next few years. We'd love to see them go head-to-head on the field for years to come.

Cast your vote here for the lost rivalry you would most like to see return

David Fox is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dfox@rivals.com.


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