5 College Football Games That Should Become Heated Annual Rivalries

With all that has happened in college football expansion over the last 5 years we have lost some of the game’s finest rivalries. Missouri vs Kansas, Texas vs Texas A&M, and West Virginia vs Pitt are all rivalries of the past. However college football expansion has also brought on some new rivalries as well. Texas A&M vs Alabama, Iowa vs Nebraska, and Utah vs Colorado are just a few of the rivalry games that have been added to college football Saturdays. All three of those rivalries however have been recently formed or renewed. This had the die hard college football fan inside of me thinking “What are some other games that could become great rivalries?” The criteria for this list was simple the two teams had to have a geographic tie and have the ability to instantly become fierce natural rivals. The teams are allowed to have played before as long as they have not played in three consecutive years in the last ten years. Teams scheduled to have future games played are also allowed to make the list. Each rivalry is given a nickname and a neutral site location if warranted such in the case of Army vs Navy, OU vs Texas, or UGA vs Florida.

#5.  Pitt vs Penn State


This once in state rivalry peaked in the 80’s when both programs saw a great deal of success. The Nittany Lions winning two national titles in 1982 and 1986 under Joe Paterno and the Pitt Panthers achieving their own success with a young quarterback named Dan Marino at the helm. In 1982 both teams had one loss heading into a top 5 showdown in Happy Valley. Penn State came out winners and later went on to defeat #1 ranked Georgia on New Years Day to capture the National Title.  However these two teams have only played each other four times in the twenty years that Penn State has been in the Big Ten. The two are scheduled to play again starting in 2016 until 2019. But this rivalry is too good to put a start and end date on. This is a game that should be played every year on Thanksgiving. Now that Pittsburgh is in the ACC and no longer plays “The Backyard Brawl” with West Virginia, they need a natural rival to play every year. And Penn State has struggled to find its own natural rivalry as an East Coast team in the Midwest dominated Big Ten. The fans, players, and universities would greatly benefit from the renewal of this in state battle. The two schools would alternate in a home and home format and the rivalry could be dubbed “Hate In The Steel State.”

#4. Tennessee vs Virginia Tech


Though these two teams have only met three times in their history, this game has the makings of a great SEC vs ACC rivalry similar to UGA vs Georgia Tech, South Carolina vs Clemson, and Florida vs Florida State. The two teams proximity, winning traditions, and future neutral site location in place could make this THE inter-conference rivalry of the future. In 2016 the two schools separated by only 239 miles will meet in the middle and face off at Bristol Motor Speedway. Both schools have passionate fans who will be sure that the 160,000 racing coliseum will be filled to capacity in shades of orange. Both schools are in need of a competitive annual rivalry. Tennessee for the most part has been dominated by SEC rival Alabama, and in the ACC Tech has done most of the dominating to in state rival UVA. “The Battle of the Bristol” as it is being called should be played every third year at the raceway with the two school alternating home and home the other two years.

#3. North Carolina vs South Carolina


The second of our ACC vs SEC matchups includes two Carolina powerhouses the North Carolina Tar Heels and the South Carolina Gamecocks. For almost 60 years these two schools played annually as ACC neighbors. But have only played each other twice since USC joined the SEC in 1992, the Gamecocks winning both match ups. The two schools are scheduled to play again in 2015 in Charlotte but not again after that. This rivalry makes too much sense not to be played every year. The two schools are just a three hour drive from each other. South Carolina has found stable success in the SEC under Coach Steve Spurrier while the Tar Heels look to create their own winning ways with Junior Quarterback Marquise Williams at the helm. Spurrier who coached at Duke in the early 80’s would love to schedule his old rival every year. And if anyone can ignite a rivalry Steve Spurrier can. Both of these schools are located on beautiful campuses and play in magnificent stadiums. So it only makes sense that the “Clash of the Carolina’s” be played on the two schools campuses the first weekend of the season under a setting Carolina sun.

#2. Texas vs Arkansas


These two powerhouses once battled for Southwest Conference suppremacy in a heated rivalry. However in 1992 Arkansas bolted for the SEC and Texas found its new home in the Big 12. Since the SWC folded, the Longhorns and Razorbacks have only met four times, both schools winning two games a piece. Both schools are headed in a new directions under new coaches. Texas enters its first season under Charlie Strong while Arky looks to improve under second year coach Bret Bielema. What better way to start a new era than to revive this great rivalry. Both of these schools major annual rivalry game has been shaken up by Texas A&M’s move to the SEC. UT lost their Thanksgiving night classic and Arkansas will no longer play LSU on left over Turkey Day the Friday after Thanksgiving, as the Tigers will now play A&M in their season finale. This magnificent rivalry game should only be played in a magnificent stadium. Which is why the “Southwest Showdown” should be played at Arkansas alum and Texas native Jerry Jones’ AT&T stadium. The winner of the game would recieve the “Jones-RazorHorn Trophy”.

1. Ohio State vs West Virginia


The final game on our list is between Ohio State and West Virginia. The Buckeyes and Mountaineers have only played twice in the last 100 years but georgraphic ties, winning traditions, and similar local economic sturctures could spark an instant rivalry. Now before I go any further there is just one thing I want to make clear. Michigan will ALWAYS be Ohio State’s #1 rival. Nothing will ever change that. But the West Virginia game could be that midseason rivalry game that excites Buckeye nation while they wait for the Wolverines. Similar to the Alabama-LSU game versus the Alabama-Auburn game. WVU on the other hand needs a natural rivalry game since the “Backyard Brawl” with Pitt ended. Both of these schools are in states with a rich history in steel, iron, and coal mills. And nothing is better than a gritty blue collar rivalry. Ohio State has always played a strong non conference schedule, evident in its past games with USC, Miami (FL) and Cal. And as for the Mountaineers, WVU would jump at the chance to find a close proximity rival since as they have struggled to be a regional fit in the Big 12. The “The Coal Bowl” as it would become known as would be played on the third Saturday of September in a home and home format.

Game of Throws: Connor Shaw

Connor Shaw #14 South Carolina

Height: 6’0

Weight: 206 lbs

College Stats
457 Completions of 700 Attempts
56 Passing Touchdowns
16 Interceptions
1,683 Rushing Yards
17 Rushing Touchdowns

College Awards and Accomplishments
2014 Capital One Bowl MVP
Winningest Quarterback in South Carolina history
Undefeated When Playing at Home

NFL Comparison: Russell Wilson

Analysis: To quote South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier “Connor Shaw is the best quarterback we have ever had here at South Carolina.” During his time as the starter for the Gamecocks Shaw was undefeated at Williams-Brice Stadium while guiding the Gamecocks to three straight 11 win season. He also commanded three of USC’s five straight wins over their cross state rival the Clemson Tigers. Shaw has superb ability to win on the big stage. He was a combined 7-2 vs rivals Clemson, Georgia, and Florida and 3-0 in Bowl Games. Shaw also came off the bench with a sprained ankle vs #5 Mizzou in the fourth quarter with the Gamecocks down 17 and guided them to a double overtime comeback. Similar to his NFL Comparrison Russell Wilson, Shaw’s size will cause him to fall to a mid to late round pick. However like Russell Wilson, Shaw has the skills, determination, and state of mind to achieve great success in the NFL. Playing in the pro style under Spurrier in college will certainly be attractive to teams who are considering taking the electrifying dual threat.

Peak Pick: Round 4 #106 to Dallas
Pit Pick: Round 5 #168 to Seattle
Predicted Pick: Round 4 #132 to Detroit


Game of Throws: Aaron Murray

Aaron Murray #11 Georgia

Height: 6’1

Weight: 208 lbs

College Stats
921 Completions of 1478 Attempts
13,166 Passing Yards
121 Passing Touchdowns
41 Interceptions

College Awards and Accomplishments
2010 Freshman All-American
2010 Freshman All-SEC
2011 Second Team All-SEC
2012 Third Team All-American
2012 Honorable Mention All-SEC
2013 Capital One Bowl MVP
SEC Career Passing Touchdown Record
SEC Career Passing Yards Record

NFL Comparison: Andy Dalton

Analysis: A four year starter at UGA Aaron Murray shattered SEC passing records en route to leading Georgia to two appearances in the SEC Championship Game. Murray has been excellent in the pro style at UGA which will make his transition to the NFL that much easier. He resembles Bengals QB Andy Dalton in size, ability to throw the deep ball, and on field leadership. A devastating ACL injury in his second to last game at UGA cut his college career short and set him back a little bit in the pre draft process. Though he didn’t participate in the NFL Combine he is expected to be ready to throw at Georgia’s pro day. Aaron Murray can flourish in the NFL if he is surrounded with top talent. Throughout his career Murray has benefited from the future NFL talent around him. (AJ Green, Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall.) If he has the right weapons, Aaron Murray has the ability to be a quality starter in the NFL  and could be a steal in a mid to late round.

Peak Pick: Round 2 #38 to Tampa Bay
Pit Pick: Round 4 #106 to Dallas
Predicted Pick: Round 3 #69 to New York Jets

Game of Throws: Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd #10 Clemson

Height: 6’1

Weight: 222 lbs

College Stats
901 Completions of 1402 Attempts
11,904 Passing Yards
107 Passing Touchdowns
39 Interceptions
1,165 Rushing Yards
26 Rushing Touchdowns

College Awards and Accomplishments
2011 First Team All-ACC
2011 ACC Championship Game MVP
2012 First Team All-American
2012 First Team All-ACC
2012 ACC Player of the Year
2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl MVP
2013 Second Team All-ACC

NFL Comparison: Donovan McNabb

Analysis: A masterful passer, with explosive velocity and powerful running ability, Tajh Boyd is a fantastic athlete who will certainly find a home on an NFL roster. Boyd isn’t the ideal NFL height but he makes up for it in his strength. Boyd is similar to former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Neither one are “dual threat quarterbacks”, but they are athletic enough to tuck it and go when flushed from the pocket. While Boyd was surrounded by top receiver talent who could often turn his short passes into long gains, he is still a great play maker with heads up instincts. Due to mechanic issues Boyd isn’t ready to start in the NFL just yet and will most likely be picked on day two or three of the draft. However he can bring something to an NFL roster as a serviceable backup, a read option QB in practice, and could be a great play maker out of the wildcat formation a few snaps a game.

Peak Pick: Round 2 #38 to Tampa Bay
Pit Pick: Round 3 #69 to New York Jets
Predicted Pick: Round 2 #38 to Tampa Bay

Game of Throws: AJ McCarron

AJ McCarron #10 Alabama

Height: 6’4

Weight: 220 lbs

College Stats
686 Completions of 1,026 Attempts
9,019 Passing Yards
77 Passing Touchdowns
15 Interceptions

College Awards and Accomplishments
2012 BCS National Champion
2012 BCS National Championship Game Offensive MVP
2012 Second Team All-SEC
2012 SEC Champion
2013 BCS National Champion
2013 Maxwell Award Winner
2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner
2013 Second Team All-SEC
2013 Heisman Trophy Runner Up

NFL Comparison: Tom Brady

Analysis: A two time National Champion at Alabama, McCarron will leave Tuscaloosa with .900 winning percentage. As the starting quarterback for Alabama, McCarron won big while making very few mistakes along the way. ( The perfect quarterback for perfectionist coach Nick Saban.) Though he has proven himself as a winner, leader, and player McCarron faces doubts about his ability to play at the next level. Many scouts have labeled him as borderline starter, too good to be categorized as a career back up, but not good enough to start at the NFL level. However a certain Patriots quarterback received a similar analysis in his pre draft report. (Cough, cough Tom Brady, Cough, cough.) McCarron is so similar to Tom Brady it’s scary. While McCarron and Brady do share similar physical traits (both stand 6’4), the real similarities are in their intangibles. Both are vocal and powerful leaders, proven winners, perfectionists, accurate passers, highly competitive, and both have played for Coaches who couldn’t be more similar in Saban and Belichick. Though McCarron posses fantastic intangibles and is a top talent, he will more likely than not be passed over in the first round. However, several teams will be in the mix to land him the second round. Though he may not be the first QB taken off the board in 2014 he could be the first QB to win the starting job in 2014.

Peak Pick: Round 2 #38 to Tampa Bay
Pit Pick: Round 2 #52 to Arizona
Predicted Pick: Round 2 #44 to St. Louis

Game of Throws: Zach Mettenberger

Zach Mettenberger #8 LSU

Height: 6’5

Weight: 224 lbs

College Stats
407 Completions of 659 Attempts
5,783 Passing Yards
35 Passing Touchdowns
15 Interceptions

NFL Comparison: Joe Flacco

Analysis: After a moderately successful junior season at LSU, Zach Mettenberg showed significant improvement in his senior year. He showed that he had a better grasp of the offense and commanded it well. A torn ACL against Arkansas will certainly hurt his draft stock. Mettenberger wasn’t a top 10 pick to begin with, but it probably lowered his status from mid to late first round pick to an early second round pick. Mettenberger is a great size and incredibly accurate, he led the SEC in pass efficiency in 2013. What should impress NFL Scouts the most Mettenberger is his success in an NFL system under LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. He is similar to Cameron protégée Joe Flacco in size and in that he won’t blow you away on every play, but he’s reliable and will make the big play when called upon.(They’ve both also chosen to rock some questionable mustaches.) The main concern with Mettenberger outside his ACL recovery is his ability to recognize the blitz something he struggled a great deal with at LSU. Mettenberger was forced to throw away to many balls at LSU something that he must recognize and change in order to be successful in the NFL. This year’s draft has four or five teams with a need at quarterback, so there is a chance Mettenberger could sneak off the board in the first round, but he will most likely be selected on day two of the draft. Drafting Zach Mettenberger in the second round could highly benefit a team with a veteran starter he can learn under before he is given the reigns a few years down the road.

Peak Pick: #8 to Minnesota
Pit Pick: Round 2 #44 to St. Louis
Predicted Pick: Round 2 #42 to Tennessee



Game of Throws: Derek Carr

Derek Carr #4 Fresno State

Height: 6’2

Weight: 214 lbs

College Stats
1086 Completions of 1630 Completions
12,842 Passing Yards
113 Passing Touchdowns
24 Interceptions

College Awards and Accomplishments
2012 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year
2013 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year

NFL Comparison: Sam Bradford

Analysis: With the talent at quarterback in this year’s draft, Derek Carr’s chances of being the first quarterback taken are slim to none. However, that’s not to say that one of the many teams with a need at quarterback won’t take a chance on him in the first round. At Fresno State Derek Carr had a eye popping career and broke every record in the book that had been set unprecedentedly high by his brother David 10 years before him. Carr is a strong, accurate passer who can throw a nice looking deep ball. Though his stats are padded by a pass happy spread offense and a weak Mountain West, it can’t go unacknowledged that Carr threw for over 5,000 yards in 2013 in just 13 games. But, just like how Eli was helped by his older brother’s success, Derek’s older brother’s failure may hurt his stock. The main concern with Carr is his perception as a gunslinger. Similar to Bradford out of Oklahoma, Carr has relied heavily on the spread shot gun offense where he has just hurled it down field. In order to be successful in the NFL he will need to adjust to making more pinpoint throws. Carr is a quality arm talent with drive and motivation to succeed in the league. He may benefit from learning under a veteran quarterback for a season but will be ready to lead a team sooner than later. Carr has potential to be wildly successful in the NFL and could be a steal in a mid to late first round spot.

Peak Pick: #5 to Oakland
Pit Pick: #20 to Arizona
Predicted Pick: #8 to Minnesota

Game of Throws: Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater #5 Louisville

Height: 6’3

Weight: 205 lbs

College Stats
781 Completions of 1142 Attempts
9,817 Passing Yards
72 Passing Touchdowns
24 Interceptions

College Awards and Accomplishments
2011 Big East Rookie of the Year
2011 Freshman All-American
2012 Big East Offensive Player of the Year
2013 Sugar Bowl MVP

NFL Comparison: Alex Smith

Analysis: It seems as if the day Teddy Bridgewater committed to Louisville he was regarded as the future #1 overall pick. And now three years later he is in the midst of the pre draft process fighting to become the #1 overall pick. Bridgewater checks out physically and though he is not incredibly mobile he is athletic. He is a pinpoint passer and can stand back in the pocket. The main concern with Bridgewater is his ability to play in cold weather settings, as seen in his power play at Cincinnati, Syracuse, and UConn. Slipping to Cleveland in the draft could be detrimental to the career of Bridgewater. He resembles Chiefs QB Alex Smith in accuracy and narrow body make up. Teddy Bridgewater is an extremely motivated and competitive player with all the tools to succeed is put into the right situation.

Peak Pick: #1 to Houston
Pit Pick: #8 to Minnesota
Predicted Pick: #4 to Cleveland


Game of Throws: Blake Bortles

Blake Bortles #5 UCF

Height: 6’4

Weight: 230 lbs

College Stats
585 Completions of 891 Attempts
7,598 Passing Yards
56 Passing Touchdowns
19 Interceptions

College Awards and Accomplishments
2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Offensive MVP
2013 American Athletic Offensive Player of the Year
2013 All-American Athletic Conference
2013 Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP

NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers

Analysis: At 6’4 220 lbs Blake Bortles size and athleticism perfectly fits the make up of an NFL quarterback. He has powerful arm strength and above average mobility. There is a small level of concern over the level of competition that Bortles has faced in the C-USA and AAC. However when given the opportunity, Bortles has flourished against top competition. In 2013 Bortles handedly defeated Penn State, Louisville, and Baylor with a close loss to SEC power South Carolina thrown into the 2013 campaign as well. The main concern with Blake Bortles is his ability to adjust to taking snaps under center. Throughout his career in Orlando Bortles has relied heavily on the shot gun.  As seen in Blaine Gabbert’s NFL struggles it is essential to be comfortable under center in order to be successful at the next level. If Bortles can become comfortable taking a third of his snaps from under center he has all the potential to be wildly successful in the NFL. Similar to Aaron Rodgers in physical make up and mobility, Bortles is a quality talent worthy of a top 10 draft pick.

Peak Pick: #1 to Houston
Pit Pick: #7 to Tampa Bay
Predicted Pick: #3 to Jacksonville

Game of Throws: Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel #2 Texas A&M University

Height: 6’0

Weight: 210 lbs

College Stats
595 Completions of 863 attempts
7,820 Passing Yards
63 Passing Touchdown
22 Interceptions
2,169 Rushing Yards
30 Rushing Touchdowns

College Awards and Accomplishments
2012 Heisman Trophy
2012 Davey O’Brien Award
2012 Manning Award
2012 First Team All-American
2012 First Team All-SEC
2012 SEC Offensive Player of the Year
2012 Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP
2013 4th Runner Up for the Heisman Trophy
2013 Chick-fil-a Bowl Offensive MVP

NFL Comparison: Archie Manning

Analysis: When reviewing Johnny Manziel’s illustrious career at Texas A&M and bright NFL potential, its best to compare #2 on Texas A&M to a 2 in Texas Hold Em. A wild card. Manziel is the biggest question mark in the draft. Johnny Football’s ability to extend the play is electrifying and seems to be unstoppable, but will it fly in the NFL where the defenders are bigger and faster? Several signs point to the conclusion that it his game will translate to the NFL. First Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and RGIII (when healthy) have utilized their talent to extend the play and make magic with their feet in route to becoming some of the top quarterbacks in the league. Second Manziel has already has success against bigger and faster bodies week in and week out in the defense heavy SEC that is loaded with first round talent on the other side of the ball. Finally Manziel is a far better drop back passer than any of the quarterbacks mentioned above, including Wilson the Super Bowl Offensive MVP. The only real concern with Manziel is will his body be able to take the hits that his NFL Comparison Archie Manning took. Much like Manning in New Orleans, there is a good chance that Manziel could end up in a spot with a bad offensive line (Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland). If that’s the case, he will have to learn to throw the ball away quicker, his feet will only get him out of so many pocket collapses. Manziel is a special player with incredible ability, his ability to drop back and pass or tuck it and run make him well worthy of the #1 pick.

Peak Pick: #1 to Houston
Pit Pick: #5 to Oakland
Predicted Pick: #1 to Houston