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Thursday, May 26, 2011
Feldman on B1G's 'should-be' rivalries

By Adam Rittenberg

In a perfect world, if fans controlled nonconference scheduling rather than cost-conscious athletic directors, college football would have more intersectional rivalries than it currently does.

Colleague Bruce Feldman recently took a look at 'should-be' rivalries -- series that would be great if they regularly took place, or, in some cases, resumed.

Three games involving Big Ten teams made his list: Ohio State vs. Oklahoma, Michigan vs. LSU and Penn State vs. Pitt.

Here are Feldman's thoughts on each 'should-be' rivalry:

Ohio State-Oklahoma:

Both programs have deep ties to Youngstown, through their coaches Jim Tressel (former coach at Youngstown State) and Bob Stoops (a Youngstown native). These are two programs that have been great for over a half-century and whose fan bases are about as big as they come. It's a shame these two powerhouses have only played twice, once in 1977 and the other time in 1983.
LSU-Michigan:

After years of rumors that LSU coach Les Miles, a former Wolverines lineman and Bo Schembechler disciple, would return to Ann Arbor to rescue his alma mater, we now know that he's not leaving Tiger Stadium for the Maize and Blue. Of course, it would be fun if he and his program visited Michigan every other year. Any time one of Jim Delany's prized programs takes on one of Mike Slive's, you're going to end up with a lot of compelling drama.

Penn State-Pitt:

One of the great rivalries in the sport -- which was first played in the 1890s -- has been put on ice since 2000. The break occurred not that long after the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten and left their nemesis behind in the process. The two are still fierce rivals on the recruiting trail, but it would be fun to see them square off on the field every year again.

Count me among those who would love to see these three series, among others.

Ohio State-Oklahoma especially intrigues me. Both programs have been consistently elite under their respective coaches, and both also have fallen short on the biggest stage. I've always felt Ohio State gets trashed more than the Sooners, even though the teams' big-game struggles are similar.

I wonder if Nebraska-Iowa would have made Feldman's list before the Huskers joined the Big Ten. Don't have to worry about that any more.

Some other series I'd like to see start or resume:
What series would you like to see?