|ESPN.com: NCF Nation||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
After watching way too many uncompetitive September matchups in recent seasons, I started thinking of some fantasy matchups I'd love to see for each Big 12 team.
Here are my dream games for each school.
Baylor: The Bears are on the verge of making their first bowl game in nearly 15 seasons if we are to believe many preseason magazines. It might be fun to see them hook up Duke, which also qualified for its last bowl during that same 1994 season. The Bears' bowl drought is actually three days longer than the Blue Devils'. This would also be an intriguing matchup of two underrated coaches in Baylor's Art Briles and Duke's David Cutcliffe. Which program will get to a bowl game first? It might be interesting to see them play on the field.
Colorado: Before his youngest son, Drew, decided to leave Boise State because of concussions, it might have been cool to see a Hawkins family reunion on the blue turf in Boise. The game still has much appeal to me as it would be interesting to see Hawkins and his other son, Cody, try to beat the team where he earned much of his early acclaim as a coach.
Iowa State: Before his first game at Iowa State two years ago, they were minting coins to honor Gene Chizik. But after two struggling seasons with the Cyclones, many ISU fans felt betrayed when Chizik jumped to Auburn. How about the delicious matchup of Chizik and the Tigers against ISU and Paul Rhoads, who was Auburn's defensive coordinator last season?
Kansas: Two of the most imposing coaches strolling the sideline are Mark Mangino of the Jayhawks and Charlie Weis of Notre Dame. And both can coach a little offense, too. It might be a cool chess match watching the underrated Jayhawks offense try to overcome an Irish offensive attack that receives way more national publicity.
Kansas State: Bill Snyder has been careful to say nice things about his old offensive coordinator, Andy Ludwig, who was in Manhattan for only a few weeks this spring before bolting to California. It still would be an interesting matchup between Snyder and the offensive coordinator who left the KSU program before a first game was played.
Missouri: The Tigers have developed one of the most innovative and productive offenses in the nation during the past several seasons. It would certainly be interesting for them to show their stripes against Oregon and new coach Chip Kelly, who knows a thing or two about big offensive numbers. It would also be a matchup of two interesting uniform combinations, too.
Nebraska: I'm a sentimentalist at heart. And who couldn't resist the story lines of seeing Bo Pelini return home and play his alma mater, Ohio State, back at the Horseshoe where he played his college career? And even better would be the return game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, where the Buckeyes have never played before.
Oklahoma: Before last season, I imagined that Florida would be an ideal dream opponent for the Sooners, but the end results turned out to be a little nightmarish for them when they finally played. This time, I'd like to see Bob Stoops hooking up with his coaching guru, Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. That would be an interesting matchup.
Oklahoma State: The two teams have played previously, but I'd really like to see the matchup between OSU and UCLA. Both teams have flashy, young coaches -- OSU's Mike Gundy and UCLA's Rick Neuheisel -- who found success as quarterbacks at their schools in the 1980s. Both have made strong, early starts, but still find themselves in the shadows of nearby prominent programs -- USC for UCLA and Oklahoma for OSU. And both Gundy and Neuheisel would have some interesting things to say after the game was over, too.
Texas: A rematch with USC would be sweet to see, considering the two teams haven't met since the titanic BCS title game in the Rose Bowl in 2006. Some old-school Longhorns would like to meet Notre Dame. But a better one-season dream matchup for this season would be Mississippi. It's always fun to see Mack Brown hook up with Houston Nutt, particularly after Nutt's celebrated upside-down hook 'em sign after upsetting the Longhorns in the 2000 Cotton Bowl with Arkansas. And the Rebels would be particularly interesting this season as Colt McCoy would square off with Jevan Snead, the quarterback who couldn't beat him out before leaving for Oxford.
Texas A&M: The Aggies and LSU have shared an intense rivalry over the years that seemed to get more forceful as both got better and started recruiting against each other. The battle has a history of 48 games between them, including every season from 1960-1975 and 1986-1995. They haven't met since then. It's been too long to see both old rivals compete.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders and TCU could have a pretty spicy rivalry if they played more often. The last two games between Mike Leach and Gary Patterson were particularly memorable. In 2004, TCU jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead in Lubbock before the Red Raiders stormed back to score eight straight touchdowns that blew open their 70-35 victory. It was the most points ever allowed by a Patterson-coached team. Patterson got his revenge in Fort Worth in 2006 when he produced a 12-3 victory, using the postgame news conference as a bully pulpit to talk about how little respect his program receives. And there's even more after Patterson's votes in the coaches' poll after last season. Patterson voted the Red Raiders 11th in the final coaches' poll last season -- their lowest national ranking -- and it's evident there's still a little bad blood between Patterson and Leach. What better reason for staging this one again?
Does anybody have any other dream games they'd like to see Big 12 teams play?