NCF Nation: fantasy matchup 061109

Posted by's Ted Miller

Todd from Mission Viejo writes: If you could add one out-of-conference game to each of the Pac-10 teams' schedule, what match-ups would you create?

Ted Miller: Oh, this is a good one.

Not only that, Todd, when I mentioned your outstanding mailbag contribution to my boss, Darth Duffey, he noted that such an entry had ALREADY BEEN ASSIGNED this week.

So the Force is with you on this one, dark side or not.

And so...

USC at Florida: One word: Yum. OK, a few more.

Florida won't leave the state for a nonconference game, so the Trojans just decide to show up. Grins all around on the West Coast. Everyday Should Be Saturday's Orson Swindle and Stranko Montana, who have been claiming to be "pushing 30" for a decade, commence writing a series of sonnets -- with multimedia effects! -- that rival Shakespeare during his most inspired period. The college football world rejoices. About the game, though the sonnets are nice, too.

And, of course, USC rolls. (Oh, stop it! You know that's what would happen, Gator fans!) 

Ole Miss at Oregon State: Whose 2008 loss -- Florida's or USC's -- was "worse"? My guess is this one would have been more fun for the Beavers last year than this year.

Oregon at Oklahoma: Hey, Sooners, can the Ducks bring their own referees?

Texas at California: Mack Brown would get a warm welcome in Strawberry Canyon. And, golly, this would be a great help for the Longhorns, whose nonconference schedule features Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP and Central Florida. Guess that's why they say, "Don't mess with Texas ... purdy please."

Oklahoma at Arizona: Which Stoops would conquer? (Both, however, have said it will never happen.)

Arizona State at Miami: Dennis Erickson returns to the place where he won a pair of national titles. And then, you know, some other stuff happened after he left for the Seattle Seahawks.

Harvard at Stanford: Remember when the Simpsons went to jail and poor Lisa was worried that it might damage her college prospects? And then Bart and Homer mercilessly taunt her, "You're going to Stanford! You're going to Stanford!" You know most of the writers for "The Simpsons" went to Harvard. This would be payback. And Conan O'Brien might be on the sidelines with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, which would be the best thing ever. Other than USC at Florida. 

UCLA at South Carolina: Ever heard Rick Neuheisel imitate Steve Spurrier? Hee hee hee. You would this week. And the golf stories would be priceless.

BYU at Washington: BYU stole a game from Washington in 2008, and then it stole touted quarterback recruit Jake Heaps from under the Huskies noses. Grrrr.

South Florida at Washington State (in December): Here's a guess that the kids from down South might not like Pullman in the winter.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

What if Penn State resumed its rivalry with Pitt? What if the Iowa-Missouri series finally resumed? Why can't Wisconsin man up and play a solid BCS team every year? How about a Big Ten-ACC Challenge in football?

We've all pondered these scheduling questions and many others in recent years. When it comes to college football scheduling, you can dare to dream a bit. Although you'll rarely be satisfied in this climate of home games or bust, it's fun to play around with the possibilities.

Here are some nonconference matchups I'd like to see for each Big Ten team.


There's no love lost between these two coaching staffs, especially as Illinois has become more competitive as a national recruiter (i.e. Arrelious Benn). This game won't happen any time soon, but it would be extremely entertaining to watch Ron Zook and Charlie Weis stand on opposite sidelines. Both schools constantly compete for recruits, especially in the Chicago area, so why not meet on the field?


The teams used to play almost every year, and it would be nice to see the series resume. Indiana and Kentucky have a great rivalry in basketball, and both football programs face similar uphill climbs in major conferences. The proximity between the two schools would make it extremely easy for fans to travel to the games.


Many Iowa fans wish this series had happened already, and it makes a lot of sense for the two teams to meet. You already know my view on Missouri joining the Big Ten, and a natural rivalry with Iowa plays a major role. Both schools recruit in the same area, and both programs have elevated their profiles in recent years.


Two of college football's greatest settings would make this series a must-see. Michigan always fills up the Big House for games, and Wolverines fans would be guaranteed a trip to the Rose Bowl every other year even if their team doesn't reach the big game on Jan. 1. The two teams have met nine times in the regular season, most recently in 2000, and it would be great to see them celebrate the Pac-10-Big Ten rivalry.


The Big Ten should be more aggressive in scheduling the ACC for football, and this series would be a good start. Both programs are on the rise under third-year coaches (Mark Dantonio and Butch Davis), and both have been recruiting better in recent years. Let's just hope for better games than the two basketball matchups this past season.


Minnesota has taken a more aggressive approach to nonconference scheduling, and a series against Washington would fall in line with the new philosophy. Both schools are located in major cities on the northern edge of their respective conferences. Both are trying to revive tradition with energetic coaches (Tim Brewster and Steve Sarkisian). And selfishly, I wouldn't mind making the trip to Minneapolis or Seattle each year.


This isn't really a fantasy matchup because these teams will begin a four-game series in 2010. It's long overdue. Both Northwestern and Vanderbilt face a similar challenge as private institutions with limited football success trying to compete with storied programs in major conferences. Both schools are among the nation's academic elite. There are way too many similarities for the teams not to play.


Though I like colleague Heather Dinich's suggestion for an Ohio State-Miami matchup, Buckeyes fans want the SEC, and they want it bad. No league has damaged Ohio State's national reputation more than the SEC, and the hatred between Buckeye Nation and SEC fans runs deep. Florida makes the most sense for Ohio State, but any of the SEC title contenders would suffice.


This is a no-brainer. Fans on both sides desperately want to see the rivalry resume, and it's a shame there are no immediate plans for a series. The game means a lot to folks in the state of Pennsylvania, and the teams' frequent recruiting battles would only add fuel to the series. Although Pitt doesn't have the wow factor it had several decades ago, the game would generate a ton of local interest.


Something tells me Robert Marve wouldn't mind another crack at Randy Shannon and the Canes in 2010. And Marve isn't the only connection between the schools. New Purdue head coach Danny Hope is a Miami native who signed 14 players from Florida in his first recruiting class.


Wisconsin's hesitancy to schedule big-name teams has irritated its fan base, but athletic director Barry Alvarez can win some support by scheduling his alma mater. Imagine the sea of red from both fan bases when these teams meet at Camp Randall Stadium or Memorial Stadium, two of the nation's most hostile venues. It would be great to see Nebraska play a Big Ten team every year, and Wisconsin certainly needs a marquee opponent.

Posted by's Graham Watson

Imagine you could see any of the non-automatic qualifying schools play anyone in the country, anyone at all. Who would you match up? Well, I've listed my ideal matchups for the teams that made my post-spring top 10 (sans Notre Dame).

Obviously, these are games I'd like to see, but I encourage people to send their fantasy matchups to my mailbag. I'll compile them and put them out as a post on Friday.

Let's assume all of these games will be played at neutral sites and they're in no particular order.

1. Utah vs. Florida: Who doesn't want to see this game, especially after this past season? Obviously, it would be better if we could get the 2008 versions of both of these teams to play each other, but I still think Urban Meyer facing his former team would make for a great story line and probably a really fun game.

2. Boise State vs. Oklahoma: I've wanted to see a rematch of this game since the Fiesta Bowl in 2006. Would the 2009 Boise State team be able to take on Heisman hopeful Sam Bradford and a possible national champion? Boise State fans have been clamoring for more national respect and a rematch would surely bring that.

3. TCU vs. USC: I just think this would be fun since both teams place a big emphasis on defense and -- at least lately -- have had some of the top defenses in the country. The teams have met five times before (not since 1998) and surprisingly TCU owns a 3-2 advantage.

4. BYU vs. Notre Dame: The Irish won the recruiting battle for Manti Te'o this past spring, but would they win in a battle on the gridiron? The Irish own a 4-2 record against the Cougars, including a 2-1 mark this decade, but the teams haven't played since 2005 and there's no doubt that BYU has since produced some better teams.

5. Nevada vs. Oklahoma State: I know, this is a pretty random match-up, but I was trying to pair the Wolf Pack with a team that had a solid running game and a good dual-threat quarterback. I think this game would be a lot of fun to watch and have very little defense. Not sure Nevada would come away with a win, but it would put up a fantastic fight.

6. East Carolina vs. South Carolina: It's been five years since Skip Holtz left South Carolina, but it might be time for a visit. The Pirates play almost every other major school in their area, why not rekindle a series that has been dormant since 1999? These teams used to play each other almost every year in the 1980s and '90s.

7. Houston vs. Missouri: Yet another random matchup, I know, but I'm choosing this because the styles of offense are so similar. Both teams like to air it out and put points on the board. It would be an offensive showcase between Case Keenum, who's led the nation in total offense the past two years, and newbie Blaine Gabbert, who many believe could be a future Heisman hopeful.

8. Troy vs. LSU: I was so entertained by last year's game that I'd love to see it again. Troy jumped out to a 31-3 lead last year before giving it all back in a thrilling come-from-behind victory by the Tigers. After going through it once, would the outcome be the same?

9. Navy vs. Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson's former team vs. his current team would draw intrigue, especially since they run almost identical offenses. Not sure this game would be a barnburner, but it would be some hard-nosed, tactical football.

10. And as a bonus offering ... Mountain West vs. Big East: Imagine these two conferences were playing for a BCS berth. Who would win out? Would the Mountain West have enough in the middle and the bottom of the conference to keep pace with the Big East? I think this might be the most intriguing matchup of all.

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Ever look at your team's schedule when it's first announced and wonder aloud WHY its lineup includes teams like Toledo, Temple, Eastern Illinois and Central Michigan? Wish your team was playing Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff? Well, if you could schedule one nonconference opponent for every team in the ACC, who would it be? Today is revealing our fantasy matchups.

Based on competition, style of play, coaching matchups, previous history -- whatever -- here's who I'd like to see the ACC play:

BOSTON COLLEGE vs. PITT -- Why keep playing Kent State when you can get this old Big East series renewed? Pittsburgh leads the series 13-16, and the two programs used to play almost every year for three decades. They haven't met, though, since 2004, and two of the last three games have gone into overtime.

CLEMSON vs. GEORGIA -- It's a natural rivalry that provided some of the best games of the 1980s, but the two programs haven't met since the 2002 and 2003 seasons, both season-opening losses for Clemson. This series actually will be renewed in 2013 and 2014.

DUKE vs. SOUTH CAROLINA -- This matchup is based purely on the coaching matchup: Former Duke coach Steve Spurrier vs. former SEC offensive wizard David Cutcliffe. These programs met regularly from the 1950s through the 1980s, but haven't played since a 24-24 tie in 1991. When Spurrier led Duke to the ACC title in 1989, he opened the season with a 27-21 loss to South Carolina.

FLORIDA STATE vs. NEBRASKA -- Let's go old-school here -- the Charlie Ward offense vs. the Blackshirts' defense. In the late 1980s and '90s, these were powerhouse programs. Now they're both trying to regain their status among the nation's elite. Let's get back to the days when FSU won in Lincoln, 18-14, and shocked everyone. Or like it was in 1993, when FSU played Nebraska in the national title game in the Orange Bowl and used freshman Scott Bentley's late field goal to win 18-16.

GEORGIA TECH vs. ALABAMA -- The Crimson Tide had the No. 2 rushing defense in the country last year, and Georgia Tech the No. 4 rushing offense in the country. All of the Jackets' skill players return, and Alabama has nine starters back on defense. This was once a rather lopsided series, but they haven't played since the early '80s. This is also a great coaching matchup.

MARYLAND vs. PENN STATE -- There is such a hatred amongst Maryland fans for Penn State. Why? Maybe because the Nits owned the Terps when they used to play on a regular basis. Or maybe it's because Penn State loves to pluck recruits out of Ralph Friedgen's backyard. Let's get these neighboring recruiting rivals to settle it on the field.

MIAMI vs. OHIO STATE -- Terrelle Pryor vs. Jacory Harris. Bring it, Big Ten. Two young quarterbacks, both with tailbacks they like and receivers who are on the rise. They've both got what should be improved offensive lines and similar questions on defense. This was never a big series -- they've only played three times and haven't met since 2002 -- but it will be exciting to watch these two young quarterbacks who might someday be in the same Heisman race together.

NORTH CAROLINA vs. LSU -- Despite doubling its win total from 2007 to 2008, North Carolina still has something to prove, and playing teams like Connecticut and East Carolina isn't the way to do it. Beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff is.

NC STATE vs. MICHIGAN -- Honestly, I want to see a rematch of NC State / Rutgers with a healthy Russell Wilson, but Mike Teel is gone, so let's start the ACC/Big Ten challenge in the other revenue sport, shall we? Now is the time to play the Wolverines, while they're in transition, but any win over Michigan is worth bragging about. Tom O'Brien vs. Rich Rodriguez would be an intriguing coaching matchup.

VIRGINIA vs. OKLAHOMA STATE -- Al Groh is known for his defense, and this is the kind of team that would challenge him in a way that Mike Leach's Texas Tech team did in the Gator Bowl. Last year, the Cowboys ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring, total offense, rushing and pass efficiency, generating more than 3,100 yards both through the air and on the ground.

VIRGINIA TECH vs. USC -- Let's see how good Bud Foster's defense is against this stable of running backs. Rival Virginia took on the challenge last year. How much better would the Hokies fare? If Virginia Tech wants to contend for a national title, this is another great measuring stick.

WAKE FOREST vs. PURDUE -- The Deacs actually know how to schedule nonconference games. Teams like Navy and Vanderbilt are perfect challenges, along with a program like Baylor. Purdue would be an interesting BCS matchup, though, because of the similar style offenses. They haven't met since 2003, and the Deacs are 1-4 in the series, but both teams have changed significantly since they last played.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

There aren't many schools in the country that wouldn't love to have Notre Dame on their schedule.

Say what you will about the Irish, but playing them means exposure. That's why some teams have bent over backward to line them up, even sacrificing home games for neutral fields just to be on the same turf as college football's glamor boys.

Notre Dame has usually taken on all comers, but there are still a few series that either have expired or haven't gained a future foothold. Here are the fantasy matchups we'd like to see:

1. Florida: The Gators have become what Notre Dame once was and always aspires to be: the dominant program in college football. Hard to believe these two programs have played only one time, in 1991. And of course, there's the juicy storyline involving Florida coach Urban Meyer, who turned down the Irish job once but can't escape persistent rumors that he may one day yet ride into South Bend as the savior.

2. Ohio State: Despite their proximity, these two powerhouse programs have met only three times since 1936, and only two of those were scheduled (they also played in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl). The Buckeyes have won all three modern matchups, giving Notre Dame motivation to get the series going again. It makes too much sense for them not to play.

3. Miami: Both programs have changed drastically since their heated 1980s rivalry, which Irish fans derisively called "Catholics vs. Convicts." They haven't played since 1990, and for nostalgia's sake alone, it would be fun to see the series resume.

4. Alabama: The Crimson Tide are one of the few teams who can rival Notre Dame's storied history of national championships, yet they haven't played each other since 1987. With Nick Saban getting Alabama back to elite status, this potential showdown becomes even more enticing.

5. BYU: The Cougars and Irish played six times between 1992 and 2005, and this true Holy War pitting bastions of Catholicism and Mormonism should continue for the theological arguments alone.

6. Oregon: Notre Dame has played the Ducks just twice, and not since 1982. This would be a good taste test for what fans stand for: tradition and the Golden Domers, or new-school and neon Nike uniforms.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

The realities of scheduling means that money, timing, TV, bad blood and recruiting territory sometimes stand in the way of games being arranged.

Phooey to reality. What if you controlled college football for a day and could create any nonconference matchup you wanted? Here are my choices for the fantasy nonleague opponents for each Big East team:

Cincinnati's fantasy matchup: Ohio State

Easy call here. Sure, the two teams have played 15 times in their history, most recently in 2006. But now that the Bearcats have risen up and become a BCS force to be reckoned with -- not to mention nabbing some Ohio recruits -- the Buckeyes don't seem as eager to take on their neighbors. The teams are scheduled to meet again in 2012, but it should be an annual series.

Connecticut's fantasy matchup: Boston College

There's no reason why these two Northeast programs located fewer than 100 miles apart shouldn't be playing regularly -- no reason, that is, except for the lingering hurt feelings that stem from BC's defection to the ACC. Time heals all wounds, and eventually these two should resolve their differences on the field.

Louisville's fantasy matchup: Notre Dame

The Cardinals have been trying for years to reel in the Irish on their schedule and thought they had it done a couple of times. Louisville is heavily-Catholic town just a few hours away from South Bend, and the game would stir a lot of interest in all parts between. Even if it were played in Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh's fantasy matchup: Penn State

Whatever the reasons are for the death of this series -- and most people point to Joe Paterno's reluctance after Penn State joined the Big Ten -- it's a travesty that Pennsylvania's top two programs haven't played since 2000. This is a game the entire state would talk about for a full year.

Rutgers' fantasy matchup: USC

My two initial thoughts for the Scarlet Knights' ideal opponents were Penn State (because of geography/recruiting battles) and Miami (because of Greg Schiano's ties there and Rutgers' heavy recruiting efforts in south Florida). But both those schools are actually coming on the schedule in the near future. So let's go with the top team in Los Angeles versus the top New York City-area team for a major metropolitan showdown. Might never happen, but the Scarlet Knights have had preliminary talks with UCLA.

South Florida's fantasy matchup: Florida

The Bulls got Miami back on the schedule and pulled off their first-ever meeting with Florida State this year. There's only one Sunshine State power left for South Florida to take on. Be careful what you wish for, however.

Syracuse's fantasy matchup: Tennessee

This is the hardest one to pick, since the Orange have a national scheduling philosophy and play just about everybody. Let's go with the Volunteers, given new coach Doug Marrone's history there and the fact that some Syracuse fans wanted Lane Kiffin to replace Greg Robinson.

West Virginia's fantasy matchup: Michigan

We just had to go there, didn't we? Sorry, but there's so much animosity between Mountaineers fans and former coach Rich Rodriguez that this matchup would fill reporters' notebooks for months (and provide extra pay for security officers). Besides, the two schools have only played once in their long histories, and that came all the way back in 1904. (The Wolverines won). You can add Virginia Tech and Virginia to the list of teams West Virginia would love to play -- and beat -- too.

Thoe are my picks. Who are the fantasy nonconference opponents for your favorite Big East team?

Posted by'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?

Posted by's Chris Low

Wouldn't it be fascinating to have college football's most powerful wand and create those fantasy nonconference matchups we all yearn for in the SEC?

Well, here goes ... sort of:

Alabama vs. Penn State: We won't have to wait long. The two teams have scheduled a home-and-home series for 2010 and 2011. They played a pair of classic games in the 1970s. Who could forget Barry Krauss and the goal-line stand in the 1979 Sugar Bowl. Gotta love the uniforms, too. Have either changed at all in the last 30 years?

Arkansas vs. Texas Tech: With Bobby Petrino at Arkansas and Mike Leach at Texas Tech, think there might be a little offense played in this game? First team to 50 points wins.

Auburn vs. Oklahoma: Both schools have produced their share of great running backs. We could dub it the Backfield Bowl. Their only previous meeting came in the 1972 Sugar Bowl, a matchup of top-5 teams with the Sooners winning 40-22.

Florida vs. Southern California: The one we've all been waiting for. The best from the SEC vs. the best from the Pac-10. The collection of athletes in this one would be stunning, and the two head coaches aren't shabby, either.

Georgia vs. Ohio State: These two ultra-successful, football-crazy schools were born to play each other. Yet, they've only met one time. The Bulldogs prevailed 21-14 in the 1993 Citrus Bowl. Granted, when Ohio State has seen an SEC team coming lately, it hasn't been pretty.

Kentucky vs. North Carolina: Both schools have made a move in recent years, and both are fighting to get out from under the massive shadow of basketball on their respective campuses. Hey, maybe after the football game, the Wildcats and Tar Heels could play a little hoops, too.

LSU vs. Michigan: OK, Les Miles didn't go back to his alma mater to coach. He stayed put on the Bayou. But the story lines would be awfully compelling if the two teams ever were to meet. Great stadiums. Great tradition. Great fight songs. Great fans. You get the idea.

Mississippi State vs. Purdue: The latest edition of the Boilermaker Special can lead the Purdue team onto the field while Mississippi State races out to thousands of cowbells clanging away.

Ole Miss vs. Cal: Talk about two different worlds colliding. You've got Ole Miss and its deep-rooted Southern conservative persuasion and then Cal and its West Coast liberal persuasion. The game outside the stadium might be as entertaining as the game inside the stadium.

South Carolina vs. Florida State: Wouldn't it be fun to see the Head Ball Coach and Bobby Bowden go at it one more time? The two teams used to play some before the Gamecocks joined the SEC.

Tennessee vs. Texas: Who's the real UT? And what's more, who has the best shade of orange? The two teams split memorable Cotton Bowl battles in 1951 and 1969. It's way past due for them to meet again.

Vanderbilt vs. Northwestern: The Commodores do their best to balance academics and football in the SEC, while the Wildcats are faced with that same delicate balance in the Big Ten. The schools last played in 1952, a game that ended in a 20-20 tie. They get together for four more games starting in 2010.