- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
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If you’re a Big Ten fan, then you’ve been looking forward to a certain Week 2 matchup all offseason: No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 8 Michigan State.
It’s offense vs. defense, Marcus Mariota vs. Shilique Calhoun, unstoppable force vs. immovable object. There’s a lot to be excited about, even on a national scale. Since 2005, only nine games have featured two top-10 teams duking it out this early. There’s a reason "College GameDay" has decided to descend upon Eugene, Oregon, after all.
Can the underdog Spartans pull it off? Will Oregon’s offense run rampant? Those answers won’t come for another few days, so we decided to take a closer look at those other nine games. Historically, how have games of this magnitude gone down, how often does the underdog win -- and how often do these teams move on to success?
Take a look:
No. 5 Georgia at No. 8 Clemson -- Aug. 31, 2013
The favorite: Georgia by 2.5 points
The outcome: Clemson 38-35. This lived up to its hype of being a closely fought shootout. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd proved to be the difference-maker. He threw for three TDs, rushed for two more and totaled 312 yards.
End of season ranking (Clemson): No. 8 (11-2, 7-1 ACC). Beat Ohio State in Orange Bowl, 40-35.
End of season ranking (Georgia): unranked (8-5, 5-3 SEC). Lost to Nebraska in Gator Bowl, 24-19.
No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 8 Michigan (Arlington, Texas) -- Sept. 1, 2012
The favorite: Alabama by 11
The outcome: Alabama 41-14. The Crimson Tide opened the game on a 31-0 run, and Michigan never really stood a chance. The Wolverines’ first six possessions ended with four punts and two interceptions. They moved the ball 24 yards on those drives.
End of season ranking (Alabama): No. 1 (13-1, 7-1 SEC). Won the SEC championship and beat Notre Dame for the national championship, 42-14.
End of season ranking (Michigan): No. 24 (8-5, 6-2 Big Ten). Lost to South Carolina in Outback Bowl, 33-28.
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 LSU (Arlington, Texas) -- Sept. 3, 2011
The favorite: Oregon by 3.5
The outcome: LSU 40-27. This was billed as a top defense (LSU was No. 12 in total D the year before) vs. a top offense. But the game came apart for the Ducks when De'Anthony Thomas fumbled on consecutive drives deep in his own territory. LSU scored touchdowns on both possessions.
End of season ranking (LSU): No. 2 (13-1, 8-0 SEC). Won the SEC championship but lost to Alabama in the national championship, 21-0.
End of season ranking (Oregon): No. 4 (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12). Won the Pac-12 championship and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, 45-38.
No. 3 Boise State vs. No. 10 Virginia Tech (Landover, Maryland) -- Sept. 3, 2010
The favorite: Boise State by 1.5
The outcome: Boise State 33-30. This one could’ve gone either way. With 1:47 left, Boise State QB Kellen Moore engineered a five-play, 56-yard touchdown drive to give the Broncos the advantage. Virginia Tech turned the ball over on downs on its next possession.
End of season ranking (Boise State): No. 9 (12-1, 7-1 WAC). Lone blemish was a 34-31 overtime loss to Nevada. Beat Utah in Maaco Bowl, 26-3.
End of season ranking (Virginia Tech): No. 16 (11-3, 8-0 ACC). Won ACC championship but lost to Stanford in Orange Bowl, 40-12.
No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech (Atlanta) -- Sept. 5, 2009
The favorite: Alabama by 6.5
The outcome: Alabama 34-24. The Hokies led 17-16 after three quarters, but the fourth quarter was all Alabama. The Tide outscored Virginia Tech 18-7 in the final 15 minutes. A fumble on a kick return didn’t help matters for Tech.
End of season ranking (Alabama): No. 1 (14-0, 8-0 SEC). Won the SEC championship and beat Texas in the national championship, 37-21.
End of season ranking (Virginia Tech): No. 10 (10-3, 6-2 ACC). Beat Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, 37-14.
No. 3 USC at No. 8 Ohio State -- Sept. 12, 2009
The favorite: USC by 6.5
The outcome: USC 18-15. With 7:29 left in the game, Matt Barkley drove the Trojans downfield for a touchdown and two-point conversion. They ate up 6:10 on the drive, and Ohio State responded with a turnover on downs.
End of season ranking (USC): No. 22 (9-4, 5-4 Pac-10). Beat Boston College in the Emerald Bowl, 24-13.
End of season ranking (Ohio State): No. 5 (11-2, 7-1 Big Ten). Won the Big Ten and defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl, 26-17.
No. 9 Virginia Tech at No. 2 LSU -- Sept. 8, 2007
The favorite: LSU by 11
The outcome: LSU 48-7. LSU racked up 598 yards of offense, and this was a snoozer from the beginning. LSU found itself up 14-0 just 10 minutes into the game, and the Hokies converted just two third downs the entire game.
End of season ranking (LSU): No. 1 (12-2, 6-2 SEC). Won SEC championship and beat Ohio State in national championship, 38-24.
End of season ranking (Virginia Tech): No. 9 (11-3, 7-1 ACC). Won ACC championship but lost to Kansas in Orange Bowl, 24-21.
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 2 Texas -- Sept. 9, 2006
The favorite: Texas by 3
The outcome: Ohio State 24-7. It was the first regular-season No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in a decade, and the Buckeyes never trailed in this game. Troy Smith threw for 269 yards and two TDs, while the defense held Texas to less than 20 points for the first time in 21 games.
End of season ranking (Ohio State): No. 2 (12-1, 8-0 Big Ten). Won the Big Ten championship but lost to Florida in the national championship, 41-14.
End of season ranking (Texas): No. 13 (10-3, 6-2 Big 12). Beat Iowa in Alamo Bowl, 26-24.
No. 2 Texas at No. 4 Ohio State -- Sept. 10, 2005
The favorite: Texas by 1.5
The outcome: Texas 25-22. With 2:37 left in the game, Longhorns QB Vince Young found Limas Sweed for the go-ahead 24-yard TD. It was a back-and-forth affair; Texas jumped out to a 10-0 lead but the Buckeyes led at halftime 16-13.
End of season ranking (Texas): No. 1 (13-0, 8-0 Big 12). Won the Big 12 championship and beat USC in the national championship, 41-38.
End of season ranking (Ohio State): No. 4 (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten). Won part of the Big Ten championship and beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, 34-20.