College football (FBS) officially kicks off Thursday September 3. It’s not the week 1 schedule that was initially planned, as many teams and full conferences have postponed their fall sports seasons. But the show will still go on!
Even though week 1 won’t go on as planned, I wanted to think about the history of some of the games that were previously planned.
Game of the Week – USC vs Alabama
USC hasn’t been nationally relevant in quite some time. Sure, there’s been a 10-win season now and than, but for the most part they have been many levels below Alabama during the Tide’s decade-long run of dominance.
USC was on top of the college football world in 2004-2005 with their dominant offense, led by Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. How would they have fared against Alabama’s dominant defenses of the 2010s?
Bowden Bowl – Florida State vs West Virginia
Florida State has beaten West Virginia in all 3 previous meetings, with each one coming in the Gator Bowl.
The most recent game was 2010. Florida State won 33-21. This was the final game of legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s career. Bowden got his head coaching career started at West Virginia from 1970-1975, before taking over and building Florida State from 1976-2009.
Seminoles scored 30 or more points in all 3 games between the schools. The other two games were in 2005 and 1982.
The Greatest Bad Game Ever Played – Cal vs TCU
In 2018, Cal and TCU “played” football in the inaugural Cheez-It Bowl. I use the term played loosely here, because playing football well was the intention, but producing an entertaining and hilarious game as a result of putrid play, turned out to be the result.
TCU won 10-7 as both teams combined for 9 total interceptions and just 554 yards. TCU QB Grayson Muehlstein combined 7-20 passes, throwing for 27 yards and 4 interceptions. Cal QBs Chase Garbers and Chase Forrest combined for 5 interceptions.
Texas vs South Florida – Charlie Strong Bowl
Charlie Strong had his struggles at both Texas and USF. Which fan-base has disliked Charlie more?
Strong was 16-21 in three seasons at Texas, losing 7 games and producing a losing record each season. In his first season (2014), Texas appeared in their only bowl game, losing the Texas Bowl. For comparison’s sake, Texas was 25-14 in the three years prior to Strong and 25-15 in the three years since Strong, with bowl wins in each of the last three seasons.
In three seasons at USF (2017-2019), Strong was 21-16, which is inflated by a 10-2 season in 2017. USF didn’t beat anyone over .500 that season and had momentum coming off an 11-2 season in 2016, in Willie Taggart’s final season. Once that momentum wore off, and Bulls faced stiffer competition, they regressed to 11-14 the last two seasons.
I think USF fans have more reason to dislike Strong. Texas is Texas. Whether they are “back” or not, anyone can recruit Texas and outside of Oklahoma, the path to win the Big 12 is annually wide open. But at USF, you are competing with various factors such as poor attendance, revenue, and respectability in the Group of Five. One or two bad seasons at a G5/AAC school, could render you irrelevant, and USF is currently well outside the national radar. Texas will always be nationally relevant.
Temple vs Miami – Manny Diaz Bowl
Diaz coached Temple for roughly two weeks in December 2018. Diaz, previously Miami’s defensive coordinator, was hired to replace Geoff Collins (who left for Georgia Tech). Two weeks later, Mark Richt retired and Miami came calling, pursuing a coach who was familiar with the players and the school.
In 2019, Temple won the battle, as they went 8-5 while Miami went 6-7, ending their season with a 14-0 loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.
DE Quincy Roche left Temple after the 2019 season and will play for Miami in 2020. Roche recorded 26 sacks in three years, including 13 sacks in 2019 (6th most in FBS).
Other Notable Games
Washington vs Michigan – Michigan is 7-5 all-time vs Washington and each team has won 2 Rose Bowls. Michigan won 31-29 in the most recent matchup in Ann Arbor in 2002 and their last Rose Bowl meeting was 1993.
Georgia vs Virginia – Virginia and Georgia have faced each other twice in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta – UVA won 34-27 in 1995 and lost 35-33 in 1998. Their last meeting came in 2000 in the Oahu Bowl (now known as Hawaii Bowl) – Virginia lost 37-14.
Ole Miss vs Baylor – One prior matchup that Baylor won 20-10 in 1975 in Waco.
Wisconsin vs Indiana – Wisconsin has won 10 in a row against Indiana, with the Hoosiers last win coming in 2002.
Notre Dame vs Navy – These teams were set to play in Ireland, where they previously played in 2012, when Notre Dame won 50-10. Irish won 52-20 in 2019 and Brian Kelly is 8-2 against Navy. Overall, Notre Dame is 77-13-1.
Tulsa vs Toledo – this would have been one of the top G5 vs G5 games of week 1. It’s a rematch from a classic in 2017 that Toledo won 54-51. Toledo put up 40 points after halftime, led by QB Logan Woodside’s 6 TD passes and 458 yards. Tulsa had 3 players run the ball, all ran for 130 or more yards. QB Chad President ran 12 times for 130 yards, 2 TDs, RB Shamari Brooks ran 18 times for 141 yards and 3 TDs and RB D’Angelo Brewer ran 38 times for 158 yards and a TD.
Louisville vs NC State – Who is the league’s active QBU?
It has to be Louisville, given that they have the active league MVP, Lamar Jackson. They also have Teddy Bridgewater, who will start in 2020 for the PAnthers.
NC State has Philip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett, both members of the Colts and can stake a claim to former Super Bowl QB Russell Wilson (who spent 3 years in Raleigh before transferring to Wisconsin for his final season).
Clemson vs Georgia Tech – Which WR would you rather have in their prime – Deandre Hopkins or Calvin Johnson?
Through the first 7 seasons of their careers, the numbers are comparable. Johnson put up monster numbers during an 0-16 2008 season (1,331 yards, 12 TD) but from 2009-2015, mostly had a very competent Matthew Stafford as his quarterback. Before Deshaun Watson was drafted in 2017, Hopkins caught passes from Matt Schaub, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, and Brandon Weeden. Yet in spite of them, was constantly one of the top WRs in the NFL.
Hopkins was the #27 pick in the draft, while Johnson was #2, so the expectations level is certainly different.
I am going with Hopkins, simply because his performance with bad quarterbacks is impressive, versus Johnson’s performance with a great quarterback.