Week 13 of the college football schedule is rivalry week. And, it’s the final full Saturday of the regular season.
The two factors combined mean that a handful of this seasons’ ultimate grudge matches will also decide which teams get one precious step closer to the CFP bracket.
Even if your school is out of the mix, there is so much to be thankful for.
Be sure and step away from the leftovers on Friday at Noon EST when (2) Miami Fla. tries to finish the regular season unscathed at Pitt on ABC. On Saturday, the must-see time slot is 3:30pm EST – that’s when three members of the CFP Top 5 face a serious test to move on. (1) Alabama at (6) Auburn is on CBS, (5) Wisconsin at Minnesota is on ABC and (4) Oklahoma hosts West Virginia on ESPN.
That leaves (3) Clemson at (24) South Carolina at 7:30pm EST on ESPN as the icing on the cake.
RANKED vs. RANKED (4)
- (1) Alabama at (6) Auburn – Saturday, 3:30pm EST, CBS
- (3) Clemson at (24) South Carolina – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, ESPN
- (8) Notre Dame at (21) Stanford – Saturday, 8pm EST, ABC
- (13) Washington State at (17) Washington – Saturday, 8pm EST, FOX
OFF THIS WEEK (6)
- Independents: Army, UMass
- Mountain West: Colorado State
- Pac-12: (11) USC
- Sun Belt: Coastal Carolina, South Alabama
7: (19) Oklahoma State has won 7 straight over Kansas (last loss in 2007).
7: East Carolina has won 7 straight over (20) Memphis (last loss in 2005).
8: (7) Georgia has won 8 straight AT Georgia Tech (last loss there in 1999).
9: Kanas State has won 9 straight over Iowa State (last loss in 2007).
11: (10) Penn State has won 11 straight AT Maryland (only loss there in 1961).
13: (25) Virginia Tech has won 13 straight over Virginia (last loss in 2003).
13: (5) Wisconsin has won 13 straight over Minnesota (last loss in 2003).
- Georgia State has NEVER beaten Appalachian State (0-3).
- Rutgers has NEVER beaten (16) Michigan State in Big Ten play (0-3).
- Texas A&M has NEVER beaten (18) LSU in SEC play (0-5).
- UConn has NEVER won AT Cincinnati (0-7).
- UTSA has NEVER won AT Louisiana Tech (0-3).
- West Virginia has NEVER beaten (4) Oklahoma in Big 12 play (0-5).
Ohio at Buffalo (Friday, 1pm EST, ESPN3)
Tune in to watch the No. 3 wide receiver in college football – Buffalo junior Anthony Johnson (#83) – take on Ohio’s No. 110 pass defense. Johnson is one of only six receivers in the nation averaging more than 100 yards per game and his 12 scores are tied for the third most in the FBS. Look for him to have a big day against the Bobcat D – the second most generous unit in the MAC. This is the same group that coughed up 322 receiving yards and four TDs through the air in last week’s lass at Akron.
Oregon State at Oregon (Saturday, 7pm EST, ESPN 2)
The Ducks’ 6-5 record makes it harder to appreciate their No. 11 ranked rushing attack, averaging a cool 264.09 yards per game. That puts them just behind Alabama (270.27) and Georgia (267.36). Usher in Oregon State’s No. 121 ranked rushing D – the second worst unit in the Pac-12 and there’s potentially lots to be thankful for. Keep an eye on Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman (#21), he’s ranked No. 12 in the FBS in yards per game (123) and No. 8 in total yards (1,353). He’s rushed for 120-plus in his last five outings.
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
The Apple Cup – (13) Washington State at (17) Washington – series started in 1900 – Washington leads 71-32-6 and has won seven of the last eight.
The Apple Cup wasn’t born until 1962, “in honor of Washington State’s delicious and iconic apples.” Originally, the Huskies and Cougars played for their version of a Governor’s Trophy. If you measure the rivalry in Apples only, Washington has won 39 vs. Washington State’s 16.
The Battle Line Trophy – Missouri at Arkansas – series started in 1906 – Missouri leads 5-3, the two only played three times prior to 2003 (1963, 1944 and 1906).
Introduced in 2015, the Battle Line Trophy outlines the states of Arkansas and Missouri as they would appear on a map. Crafted primarily of silver, it weighs in at a hefty 180 pounds and is nearly seven feet tall. It’s also the natural continuation, geographically, of the Golden Boot, the traveling prize for the Arkansas-LSU series. Ironically, both trophies were designed by Arkansas student-athlete David Bazzel. Each school has captured the Battle Line once.
The Chancellor’s Spurs – Texas Tech at Texas – series started in 1928 – Texas leads 50-16 and has won 12 of the last 14.
The Chancellor’s Spurs debuted in 1996 – the first-ever year of both the new Big 12 conference and Texas and Texas Tech each employing a university system chancellor. The Longhorns have worn the Spurs home 16 times vs. the Red Raiders’ five.
The Commonwealth Cup – (25) Virginia Tech at Virginia – series started in 1895 – Virginia Tech leads 56-37-5 and has won 17 of the last 18.
Established in 1996, the Commonwealth Cup is another whopper – four feet high and weighing in at 100 pounds. It’s big enough for the scores of every previous game between the two programs to be listed on its base. Virginia Tech has won 18 Cups vs. Virginia’s three.
The Fremont Cannon – UNLV at Nevada – series started in 1969 – Nevada leads 25-17, the two have split the last four.
Though perhaps less-well know than the mini cannon that Illinois and Purdue play for, the Fremont Cannon is a beast. Introduced in 1969, the weapon is a full-size reproduction of the howitzer used by John C. Fremont as he headed west to Nevada in 1843. Unlike many rivalry prizes, the Fremont dates all the way back to the beginning of the series.
The Golden Egg Trophy – Ole Miss at (14) Mississippi State – series started in 1901 – Ole Miss leads 63-44-6, but the two have split the last four.
Awarded to the winner of the Egg Bowl, the Golden Egg was introduced after the 1926 game in Starkville, when underdog Ole Miss scored an unexpected 7-6 win over then Mississippi A&M. Zealous Rebel fans stormed the field after the game, rushing towards the goal posts only to be beat back with cane chairs by State fans. The incident was so ugly that the student bodies decided to present a trophy after the next game “in a dignified ceremony designed to calm fans.” Ole Miss has collected 55 Eggs vs. Mississippi State’s 29.
The Governor’s Cup – Louisville at Kentucky – series started in 1912 – Kentucky leads 15-14, last year’s win over the Cardinals snapped a five-game losing streak.
The Kentucky Governor’s Cup dates back to 1994, when the two schools renewed their rivalry after a 70-year break. The earlier games were all played between 1912 and 1924, six Kentucky wins by a combined score of 210-0. Since ’94 Louisville has earned a 14-9 advantage.
The Heroes Trophy – Iowa at Nebraska – series started in 1891 – Nebraska leads 29-15-3, but Iowa has won three of the last four.
The Heroes Trophy was introduced in 2011, Nebraska’s first season in the Big Ten. The name was chosen with the intent of honoring one citizen apiece from Iowa and Nebraska for “extraordinary acts”. Thus far, each school has won the prize three times.
The James E. Foy, V-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy – (1) Alabama at (6) Auburn – series started in 1893 – Alabama leads 45-35-1 and has won five of the last six.
Dating back to 1948, the trophy presented to the winner of the Iron Bowl was the brainchild of the Alabama and Auburn chapters of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society. In January 1978, it was dedicated to Dean James E. Foy V as he retired as the Dean of Student Affairs at Auburn. Prior to taking on that role in 1950, Foy had served as the Assistant Dean of Students at Alabama. The Crimson Tide have won 41 ODK’s vs. the Tigers’ 28.
The Land of Lincoln Trophy – (22) Northwestern at Illinois – series started in 1892 – Illinois leads 55-50-5, but Northwestern has won four of the last five.
First introduced in 2009, the Land of Lincoln, which depicts Abraham Lincoln’s iconic hat, was the result of an online contest for both schools’ fanbases. The two teams played for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk from 1945 to 2008 but it was retired “out of respect for Native American Nations.” Northwestern has won five of the new awards vs. Illinois’ three.
The Legends Trophy – (8) Notre Dame at (21) Stanford – series started in 1925 – Notre Dame leads all-time 18-12, but Stanford has won three of the last four.
The Legends Trophy honors the first-ever game between the Cardinal and Irish – the 1925 Rose Bowl, a game Notre Dame won 27-10, earning it its second national title. Counted among the legendary that day were Knute Rocke, the Four Horsemen, Pop Warner and Ernie Nevers.
The Milk Can – (23) Boise State at Fresno State – series started in 1977 – Boise State leads 13-5. The two most recently met in the 2014 Mountain West Championship, a game the Broncos won 28-14.
The “big metal can” was the brainchild of dairy farmers from Fresno and Boise in 2005. Though the Bulldogs claimed the first Can, it didn’t make it’s official on-field debut until 2006, when the Broncos triumphed. Thus far, Boise State has carried home the milk eight times vs. Fresno State’s two.
The Old Oaken Bucket – Indiana at Purdue – series started in 1891 – Purdue leads 72-41-6, but Indiana has won four straight.
Dating all the way back to 1925, the Old Oaken Bucket was initiated by an alumnus of each school charged with finding a traveling trophy. The duo struck gold at an Indiana farm, where an old bucket, now the Old Oaken Bucket, hung from a well. The first game played for the prize ended in a 0-0 tie, which explains the bronze “IP” attached to the Bucket’s handle. This led to a bronze “I” or “P” being linked to the trophy for each team’s win ever since. So far, 58 “P’s” have been attached vs. 31 “I’s.”
The Palmetto Bowl Trophy – (3) Clemson at (24) South Carolina – series started in 1896 – Clemson leads 68-42-4 and has won three straight.
The Palmetto Bowl Trophy replaced the Hardee’s Trophy in 2015, it also marked the first time the state of South Carolina’s rivalry game had an official name. Clemson was a 20-plus point favorite in each of the two Palmetto Bowls, this year Vegas has reduced the line to two touchdowns.
Paul Bunyan’s Axe – (5) Wisconsin at Minnesota – series started in 1890 – The series is tied at 59-59-8, but Minnesota hasn’t won since 2003.
Introduced in 1948, Paul Bunyan’s Axe, was preceded by a wood-crafted Slab of Bacon, awarded to the winner beginning in 1930. The tradition of “bringing home the bacon” was halted in the early 1940s when the slab went missing (it was found in 1994 in Madison). Recorded on the handle of Bunyan’s Axe are the winners of every game since the series began. Wisconsin has taken possession of the Axe 42 times vs. Minnesota’s 24.
The Platypus Trophy – Oregon State at Oregon – series dates back to 1894 – Oregon leads 63-47-10, Oregon State’s win last season snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Awarded to the winner of the Civil War, the Platypus Trophy was sculpted (but never officially finished – it’s missing its feet) by an Oregon art student in 1959. Oregon State won the first-ever Trophy game and then retained it until 1961 when it disappeared, not to be uncovered again until 2006. It was reintroduced in 2007. Since then, the Ducks have won the duck-billed mammal eight times vs. the Beavers’ two.
The Territorial Cup – Arizona at Arizona State – series started in 1899 – Arizona leads 49-40-1, the two have split the last four.
The self-claimed “oldest trophy for a rivalry game in America” the Territorial Cup is unique because not only has it been in use for the entirety of the series, it’s over 100 years old. The name refers to the fact that the Cup was awarded before Arizona was even a state, remaining a territory until 1912.
The Wagon Wheel – Kent State at Akron – series started in 1923 – Akron leads 33-24-2 and has won three of the last four.
Dating to 1946, the tale of the Wagon Wheel was first spun by Kent State Dean Raymond Manchester. He claimed the buggy Wheel had belonged to the founder of the institution that eventually became the University of Akron. Though Manchester valued the Wheel, he stated he was “willing to put it up as a trophy,” because “there’s no danger of losing it.” Though bold, he was correct, at least in the short term. Kent State won the first 10 Wheels and overall has retained it 23 times vs. Akron’s 22. The two schools are located only 12 miles apart, south of Cleveland, Ohio.
The War on I-4 Trophy – USF at (15) UCF – series started in 2005 – USF leads 6-2 and has won two straight.
Not to be confused with The Battle of I-75, the War on 4 is an “annual series of scored competitions across multiple sports programs” from USF and UCF. It kicked off last season, the Bulls earning bragging rights after downing the Knights 48-31 on the gridiron. The two schools are located 100 miles apart on Interstate 4 in central Florida.
The ACC and SEC are set to finish the regular season with four, annual in-state grudge matches -Louisville-Kentucky, Florida State-Florida, Georgia Tech-(7) Georgia and (3) Clemson-(24) South Carolina. The winners will secure bragging rights not only for their fan bases, but for their respective conference.
Go back 40 years and the scenario was totally different. That’s when two of the four matchups were in-state conference games, as opposed to non-league finales.
Most recently, Clemson-South Carolina was played as an all-ACC affair. The Gamecocks were ACC members from 1953-70. They declared their independence from 1971-91 before inking a deal with the SEC in 1992. The two schools are 9-9 in ACC action – 3-3 in games at Clemson and 6-6 in those played in Columbia.
Prior to that, Georgia-Georgia Tech was an SEC matchup from 1933-63. That’s when the Yellow Jackets were SEC members, before going independent in 1964 and finally landing in the ACC in 1983. Georgia Tech holds a 16-13-2 advantage over Georgia in SEC play, winning the final three contests (1961-63) by a combined score of 73-16.
Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football. Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com