The 9 greatest college football games we’ve never seen

By Amy Daughters -

If you ask the AP voters, the greatest college football programs of all-time are those that they’ve selected the most consistently since the poll was first released in 1936.

Using this metric, we arrive at an ultimate, super-duper, all-world Top 25, honoring those programs that haven’t just performed consistently for ten years, but those who’ve done so for almost 90 seasons.

It also gives us a window into what are – and are yet to be – the greatest college football matchups of all time. Of these 625 possible “best-ever” pairings, only 37 have never, ever, happened. What follows – for your reading pleasure – are the best-of-the-best of these elite never-evers.

(2) OHIO STATE vs. (24) OLE MISS

Ole Miss is one of only two SEC members that Ohio State hasn’t played yet in football, the other being Mississippi State. The Buckeyes are 22-15-3 vs. the current SEC, most recently falling 42-41 to then (1) Georgia in last season’s Peach Bowl/CFP Semifinal. They last beat an SEC member in the 2014/15 Sugar Bowl/CFP Semifinal, scoring a 42-35 win over then (1) Alabama. OSU has a home-and-home scheduled with Texas in 2025/26 (the Longhorns will be SEC members by that time), Alabama in 2027/28 and Georgia in 2030/31.

Ole Miss has only played six Big Ten members previously and holds a 3-4 mark vs. the current membership. Its most recent action came in the 2020/21 Outback Bowl, a 26-20 win over Indiana. The Rebels have a home-and-home slated with USC in 2025/26 (the Trojans join the Big Ten in 2024) and Purdue in 2033/34.

(1). ALABAMA vs. (25) IOWA

Iowa is one of only four Big Ten teams that Alabama has yet to meet in football. The Tide have a commanding 28-13 advantage vs. the Midwestern contingencies’ current membership, most recently downing then (3) Ohio State 52-24 in the 2020/21 CFP Championship game. They have a home-and-home booked with Wisconsin in 2024/25, Ohio State in 2027/28 and Minnesota in 2032/33.

The Hawkeyes have played nine of the 14 current SEC members in football, earning a 13-15 record. They’ve beaten an SEC foe as recently as their last outing, scoring a 21-0 shutout over Kentucky in the 2022 Music City Bowl. As of now, they don’t have any future dates scheduled with an SEC opponent.


Arkansas has never met one of 2023’s four Independent programs (Army, Notre Dame, UConn, and UMass) in football. It did however meet two opponents classified as independents at game-time as recently as last season – winning 52-35 at BYU (the Cougars join the Big 12 this season) and falling 21-19 vs. then (23) Liberty (the Flames hook-up with C-USA this year).

Notre Dame has only missed out on playing four of the 14 current SEC programs, holding a 30-21 advantage. Like Iowa, the Irish’s most recent such win came in its last appearance on the gridiron, a 45-38 victory over then (20) South Carolina in the 2022 Gator Bowl.

The only duo on our list with a first-ever date booked, Arkansas and Notre Dame have a home-and-home scheduled for 2025/2028. The Irish also have future series inked with Texas A&M (2024/25), Alabama (2029/30), and Florida (2031/32).


The Spartans are one of only three Big Ten clubs that Oklahoma has never met in football, the other two being Rutgers and Purdue. The Sooners hold a 63-45-3 advantage, the majority of that coming via their 47-38-3 mark against former Big 8 rival Nebraska. Speaking of the Cornhuskers, OU’s most recent action vs. a Big Ten club came in Lincoln, a 49-14 win. The Sooners have future dates booked with Michigan (2025/26) and Nebraska (2029/30).

Michigan State holds an uber dominant 20-2-1 mark vs. the current Big 12 but, along with Oklahoma, has never met Texas, or Oklahoma State on the gridiron. The only current Big 12 teams they’ve ever lost to are Kansas (a 17-10 decision during the 1994 regular season) and Texas Tech (a 41-31 defeat in the 2009/10 Alamo Bowl). The most recent action came in the 2014/15 Cotton Bowl, a narrow 42-41 win over Baylor. The Spartans have a future date booked at BYU (joining the Big 12 this season) in 2032.


Clemson has only met six of the current 14-member Big Ten, earning a 41-29-2 record which mainly consists of a 34-26-2 mark vs. former ACC chum Maryland. Remove those contests from the equation, and the Tigers have only played 11 total games vs. the rest of the league, most recently falling 49-28 to then (3) Ohio State in the 2020/21 Sugar Bowl/CFP Semifinal. They haven’t beaten a Big Ten member since edging the then (2) Buckeyes 29-23 in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl/CFP Semifinal. Clemson doesn’t have any future dates scheduled vs. a Big Ten club.

Other than Clemson, the only other ACC program that Michigan hasn’t yet met on the gridiron is Louisville. The Wolverines are 29-10-1 vs. the current membership, most recently falling 33-32 to then (10) Florida State in the 2016 Orange Bowl. The last win came in the 2011/12 Sugar Bowl, a 23-20 victory over then (17) Virginia Tech. Though it does have a home-and-home series on tap with quasi-kind-of ACC members Notre Dame in 2033/34, Michigan doesn’t have any dates inked with a full-fledged ACC club.

 (7) TEXAS vs. (18) CLEMSON

Texas has played 11 of the 14 members of the ACC, holding an 18-12-1 advantage. The Longhorns haven’t sparred with an ACC club since the 2002 regular-season, scoring a 52-21 win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill. UT has no future plans to face an ACC program.

Clemson is 7-7 vs. the current Big 12, playing six members previously and most recently downing Iowa State 20-13 in the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl. The Tigers do have Oklahoma slated for 2035/36 but by that time the Sooners will have been in the SEC for a decade.

(14) AUBURN vs. (5) NOTRE DAME

Auburn has only played one opponent that comes into the 2023 season as an Independent – Army.  The Tigers are 1-2 against the Black Knights, most recently scoring their only-ever win in the 1996 Independence Bowl. They are scheduled to host UMass, which declared its independence from the MAC in 2016, in this year’s season-opener.

Other than Auburn and Arkansas (mentioned above), the only SEC clubs that Notre Dame hasn’t played are Kentucky and Mississippi State.


Texas is the only current Big 12 member that Florida State has never met in football. The Seminoles are 24-15 vs. the rest of the league, most recently downing a member the last time they hit the field, a 35-32 win over Oklahoma in the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl. FSU doesn’t have a Big 12 member on any of its future schedules.

Other than Florida State and Clemson (mentioned above), the only other ACC club that Texas has never played is Duke.

(11) LSU vs. (4) MICHIGAN

The Wolverines are one of three Big Ten clubs that LSU has yet to meet in football, the other two being Minnesota and Northwestern. The Tigers hold a 10-15-2 mark vs. the Big Ten most recently destroying Purdue 63-7 in last year’s Citrus Bowl. They are set to play both USC and UCLA in 2024, both of which will be Big Ten members at game-time.

LSU is the only current SEC member that Michigan has never played. The Wolverines most recent action came in the 2021 Orange Bowl/CFP Semifinal, a 34-11 loss to then (3) Georgia. They haven’t beaten an SEC club since the 2017 season opener, a 33-17 win over then (17) Florida in Arlington, Texas. UM has home-and-home series booked with both Texas (2024/27) and Oklahoma (2025/26) both of which will be SEC official by then.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football

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Comments (8)

PSU’s all-time against these teams is 81-93-2. (No games yet, Ole Miss). Losses to Ala, Iowa, Mich, Mich st,and The pestiferous Buckeyes account for about 1 in 5 losses. Ever. Tip of the white helmets to undeniable greatness, 101 days ’til…

ND and Arkansas were booked for Rock’s House in September 2020. The pandemic pushed that game back to 2028 that Amy references.