The 9 Top Ten college football matchups in 2021 according to Vegas

By Amy Daughters -

While the AP and the Coaches polls are voted on by a group of subjective experts (they’re only human after all) the oddsmakers in Vegas put their money where their mouths are.

It may be the most realistic way to gauge which teams are poised to make a run.

Vegas’ latest odds to win the 2021-22 CFP National Championship form a predictable Top 10: 1. Alabama (+280), 2. Clemson (+300), 3. Ohio State (+500), T4. Georgia and Oklahoma (+800), 6. Florida (+2500), 7. Texas A&M (+3000), T8. LSU and Notre Dame (+3300), T10. Texas and Wisconsin (+4500).

Using this metric and still four months from the season even kicking off, there are nine Top 10 matchups on tap in 2021. Of these, a whopping six (or 66%) are SEC games. What remains are a mere two non-conference contests and one Big 12 matchup.

Alabama, Florida, and LSU are all tasked with three Top Ten opponents apiece while Georgia and Texas A&M have two such games. The only member of Vegas’ Top Ten to not have a Top Ten foe slated is Ohio State.

Saturday, Sept. 4

(2) CLEMSON vs. (4) GEORGIAat Charlotte, N.C.

Series history: first played in 1897 – Georgia leads 42-18-4 and has won six of the last seven.

One of only two non-conference games on the list, Clemson and Georgia haven’t met since 2014. The pair also kicked off the 2013/14 and 2002/03 seasons together and have plans to meet again in 2024 (in Atlanta) plus home-and-homes booked in 2029/30 and 2032/33. Clemson knocked off a Top Ten opponent in the regular season as recently as last year, demolishing (7) Miami Fla. 42-17 at home. Georgia went 1-2 vs. the Top Ten during the 2020 regular season, downing (7) Auburn (27-6) and losing at (2) Alabama (41-24) and vs. (8) Florida (44-28).

Saturday, Sept. 18

(1) ALABAMA at (6) FLORIDA

Series history: first played in 1916 – Alabama leads 26-14 and has won seven-straight.

Though these two met in last season’s SEC title game, they haven’t played during the regular season since 2016. Florida’s last win over Alabama came in the 2008 SEC championship, it hasn’t won during the regular season since 2006. The Tide and Gators only played one Top Ten opponent apiece during the 2020 regular season, both beating Georgia – the Bulldogs were No. 3 coming into the Alabama game and No. 5 vs. Florida.

Saturday, Sept. 25

(8) NOTRE DAME vs. (10) WISCONSINat Chicago, Ill.

Series history: first played in 1900 – Notre Dame leads 8-6-2 but the two have split the last four.

The second of the only two non-conference matchups listed, Notre Dame and Wisconsin haven’t played in 57 years – a 1964 regular season game in Madison. The Irish beat a Top Ten opponent in regular season play as recently as last year, out lasting (1) Clemson 47-40 at home. For the Badgers it was the 2019 regular-season finale, a 38-17 win at (9) Minnesota. The two have no future dates booked.

Saturday, Oct. 9

(1) ALABAMA at (7) TEXAS A&M  

Series history: first played in 1942 – Alabama leads 11-2 and has won eight-straight.

Texas A&M has beaten fellow West division member Alabama only once since joining the league, edging the Tide 29-24 in Tuscaloosa in their inaugural SEC campaign in 2012. The Aggies went 1-1 vs. the Top Ten in 2020, losing 52-24 at (2) Alabama but bouncing back the next week with a 41-32 win over (4) Florida at home.

(4) OKLAHOMA at (10) TEXASat Dallas, Texas

Series history: first played in 1900 – Texas leads 62-49-5 but Oklahoma has won three-straight.

These two haven’t clashed as Top Ten teams since 2008 when the (5) Longhorns upended the (1) Sooners 45-35. Oklahoma hasn’t faced a Top Ten opponent during the regular season since 2017 when it scored wins at (2) Ohio State (31-16) and vs. (8) TCU (38-20). For Texas it was just last year when it traveled to (6) Oklahoma State and scored a 41-34 upset victory.

Saturday, Oct. 16

(6) FLORIDA at (8) LSU

Series history: first played in 1937 – Florida leads 33-31-3, but LSU has won three of the last four.

As permanent cross-division rivals, these two play annually and squared off as Top Ten teams as recently as 2019 when the then (5) Tigers upended the (7) Gators in Baton Rouge. LSU went 1-2 vs. the Top Ten last season falling at (5) Texas A&M (20-7) and (1) Alabama (55-17) but upsetting (6) Florida 37-34 in Gainesville.

Saturday, Oct. 30

(4) GEORGIA vs. (6) FLORIDAat Jacksonville, Fla.

Series history: first played in 1915 – Georgia leads 52-44-2 and has won three of the last four.

Both these powerhouses have been ranked in the Top Ten coming into their last three meetings. Last season, (8) Florida beat (5) Georgia 44-28, in 2019 it was (8) Georgia over (6) Florida 24-17 and in 2018 (7) Georgia triumphed over (9) Florida 36-17. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to 2008 for a Top Ten matchup – that year the (5) Gators destroyed the (8) Bulldogs 49-10 on their way to their second of two national titles under Urban Meyer.

Saturday, Nov. 6

(8) LSU at (1) ALABAMA

Series history: first played in 1895 – Alabama leads 54-26-5 and has won nine of the last ten.

LSU and Alabama were both ranked in the Top Ten coming into seven of their last 11 meetings. Of these, both were ranked in the Top 5 on five occasions with three of these being a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. The Tigers downed the Tide in Tuscaloosa as recently as 2019, a 46-41 win during their latest championship run.

Saturday, Nov. 27

(7) TEXAS A&M at (8) LSU

Series history: first played in 1899 – LSU leads 34-22-3 but the two have split the last four, the home team winning on each occasion.   

Though Texas A&M and LSU have met eight times while both were ranked in the AP Top 25, they’ve never clashed as Top Ten teams. The Tigers are a perfect 8-0 in ranked vs. ranked action against the Aggies – winning in 2016, 2011-13, 1986-88 and 1968.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference/College Football.

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Comments (4)

Side comment… since 10th place is a tie, this is the top eleven. :)
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Interesting that five of the top nine are SEC. We’re down to the Power 3 + Clemson + Notre Dame.

Iowa St belongs on that list over Texas and LSU whose odds are lower because of their extensive fanbases