There is one game every season where it is pretty much impossible to predict who wins. It is the one game where records do not matter. Win and you can make your season; lose and your season is a failure regardless of how high you might be ranked. For this one game the best and the worst come out for no better reason that good ole’ fashioned hate.
I’m talking about Rivalry Week of course.
Over the long Thanksgiving weekend the vast majority of the college football games slated to be played are between bitter rivals. Some of the rivalries are new (Texas A&M/Missouri); others are being revisited (Texas/TCU); many more are so deep in history that the participants truly hate each other and don’t even know why (Ohio State/Michigan is a great example).
The power of the rivalry game can be pretty overpowering. For example, take the Ohio State/Michigan game. It is no surprise that the players get involved in a little extra curricular activity, but not their clean-cut new head coach, Urban Meyer. He be in his first year with the Buckeyes, but the gravity of the situation was not lost on him (Warning: Coach talks a little dirty here; you can fast forward to the one minute mark):
Notre Dame’s rivalry with the USC Trojans took center stage with the Fighting Irish going in ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1993 and USC without its starting quarterback, Matt Barkley. That didn’t stop his replacement, Max Wittek, from guaranteeing a win for the Trojans. He wasn’t able to follow through with it of course and the Fighting Irish locked down a berth in the BCS title game.
One of the most historic rivalries in college football is still to come. The 113th Army/Navy game is scheduled for December 8 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia where the Black Knights of Army will try to keep the Midshipmen from making it 10 in a row.