Texas A&M Aggies: Ohio State Buckeyes


The new College Football Playoff is supposed to encourage schools to schedule better nonconference games, as teams try to beef up their schedule strength to earn one of the playoff’s coveted four spots at season’s end.

On Thursday, Texas A&M and UCLA announced that they’ll play each other during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Other schools have announced future marquee nonconference opponents, including Texas A&M vs. USC, Notre Dame vs. Texas, Alabama vs. Michigan State and LSU vs. Oklahoma.

Here are five other nonconference games I’d like to see in the future:

[+] EnlargeNick Saban, Urban Meyer
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesUrban Meyer and Nick Saban have faced off for SEC titles, but their current teams, Ohio State and Alabama, have played only three times in history.
1. Alabama vs. Ohio State: Alabama’s Nick Saban and OSU’s Urban Meyer dominated the SEC when Meyer was coaching at Florida, combining to win five BCS national championships from 2006 to 2012.

When Meyer was still coaching at Florida, the Crimson Tide and Gators played in two of the most anticipated SEC championship games. The No. 2 Gators beat the No. 1 Tide 31-20 in 2008, and then the Tide turned the tables on No. 1 UF with a 32-13 win in 2009.

Alabama and Ohio State have played only three times in history, with the Tide winning each time, most recently in a 24-17 victory in the 1995 Citrus Bowl.

2. Texas vs. Texas A&M: Perhaps the biggest casualty in conference realignment, Texas and Texas A&M haven’t played each other since the Aggies bolted the Big 12 for the SEC after the 2011 season. Sadly, there are no plans for the in-state rivals to play again in future regular seasons.

The Aggies and Longhorns played each other 118 times from 1894 to 2011, with their annual meeting traditionally being played on Thanksgiving Day. UT won nearly twice as many games as the Aggies (76-37-5), including nine of the last 12 meetings.

With former Louisville coach Charlie Strong taking over at Texas, and Kevin Sumlin building the Aggies into an SEC powerhouse, the game would also pit two of the sport’s best African-American coaches against each other.

3. Oregon vs. Baylor: Two of the game’s most explosive offenses -- and two of its best-dressed teams -- would undoubtedly light up the scoreboard if they ever played. In fact, the contest would probably look more like a track meet.

Under coach Art Briles, the Bears have become the Ducks of the Southwest, with their hurry-up, spread offense and myriad flashy uniforms closely resembling what Chip Kelly and then Mark Helfrich built at Oregon. The Bears and Ducks follow the same blueprint on offense: play fast and score fast.

We hoped to see this matchup in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl last season, but alas, it didn’t happen. Oregon and Baylor have never met on the gridiron.

4. Michigan vs. USC: Two of the sport’s traditional heavyweights have faced each other eight times in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio, but only twice during the regular season -- in 1957 and 1958.

The Trojans won the last three meetings in the Rose Bowl, 32-18 in 2007, 28-14 in 2004 and 17-10 in 1990. USC has won six of the past seven meetings overall and holds a 6-4 advantage all-time.

We might have seen this matchup during the regular season if a Big Ten/Pac-12 scheduling partnership hadn’t fallen apart in 2012.

5. Georgia vs. Florida State: UGA coach Mark Richt was a longtime assistant under legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden before taking over the Bulldogs, and he recently poached defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt off the Seminoles’ staff.

The Bulldogs and Seminoles go head-to-head for a lot of recruits every year, and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher upgraded his roster by effectively recruiting South Georgia and Atlanta.

The Bulldogs and Seminoles have played 11 times and only once since 1984 -- UGA defeated FSU 26-13 in the 2003 Sugar Bowl. Georgia leads the all-time series, 6-4-1.

Poll: Dream nonconference matchup

May, 10, 2013
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The team I wanted to see face Alabama last season in the BCS National Championship was Oregon. It's the matchup the entire country wanted to see.

No offense, Notre Dame fans, but seeing that high-octane Oregon offense go up against Alabama's defense would have made for much better theater than what we ended up getting in South Florida in January.

SportsNation

Which nonconference matchup involving an SEC school would be the most attractive?

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    31%
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    18%
  •  
    8%
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    15%
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    28%

Discuss (Total votes: 11,201)

Wouldn't it be great if you could play college football matchmaker and turn some of these dream match-ups into realities during the season?

We've come up with five such matchups and want you to select which one would be the most attractive by voting in our SportsNation poll.

Alabama versus Oregon is one of the choices. Who knows? Maybe we'll finally get to see the Ducks and Tide square off in the final BCS National Championship before we go to a playoff in 2014.

Think Florida versus Ohio State would stir a few emotions with Urban Meyer taking on his old team? It would be the battle of Meyer's two dream jobs. Come to think of it, is it possible to have two dream jobs? In Meyer's world, you can.

I realize that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, in all of his arrogance, said recently that Texas gets to decide when Texas and Texas A&M play again. Ask anybody in that state, and it can't be soon enough. Surely we'll see those two old rivals playing again sooner rather than later.

Here's one for you: South Carolina and Steve Spurrier going up against Lane Kiffin and the West Coast version of USC. Spurrier's not the biggest Kiffin fan. Then again, who in the SEC is? Something says the buildup to that game could be as entertaining as the game itself.

Finally, LSU and Notre Dame played 10 times between 1970 and 2006 and are all knotted up, 5-5. It's time to break the tie. Talk about two of the best fight songs in all of college sports and two programs steeped in tradition.

Well, you have the rundown. Tell us which matchup you'd most like to see, and we'll go over results next week.

Five from Friday: Mike Mitchell shines 

November, 18, 2012
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Each week, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you five things he learned from watching high school football action in the Midlands region that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

1. It's easy to see why Plano (Texas) Prestonwood linebacker Mike Mitchell is such a coveted prospect. The ESPN 150 outside linebacker, who has a final four of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, is skilled, athletic and seems to be around the ball constantly. The Lions' opponent on Friday, Tomball (Texas) Concordia Lutheran, ran a triple-option offense that was well executed and hard to defend because of that. As Mitchell got in a groove he made an impact, recording 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. He's also quick and athletic enough that the Lions used him as a kickoff return man and he even lined up on offense a couple of times. He limped off the field late in the fourth quarter and left the game the stadium with his leg wrapped in ice after suffering an injury that he played most of the night through, but the nation's 10th-ranked outside linebacker appears to have plenty of tools. According to his father Ken Mitchell, the injury could keep the linebacker out for Prestonwood's next playoff game.

[+] EnlargeMike Mitchell
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comESPN 150 linebacker Mike Mitchell has narrowed down his list to four schools and will take visits after the season.
2. Prestonwood has plenty of other worthy prospects. Obviously Christian Morgan, the three-star tight end prospect, is one of them. The Mississippi commitment is big, athletic and relentless when chasing the quarterback (he plays defensive end in addition to tight end for Prestonwood). Also, 2016 prospect Michael Irvin Jr., the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, has impressive size for his age (6-2, 190). Look for him to emerge as a prospect on the radar of many colleges in the future. The Lions also have a 2015 prospect in quarterback Mickey Mitchell, who excels on both the gridiron and the basketball court, but he did not play and will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL suffered on Nov. 2.

ESPN 150 OLB Hollins still a wanted man 

October, 30, 2012
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MISSOURI CITY, Texas -- When asked what to make of his senior season so far, one in which his team is undefeated, he has dominated on the field and colleges from all over the country have continued to recruit him, Deon Hollins Jr. could think of just one word.

"Perfect," he said.

It's not a bad way to put it.

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- One of the biggest players, literally, at the Texas Division II 7-on-7 state tournament on Thursday was one who wasn't playing: 6-4, 296-pound offensive tackle Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal).

While 7-on-7 is designed for skill-position players, Knox made the trek to Aggieland to support his teammates and watch them compete at the Penberthy Intramural Fields. The 2014 tackle holds offers from Alabama, Baylor, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA and he's approved for offers from Oklahoma and Texas, which will be extended in February.

Knox said on Thursday that while he doesn't know yet where he wants to go, he knows when and where he wants to announce -- at one of the All-American games. Knox said he has been invited to both the Under Armour All-American game and the U.S. Army All-American game, but hasn't finalized which one he'll head to.

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