Alabama Football Sunday Morning Conversation: Cross-Conference Rivals

Classic College Football. - Rob Carr

Just for fun, what if in the future Power 5 Conferences instituted "permanent cross-conference opponents". Who would each SEC team be paired with?

Nick Saban has brought Alabama back to college football prominence and with that comes influence. If you haven't been paying attention the last couple of years, he has been bringing up suggestions for the future of college football and people listen. One of his thoughts is that every Big 5 conference team needs to be playing ALL their games against Big 5 conference teams. Once those words left his mouth, it sent reverberations through places like Provo (BYU), Boise, and Orlando (UCF).

Nobody knows for sure what the game will look like in the future but let's just pretend for a moment. It is the off-season after all. Imagine that the Big 5 have ascended to their own division and have taken on Saban's scheduling idea. Perhaps in the future-future, each team would be assigned one "permanent cross-conference opponent". If that did happen (and I am not saying it will, so calm down and have fun with it), who would that team be for each SEC team? A few of them are already in place but others need a little help. I think you will like the team I have chosen for Alabama.

ALREADY IN PLACE

Florida: Florida State, ACC (Alternate: Miami)
Georgia: Georgia Tech, ACC (Alternate: Clemson)
Kentucky: Louisville, ACC (Alternate: Va Tech, Indiana)
South Carolina: Clemson, ACC (Alternate: UNC)

REKINDLING THE FIRE

Alabama: Penn State, Big Ten - You cannot tell the history of the Crimson Tide without mentioning the Nittany Lions. (Alternate: Southern Cal "They cured Bear Bryant's racism!", FSU)
Arkansas: Oklahoma or Oklahoma State, Big 12 - Fayetteville and Norman are only 230 miles apart yet these two schools have only played 12 times and 3 times since 1926 (1977, 1986, 2001 - all bowl games). The Hogs have the edge on Okie St 30-15-1 but they have not played since 1980. You can blame Lou Holtz for putting an end to that series. A mere 180 miles separates these two campuses.
Missouri: Kansas, Big 12 - The rivalry between these two schools goes all the way back to the American Civil War (no sarcasm font here). Missouri leads the series either 57-54-9 or 56-55-9 depending which fan base you talk to. The Big 8 retroactively forfeited Kansas' 1960 win over to Missouri due to a Jayhawks player being found ineligible.
Texas A&M: Texas, Big 12 - Many fans lamented the demise of this series. Texas leads 76–37–5, but the two split the last 6 games with the last meeting in 2011. (Alternate: Baylor - 108 meetings)
Vanderbilt: Wake Forest, ACC - These two teams have played seven out of the last nine seasons with the last six closing out the regular season. They were scheduled to play 2014 & 2015 but they canceled their series for now.

SUGGESTIONS?

Auburn has faced Georgia Tech 92 times but it looks like UGA (108) will lay claim to the Yellow Jackets. Same with Clemson (49 meetings vs. AU) being paired with South Carolina. So, who would be a good cross-conference rival for the Tigers that has not already been mentioned above?
LSU's biggest rivals are all SEC teams plus punching bag Tulane (69-22-7). I would say put them up against an Ohio State but they might start whining again.
Mississippi State: Again, no discernible rival outside the SEC. May have to create a rival for them. Perhaps Oklahoma State or maybe Baylor?
Ole Miss: Same issue as the above two. Texas Tech seems like a good match for two teams that were once coached by Tommy Tuberville.
Tennessee: The Vols seem to enjoy getting beat by Pac-12 teams (Oregon 2013 & 2010, UCLA 2009 & 2008, Cal 2007). Maybe stick with a west coast team like UCLA. There is also potential for a rivalry with border states to the east: UNC, NC State, Va Tech.

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