Group of Five vs. Power Five Matchups We’d Like To See Resume

Southern Methodist versus Baylor – This is an interesting one that got thrown off a bit by history. Baylor has won the last 13 meetings in the series, but their lead in the overall series is only 39-36-7. That would mean that as of the last time that Southern Methodist beat these Bears – right before the Death Penalty took effect – they led the all-time series 36-26-7.

Of course, the SMU team that won 15 of 20 over a couple of decades may have had some competitive advantages. The Iron Skillet matchup with TCU has a longer history, but it’s currently not scheduled to continue beyond the coming season.

The extension of the Safeway Bowl (?) with North Texas through at least 2024 means limited room for this non-conference matchup, but why not stump for an all-Texas non-conference slate for SMU?

I’m sure their fans would appreciate an increase in easy-to-attend road games, and maybe an occasionally winnable one at that.

Very little footage of this matchup outside of the last five years or so when Baylor regularly dominated, so let’s go with some footage of the matchup from 1962, which was the great Hayden Fry’s very first season as a head football coach.

Alright fine, I guess we can watch the 2014 game where SMU got to be the first team to ever play in the brand new McLane Stadium.

 

San Jose State versus Stanford – This is probably the most obvious one on the list. The two teams have played a total of 67 times in their history, and while it’s been six years now since they last faced each other, there are ongoing talks about resuming the matchup.

This is one with a lot of history, even moreso since 2007. Bill Walsh, a name that anyone who is a West Coast football fan should know, is both an alumnus of San Jose State as well as one of the greatest coaches in all of college football, let alone in Stanford’s history.

After Walsh’s passing, this was dubbed the Bill Walsh Legacy Game, and it’s truly puzzling to me that you would give a game such special significance and then not ensure that it is played every single year.

Fortunately, both schools have room in their schedules to make it happen starting in 2022 so hopefully, this will materialize sooner rather than later.

I was going to include some video here of the 2007 game, but all I could find was some poorly-produced grainy video from Stanford athletics.

Instead, here’s some dude that decided to play Dynasty Mode with SJSU on NCAA ’14 and did well enough to get promoted to the Pac 12.

Cincinnati versus Louisville – This is one of the matchups that was ripped to shreds by the realignment earthquake and the remaining rabble that was the AAC.

Louisville and Cincinnati played every year from 1966 to 2013 except for a three-year hiatus from 1993-95, but Louisville bolted for the ACC after their final win over Cincinnati and took the Keg of Nails trophy with them.

These two cities and programs are so similar, and so close to each other, it seems odd for their rivalry to end so abruptly. Now that Cincinnati has established themselves as one of the better Group of Five programs across multiple sports, and Louisville has proven to not be an elite-level ACC program, the gap between the two has narrowed again.

Both teams have plenty of room on their schedules and heck, Louisville has games scheduled as far out as 2035. This makes sense, which doesn’t mean it will happen, but we’re going to root for it anyway.

Let’s reminisce for now with a replay of their last matchup, an overtime win by the Cardinals.

Appalachian State versus Wake Forest – This one had a much more intriguing history than I expected.

The Demon Deacons are one of only four Power Five teams the Mountaineers have played more than twice, and one of only two they’ve played more than twice in the last 30 years.

This makes sense since it’s only about a 90-minute drive from Boone to Winston-Salem, yet when they faced off two years ago, it was the first time they had played in 16 years and the first time the game was ever played in Boone.

Interestingly enough, the first 22 of these two teams’ 23 matchups came when Appalachian State was an FCS program, and they managed to post a 7-14-1 record in those games, including a 5-5-1 stretch from 1988-2000 and back-to-back wins in 1998 and 2000.

This makes sense considering App State’s dominance as an FCS program and Wake’s… well, lack of dominance as a Power Five team, but it was still interesting to learn about.

This series is unlikely to resume any time in the near future, as the series of games that started in 2017 will end next season, and then Wake Forest only has two slots open between 2021 and 2026 to fit games into.

That’s unfortunate, and it’s equally unfortunate that there’s nearly no video footage online of 1998, when Daniel Jeremiah scored on a goal-line sneak for an overtime victory. Instead, let’s get hyped up for the coming season.

Marshall versus WVU – You may have noticed a trend by now, in that all of the matchups I have chosen are regional and have some history.

Does Navy have a history with Pittsburgh? Sure, but they aren’t really close to each other and none of it is really recent.

Yes, West Virginia is a good four hours from Marshall. Yes, West Virginia has won all 13 times these two teams have played on the football field. But much like the Mountaineers’ recently revived rivalry against Pittsburgh, these schools don’t really like each other, which tends to create a rather unique gameday atmosphere.

When these two faced off in the NCAA Tournament a couple of years ago, it marked the first time the teams had played in a couple of years after having faced each other for 40 straight seasons.

There are plenty of arguments over whose fault that is, and who’s Schwanz is bigger, or whatever. But that spills over to athletics in general.

I’m not sure why it’s known as the Friends of Coal Bowl, since these schools aren’t very friendly and since both Huntington and Morgantown do more than just coal, but let’s all take a minute to sit back and watch the 2010 game, when Marshall led 21-6 one play into the fourth quarter before eventually falling in overtime.

Or if you prefer, watch a freshman named Chad Pennington and a sophomore named Randy Moss give WVU a run for their money in their very first FBS football game in 1997.

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