This week, Americans will be treated to one of the best holidays of the entire year. No, we aren't talking about Thanksgiving. We're talking about college football rivalry week. Between Thursday and Saturday, dozens of big-time college football rivalry matchups will be played. Some, like the Iron Bowl, have national championship implications. Others will be more about pride.
Wondering what to expect this week? Well, there are a few rivalries that, at least in recent times, have been a bit lopsided. We've gone through and picked out the 10 most one-sided big-time rivalry series' since the turn of the century (2001). In the cases of ties, we looked at the scores (a close loss is better than a blowout) that the overall victor lost.
A few on the list actually played a week or two ago, but that's not really the point. Which team has been the most dominant in its major rivalry game? Scroll through to find out:
10. Oregon Leads Oregon State, 9-4
Casual fans will probably be surprised to hear that Oregon State has even won four games against the mighty Ducks this century. But it's true - the Beavers actually held a 4-3 edge in the 21st century until 2008. Since then, it's been all Oregon, as the Ducks have won six in a row.
In all six of those contests, Oregon scored over 30 points. The most competitive game came last year, when the Beavers had the Ducks on the ropes late, but Marcus Mariota was able to find Josh Huff for a 12-yard touchdown with just seconds to play.
">November 24, 2014
The two square off this week, and Oregon State will be playing to spoil Oregon's season - yet again. Oregon most likely reaches the College Football Playoff with two more wins. You know OSU would love to ruin their plans.9. USC Over Notre Dame >>>9. USC Leads Notre Dame, 9-4 The 2014 version of this great intersectional rivalry doesn't have quite as much on the line as it has in the past, but you know it's going to be hotly contested regardless. Notre Dame enters the contest on a three-game losing streak, but they have won three of the past four in this series. Somehow, the Irish still find themselves on the wrong end of this article. Why?Well, USC, between 2002 and 2009, ripped off eight straight victories over its rival. Most of the games weren't even close - in five of them, the Trojans (who were ranked in the top 10 each of those contests) won by at least 30 points. Notre Dame has somewhat recovered in the years since, but it may take a few more wins to offset what happened in that first decade. Saturday presents a great opportunity.8. USC Over UCLA >>>8. USC Leads UCLA, 10-4Don't let last week's result fool you: the battle for supremacy in Los Angeles has been dominated by USC in the 21st century. Sure, the last three times that the two sides have met have gone the Bruins' way, but the Trojans have more or less had the upper hand in this rivalry. Dating back to 2001, USC holds a 10-4 record over UCLA. Of course, if you take out the Trojans' wins in 2004 and 2005, which were vacated due to NCAA sanctions against the university, it's slightly more even, but it's still been a series owned by USC.While the rivalry takes place in a city where college football isn't as big as some other sports, there is still plenty of bad blood between the two schools. Just this year, some Trojans fans snuck onto UCLA's campus and spray painted "SC Runs LA" on the school's Bruin statue.
">November 13, 2014
You would expect UCLA fans to respond, but the Trojans made sure that didn't happen. USC fans duct taped statues around campus so there could be no vandalism from any Bruins.
">November 19, 2014
We'll see if UCLA can keep up its run and even things out in the coming years.7. Oklahoma Over Oklahoma State >>>7. Oklahoma Leads Oklahoma State, 10-3"Bedlam" isn't just a state of pandemonium or confusion, it's also one of the most one-sided rivalries in all of college football. Sure, the games have a tendency to be hotly contested and oftentimes close, but ever since 2001, the Sooners have dominated the Cowboys, winning 10 of a total 13 meetings. In fact, Oklahoma's dominance has been even more impressive when you remember that Oklahoma State won the first two meetings of the 21st century, meaning that 10 of the last 11 matchups have been won by the Sooners.The last decade of the series has seen several historic games between the two squads. In 2008, the two teams combined to score 102 points in what was the highest-scoring game in series history, a 61-41 win by the Sooners. In 2009, Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State for the first time when the Cowboys were the higher-ranked team. That happened again in 2010 and 2013. It even saw its first overtime game in 2012, which was won by - you guessed it - Oklahoma.When these two teams play, whether it be in the 21st century or over the course of the rivalry's entire history, Oklahoma just wins. It could be a close game or a blowout, the two squads could play in Norman or Stillwater, anything. This is a fact that OU has no problem reminding OSU.
">@CowboyFB 84 times with the #Bedlam series starting in 1904.
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football)
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) November 25, 2014
">November 25, 2014
We'll see what happens when the two teams square off on Saturday. If history is any indication, the Sooners are going to upend the Cowboys again.6. Florida Over Tennessee >>>6. Florida Leads Tennessee, 11-3
At this point late in the 2014 season, the Florida and Tennessee programs appear to be ships passing in the night. The Gators will be making a coaching change at season’s end after a very disappointing tenure for Will Muschamp, while Butch Jones has the Vols a win over Vanderbilt away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. Unfortunately for Tennessee fans, even with all of the good vibes surrounding the program this year, the Vols were not able to get over the hump against Florida, losing to the Gators 10-9 back on October 4.
Tennessee has not defeated Florida since 2004, when Phillip Fulmer was still head coach and Erik Ainge and Rick Clausen split time at quarterback. Based on current momentum, it would appear that the Gators’ streak may be broken sometime soon, though Florida should be able to hire a top head coach and rebound quickly. If that happens, this SEC East rivalry may continue to be very one-sided.
5. Ohio State Over Michigan >>>5. Ohio State Leads Michigan, 11-2
While Ohio State fans have thrown their support behind embattled Michigan coach Brady Hoke, the Wolverines have actually been very competitive with the Buckeyes during the last few match-ups, at least compared to many of the other losing teams in this article. Hoke’s Wolverines defeated Ohio State in 2011, lost 26-21 in 2012, and lost a dramatic 42-41 game last season.
— Eddie Rein (@OvertheRein12)
— Eddie Rein (@OvertheRein12) November 25, 2014
">November 25, 2014
Ohio State is the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten, and a real contender to make the College Football Playoff, while Michigan needs to beat the Buckeyes to make it to 6-6 and clinch bowl eligibility. Unfortunately for Michigan fans, nothing that either team has done this year (aside from an increasingly-curious early season loss by Ohio State to Virginia Tech) makes it seem like the Wolverines have a real chance to win this one. Of course, The Game can get weird, and as we’ve seen over the last three years, Michigan comes to play when lining up across from the Buckeyes. Getting an elusive win, however, has been a taller task.
4. Wisconsin Leads Minnesota, 11-2
The battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe got pretty heated last season, but not because of a particularly close match-up. The Badgers won the game on the road 20-7, and after the game, the two squads got into a bit of an altercation during Wisconsin’s celebration. This year, it has already been decided that the Axe will stay in the locker room after the game.
This year’s rivalry game has added significance. Not only is it the follow up to that heated 2013 Wisconsin win, but the winner will represent the Big Ten West in the conference championship against Ohio State. Minnesota owns a 59-56-8 edge in this game all-time, but Wisconsin has wiped the floor with the Gophers in recent years. The Badgers have won 10 in a row against Minnesota, and 17 of the last 19 games in this series. Jerry Kill has put together the best Minnesota team in a decade this year. With a win over Wisconsin, and then a split of the Big Ten Championship and whichever bowl Minnesota goes to, the Gophers could win 10 games for the first time since 2003. That is easier said than done, however, with Heisman hopeful Melvin Gordon on the opposite sideline.
3. Virginia Tech Leads Virginia, 12-1
The Commonwealth State's premier college football rivalry hasn't really been much of a rivalry since the turn of the century. Since 2000, Virginia Tech and Virginia have been on different tiers in the college football world; Virginia Tech has typically been a notch below the truly elite teams and Virginia hovers around mediocrity. It's showed when the two teams meet up in late November every year, as the Hokies have won 10-straight games against the Cavaliers and 12 of the 13 contests that have taken place during the 21st century. The games haven't even been close, with 11 of the 13 games being decided by more than 10 points.
It's basically been a "Decade of Dominance" for Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech leads the all-time series, 53-37-5, but the Hokies appear to be in somewhat of a down period. Frank Beamer's program, 5-6 this season, has now lost at least five games in three consecutive seasons. Perhaps it's time for Virginia to start reeling off some wins and making this rivalry more competitive. The Cavaliers, though, haven't been any better. They're 5-6 this season, went 2-10 in 2013 and 4-8 in 2012.
For now, this is a rivalry game that is not really worth paying attention to.
2. Navy Leads Army, 12-1
The Army-Navy game is seen by many as the purest rivalry game college football has to offer. Class, dignity and honor are some of the words you'll hear people say when describing the players and coaches that make up these programs. It's why, no matter the teams' records or national standing, nearly every college football fan will tune into this game in early December.
That's been a good thing for this game lately, as this rivalry has been anything but competitive on the field since 2000. Navy has won 12 of 13 contests, with only three of those 12 victories coming by less than 10 points. Army, a program that has had just one winning season (2010) since the start of the century, achieved its lone victory in 2001.
This season's game could be close, though, as Navy, 5-5, has underachieved, while Army, 4-7, has played competitively most weeks and will be coming off a victory against Fordham heading into the game.
1. Georgia leads Georgia Tech, 12-1
Georgia Tech has had just one losing season since 2000. The Yellow Jackets, 9-2 this season, have won at least nine games five times over the past 15 years. The Atlanta-based program has really been one of the ACC's best, with only Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech achieving substantially more success.
When it comes to playing Georgia, though, Georgia Tech has been horrible. The Bulldogs have won 12 of their last 13 games against the Yellow Jackets. A decent amount of the games have been close (nine of the 13 games have been decided by less than 10 points), but the win-loss record does not lie: no rivalry has been more lopsided than this one.
This season's contest could be different. Georgia Tech enters the game as one of the hottest teams in the country, having won each of its last four games by at least 20 points. Last week, the Yellow Jackets clinched the ACC Coastal Division.
Georgia comes in riding a wave of good play, too. The Bulldogs, also 9-2, have won three straight games in blowout fashion and will be playing with an outside chance of reaching the College Football Playoff.
Saturday's Georgia-Georgia Tech game could be one of the better ones we've seen this decade. For the sake of the rivalry, hopefully it will be.