One of the joys of the college football program is the chance to watch rematches between the best teams in the country.
Last season we had many opportunities to see the best teams on the same field and this time we have a chance to see an encore.
Let’s take a look at the best rematches on this year’s list.
10. Penn State at Auburn
When: 17 Sep
Last meeting: Pennsylvania, 28-20
Last season’s game at Happy Valley was a close one when Penn State knocked down Auburn’s final trench pass to come out with the narrow win and book a point for Big Ten honors. Now comes the rematch on The Plains between two teams in transition.
Penn State is bringing back super senior Sean Clifford as quarterback and he will have some solid options on the outside including WKU transferee Mitchell Tinsley who could test Auburn’s back seven. And while the Tigers have rolled back Tank Bigsby’s return, they have plenty of questions at quarterback — Bo Nix was hauled off — and on defense.
9. Stanford, Oregon
When: 1 Oct
Last meeting: Oregon, 31-24 (OT)
Oregon came to The Farm last fall full of confidence and hope after beating Ohio State on the road and greatly improving their chances in the college football playoffs. Then came the upset, an overtime loss to a team that won three games and threw a monkey wrench into the Ducks’ season.
Dan Lanning ushers in a new era for Oregon football as head coach, equipped with a solid defensive front group, Bo Nix at quarterback and some promising positions at the skill positions. And going into the season on a 19-game home win streak, third-best in college football.
8. Auburn, Alabama
When: Nov 26
Last meeting: Alabama, 24-22 (OT)
We saw the first-ever overtime matchup in Iron Bowl history last fall when Alabama, whose offense had struggled all night, rushed back at the end of regular time and helped win the Heisman Trophy for quarterback Bryce Young.
Now Auburn returns to Tuscaloosa, where it hasn’t won since the iconic game of 2010 but won’t be anywhere near favorites this time.
Bama is returning to its defensive core, led by linebacker Will Anderson, arguably college football’s greatest singles player, while Young has key transfer additions to Auburn’s defense in Jahmyr Gibbs and receiver Jermaine Burton.
7. State of Oklahoma in Oklahoma
When: Nov 19
Last meeting: OSU, 37-33
Bedlam was a good name for last year’s matchup, a back-and-forth game the Cowboys took over in the fourth quarter after scoring a late touchdown and then digging in behind their powerful defensive unit.
This time around, key ingredients from the Oklahoma team that lost the 2021 game will be absent, including coach Lincoln Riley, quarterback Caleb Williams and receiver Mario Williams, all of whom went to USC.
OU’s chances fall to new coach Brent Venables and QB Dillon Gabriel looking to steer this rivalry back towards the Sooners before leaving for the SEC.
6. Michigan State in Michigan
When: 29 Oct
Last meeting: MSU, 37-33
This was Michigan’s only regular-season loss, a campaign highlighted by a win over Ohio State, a Big Ten championship, and the school’s first appearance in the college football playoff. Avenging that loss to their state rival is essential for Michigan to make another run in the conference and semifinals.
And for the Spartans and head coach Mel Tucker, keeping this series on their side of the ledger and preserving the important accomplishments the program made last season is critical.
Payton Thorne is returning as quarterback, as is 1,000-yard receiver Jayden Reed, but Sparty needs to bring a sledgehammer to that secondary, one of the worst in college football a year ago. Michigan also has some gaps to fill, particularly in its pass rush and running backs.
5. Oklahoma State at Baylor
When: 1 Oct
Last meeting: Baylor, 21-16
Dave Aranda took Baylor from two wins to a Big 12 championship in the span of a year, and against those Cowboys his team won the conference by the narrowest margin, stopping OSU Dezmon Jackson inches from the goal line.
The state of Oklahoma loses part of its state-leading No. 3 defense, but retains enough frontline experience. Spencer Sanders also returns as quarterback and Brennan Presley and Blaine Green as receivers.
Blake Shapen steps in for Baylor under center behind four returning linemen, but the Bears have to get backups to safety. Both lines of scrimmage are solid, but Aranda lost lead rusher Abram Smith, who hit 12 times a year ago.
4. Ole Miss in Arkansas
When: Nov 19
Last meeting: Ole Miss, 52-51
This SEC West duel was a barn burner last season, covering nearly 1,300 combined yards and 100-plus points ending with a dropped Arkansas two-point conversion attempt.
Turnover in both rosters may take a few points off the board this time, but these teams are poised to put on another show.
Ole Miss gets USC transfer Jaxson Dart as quarterback to go with other pick-ups while Arkansas brings KJ Jefferson to center after a solid outing in 2021. This game was meant to be a date viewing between two rising SEC powers.
3. Texas vs. Oklahoma
When: 8 Oct
Last meeting: Oklahoma, 55-48
Caleb Williams introduced himself to college football in that game last season, filling in for Spencer Rattler and making an instant impression, leading OU’s furious comeback win and keeping the Sooners undefeated and in the playoff hunt.
Now both opponents come into the Red River Shootout in a different position. Oklahoma wants to build another foundation in the short term after the regime change on the sidelines from Riley to Venables.
Texas made significant gains in the offseason via the transfer portal, adding quarterback Quinn Ewers, among others, to pair with two key qualifying options in back Bijan Robinson and receiver Xavier Worthy.
Winning that game is more important to the Longhorns, who likely come into the Cotton Bowl already with a loss on the board, in Week 2 against Alabama.
2. Michigan in the state of Ohio
When: Nov 26
Last meeting: Michigan, 42-27
Perhaps no revenge is sweeter than winning the game. For the first time in eight tries a year ago, Michigan defeated the Buckeyes, a resounding victory for Jim Harbaugh and his alma mater. But the Wolverines lost a few key contributors, including their edge rushing combo, both top rushers and their best pass defender.
And face off in Columbus against an Ohio State team that still has the core of a No. 1 offensive line in college football, led by Heisman finalist quarterback CJ Stroud. The question for OSU is how well new coordinator Jim Knowles can repair a defense unit that suffered two casualties a year ago.
1.Texas A&M in Alabama
When: 8 Oct
Last meeting: Texas A&M, 41-38
If there’s one team that can change the face of the SEC and the College Football Playoffs, it’s the Aggies. A&M has just signed its highest-rated recruiting class of all time and is able to make a statement a year after the No. 1 Crimson Tide dropped.
That was a high point, but the Ags lost four more games and ended up outside the AP Top 25 rankings. But with that defensive front group, a solid backfield tandem, an athletic receiving corps, and some quarterback experience, A&M could tip the scales in its favor. Winning in Alabama is as tough a job as there is. But passing tests like these proves who belongs and who doesn’t.
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