For all fans, the start of a new college football season is innately promising; regardless of the preliminary rankings, we know that upsets will happen, jaws will drop, and the seemingly impossible is perpetually inevitable. But one thing is for sure: certain showdowns in the 2015 season have paved the way for stellar 2016 rematches. And we’ve all had a year for the anticipation to mount!
College football season officially kicks off in less than three weeks. With the excitement rising, let’s look at the most anticipated rematches of the 2016 season.
SEC East: Florida vs. Tennessee
This early season game has all the necessary prerequisites for a great rematch: division rivalry, long winning streak (Florida has 11 straight wins over the Vols), and a razor-thin 2015 victory late in the fourth quarter. The Volunteers have been pining for another shot to take down the Gators ever since.
Pac-12 & ACC: Stanford vs. Notre Dame
In 2015, the matchup between Stanford and Notre Dame had huge playoff contentions, and with Stanford easily the Pac-12 favorite, the game could hold just as much weight this year. Except in 2016, the Fighting Irish will be looking to avenge their 38-36 defeat, as this loss knocked them out of the playoff hunt. We’ll see how things shake up on Oct. 15.
Big 12: TCU vs. Oklahoma
Not only are the Sooners and the Horned Frogs the Big 12 favorites going into the season, but last year’s fight nearly changed the dynamic of which team would eventually earn the conference title. Oklahoma squeaked by with a one-point victory, only avoiding overtime because of TCU’s daring but failed two-point conversion.
Big 10: Michigan vs. Michigan State
One of the biggest rivalries in all of college football saw a shocking finish in 2015, when Michigan State returned a fumbled punt for a TD, and the win. To make the stakes even higher, this win catapulted the team’s confidence to clobber a long stretch of fierce competitors, and eventually earning a spot in the playoffs. Now that Jim Harbaugh has a year’s worth of tenure as the Wolverines head coach, he’s languishing for a change in fate this year.
SEC: Alabama vs. Ole Miss
Yes, Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t be too upset with the Ole Miss loss given how the season concluded, but for the past two years in a row, the Rebels have squashed the Tide’s perfect season contentions. And in 2016, they are hoping three times will be the charm!
ACC: Clemson vs. Florida State
For the past seven years, the winner of this ACC showdown has clinched the conference’s title, and both teams have made championship appearances in recent years. After a close defeat to Alabama in last year’s championship, Clemson is chomping at the bit for another run at the title, but not if Florida State can help it.