Biggest College Football Rivalries in 2009
Two of the top college football gurus over at ESPN have released their takes on the biggest rivalries in college football for the 2009 seaon.
Pat Forde has put together his “red-hot rivalries” for 2009, with quite a bit of SEC flavor at the top of the list, including both Tennessee-Florida at No. 2 and Florida-Georgia at No. 3. Here’s what Forde has to say about the September 19 battle in the Swamp between the Vols and Gators:
Why It’s Hot Now: Perhaps you’ve heard of Loudmouth Lane Kiffin? And what the first-year Tennessee coach said about Urban Meyer back on signing day? About how Kiffin was going to turn in the Gators to the NCAA after Meyer “cheated” and still couldn’t beat the Volunteers for a recruit? And how, oops, Kiffin got it wrong and Meyer hadn’t committed a violation after all — a point made swiftly and angrily by both Florida brass and SEC commissioner Mike Slive? Yeah, that’s why. Put it this way: If the loaded and defending national champions can beat the visiting and rebuilding Volunteers 100-0, they will beat them 100-0.
Upper Hand Today: It’s all Florida. Gators have won four straight and 12 of the last 16 — not a small part of the reason why Phil Fulmer is currently out of coaching.
Upper Hand Historically: All-time series is tied at 19, although 10 of Tennessee’s wins came between World War I and the Korean War.
Albert to Smokey: You’re all bark and no bite, little yapping dog.
Smokey to Albert: Don’t you have another player to bail out of jail, Gator?
* Kiffin’s brashness — that’s a more charitable word than “obnoxiousness” — has made the Volunteers a circle-the-date opponent for several other SEC schools beyond Florida. Alabama (Oct. 24 at Tuscaloosa) and South Carolina (Oct. 31 at Knoxville) lead the pack of rivals who will bring a little extra juice to the stadium when they play Tennessee.
Chris Low, the go-to-guy over at ESPN for SEC football, has followed suit by ranking the top SEC rivalries for this year, giving the Gators-Vols matchup the top nod. Here’s what Low had to say on the matchup:
Tennessee at Florida, Sept. 19: Tennessee will probably go into the game as a three-touchdown (or more) underdog, but nothing will be able to touch this one in terms of the circus-like buildup. Urban Meyer revels in running up the score, and Lane Kiffin revels in running his mouth.
What’s everyone’s take on the job they’ve done ranking wise? I think Low nailed it when he put Tennessee-Florida at No. 1, and bringing Tennessee-Alabama (No. 5) into the mix along with Tennessee-South Carolina (No. 10) shows he knows the Vols have a lot to show after stepping on just about everyone’s toes this offseason.