A special, and unique version of the College Five column for this exceptional weekend.
There is a distinctive taste in the air — a bitter stench that has hung around fan bases, growing in power each week. Every week, the stench of the most hated team on the schedule has grown steadily more pungent, each side salivating as opportunity creeps closer.
It is the product of generations of bad blood, shit talk and ruthless dedication to one side of a two-sided trench. Like two junkyard dogs circling each other before a throw down, college football teams trudge through the season, the prize at the end of the regular season; the chance at ruining the season of a hated rival. Throughout the years, this tailored hate, passion and opportunity, presents itself just once every year. A scarce chance to draw blood against a bitter foe, has helped teams defy the odds and create college football’s best moments. As you enjoy Hate Week, here are some moments from the past to help set the stage for your Saturday.
2017 - UCF Stays Perfect
Plenty of teams stay flawless throughout a season (Alabama has really taken the shine off that accomplishment). But few teams recover from a winless season, even less achieve the turnover of a dud to stud while retaining almost everyone from the period of failure. None have done so in just one season, with over 50 percent of the same roster — none that is, until the UCF Knights beat the South Florida Bulls 49-42 to go 11-0 through the regular season after going 0-11 in 2016.
Not only did the same sorry team that failed to win at all, come full circle to avoid a loss, but they were able to garner such a win against their rival in thrilling fashion, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to slip past USF.
2016 - Ohio State Takes 4th Down
Was that dress blue and black, or white and gold? Was that a first down or a turnover on downs?
Who can say, but what we do know is that the call remained a conversion for quarterback J.T. Barrett and the Ohio State Buckeyes, leading to a double-overtime victory to top the Michigan Wolverines.
Not only did the victory vault the Buckeyes into the College Football Playoff, but it also helped them leapfrog over the Penn State Nittany Lions, the team that won the Big Ten conference title and beat Ohio State earlier that season.
This game stands out in the rivalry history books just as much for the ripple effects following the play as the ones sent out during the game. One questionable call led to another one in seeding, and seemingly no one was happy (not even Buckeyes fans, they lost to Clemson in the playoffs 31-0) .
2014 - Georgia Tech Dances on Georgia
Good ole’ Fashioned Hate is a rivalry that the Georgia Bulldogs have more or less worked for the majority of its existence. The Bulldogs are 66-41-5 all-time against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and 14-3 since 2001.
But in a season when Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas passed for over 1,700 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards while the Yellow Jackets entered 9-2 and were on the road to the No. 9 team in the country, the Yellow Jackets made a rare stand.
Georgia Tech bludgeoned the Bulldogs with 399 on the ground, giving them their first double-digit winning season since 2009 and helped lead to just the third 11 win season since 1952. The Yellow Jackets history has been filled with mediocre for the vast majority of their history, the walk-off touchdown in overtime to beat their in-state rival was an exception.
The dancing from the Yellow Jackets that ensued on Georgia’s G at midfield, simply well deserved.
2013 - Kick Six Over Bama
It was just a long kick. Just a 5’11” corner in the end zone. There was only one second left on the clock. What could happen? Everything.
It was a game that gave the Auburn Tigers life, after getting trounced 42-14 and 49-0 in the previous two seasons by the Alabama Crimson Tide. It was also the second miracle to keep the title hopes alive for the Tigers, with a deep bomb against Georgia getting tipped right to their receiver for a victory. A fantastic game from the Tigers came down to a 100-yard return from Chris Davis with one second left to take victory.
It is also a victory that not only shaped the college landscape but maybe the NFL picture. If Alabama wins, do they win the final BCS title? Does quarterback Jameis Winston go No.1 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without a title? Is Kelvin Benjamin still a highly drafted headache for the Carolina Panthers?
2011 - End of a Texas Rift
The Texas A&M Aggies vs. the Texas Longhorns was a rivalry that reached back to 1894, and had been played annually since 1915, ended on 2011. As the Aggies bid farewell to the Big-12 conference, they also turned their back on one of college football’s richest rivalries.
Ryan Tannehill for the Aggies faced off with Colt McCoy for the Longhorns, in the final meeting of the Lone Star State rivals. The game did not disappoint.
The Aggies trailed the Longhorns 24-19 with 4:12 left in the final quarter, as Tannehill took the field. He drove the Aggies 68 yards, tossing a touchdown to go up 25-24 (the two-point conversion failed), but leaving 1:34 on the clock.
McCoy, undaunted by the moment, led the Longhorns on one final drive against the Aggies, going 48 yards before turning the game over to the leg of one Justin Tucker. Tucker did what he had done so very well before that game, and has done so very well since; he drilled the 40-yard kick to close the rivalry forever and give the Longhorns the 27-25 win.