Each week during the season, FootballMatters.org will take a look at the history behind some of the upcoming weekend’s top games.
No. 6 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama, Saturday, October 22, 2016, 2:30pm, CBS
All-time series: Alabama 6-2 over A&M
First Played: 1942
This is a relatively recent rivalry, but it was jump-started when the Aggies entered into the SEC in 2012. Texas A&M shocked the world in that meeting with a win in Tuscaloosa in a game that introduced the world to the phenomenon that would come to be known as “Johnny Football.” The Crimson Tide have won the last three match ups and the Aggies hope to reverse that trend this Saturday. Notable games include:
January 1, 1942 – The Crimson Tide and Aggies first met in the annual Cotton Bowl Classic. The Tide rolled in this opening encounter 29-21 to claim a share of the 1941 National Championship. The Alabama triumvirate of halfback Jimmy Nelson, All-American End Holt Rast, and College Football Hall of Famer Don Whitmire were named the game’s MVPs.
December 1, 1988 – The 1988 tilt between the two squads saw Head Coaches Bill Curry and Jackie Sherrill do battle in a crucial regular season game in College Station. Originally scheduled for early September, the contest was rescheduled that year due to Hurricane Gilbert. The Tide, led by College Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, won this contest 30-10 on the way to a berth in that year’s Sun Bowl.
November 10, 2012 – This was the first game between the two squads since their contest in 1988 and the first since the Aggies bolted the Big 12 for the SEC. In their first-ever trip to Tuscaloosa, the Aggies shocked the college football world by upsetting the then number one ranked Crimson Tide 29-24. Leading the way for Texas A&M was freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, the year’s eventual Heisman Trophy winner.
Eastern Michigan at #20 Western Michigan, Saturday, September 22, 2:30pm, ESPN 3/ASN
All-Time Series: Western Michigan 31-18 over Eastern Michigan Eagles
First Played: 1906
Rivalry games are what college football is all about. While the annual contest between Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan lacks the pizzazz of some long-standing rivalries, an undefeated Western Michigan facing a 5-2 Eastern Michigan makes this season’s game one of the biggest ever. The rivals are two of the three competitors, along with Central Michigan University, for the annual MAC Michigan Trophy. The Broncos have won the last two meetings between the squads. Notable games include:
September 14, 1974 – Expectations were high for the Broncos heading into the 1974 match up between the two schools. This year’s clash would be held at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo and take place in the second week of the season. Head Coach Bill Doolittle’s Western Michigan team suffered a heartbreaking loss to their rivals, then known as the Hurons, losing 20-19.
October 22, 1988 – The Broncos traveled Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti for the first sellout in the history of Eastern Michigan University as over 23,000 fans packed the stands for this game. Head Coach Jim Harkema’s squad took on Al Molde’s Western Michigan bunch. The Broncos, led by quarterback Tony Kimbrough, won the game 31-24 and earned a spot in that year’s annual California Bowl.
October 9, 1999 – Four quarters were not enough football for the rivals in their final game of the 20th century. That year’s contest was again held in Ypsilanti and it was a high-scoring affair that ended up tied 37-37 at the end of the fourth. The Broncos ultimately pulled out the win 40-37 and would go on to win the first of back-to-back MAC Western Conference titles.
Harvard vs Princeton, Saturday, September 22, 1:00pm, ESPN3/Ivy League Digital Network
All-Time Series: Princeton 54-47-7 over Harvard
First Meeting: 1877
For all intents and purposes, college football the way we know it began in the Ivy Leagues. Two of the most successful programs in the conference are the Harvard Crimson and Princeton Tigers. This year’s match up has extra sizzle as both squads come in with identical 4-1 records. Princeton University Stadium, home to this year’s contest, has seen some stellar confrontations in the rivalry. Notable games include:
November 17, 1883 – Princeton has been dominant at many times in this rivalry. Early on, after the current point system was adopted, that was on full display in this contest. One of the highlights of the game happened when the Tigers team captain, Alec Moffat kicked two field goals, one with his left foot and one with his right. Behind his efforts, the Tigers downed the Crimson 26-7.
November 6, 1920 – The 1920 contest between Harvard and Princeton proved to be critical one. Harvard, coming off a national championship in 1919 and led by All-American brothers Arnold Horween and Ralph Horween, were looking to duplicate this feat in 1920. The Crimson were undefeated and welcomed the Tigers to Harvard Stadium that afternoon. The previous season, the game ended in a 10-10 tie with Harvard going on to earn a share of the National Championship. History repeated itself in the 1920 game as it ended in a 14-14 tie and Harvard repeated as National Champions.
September 20, 2008 – The rivalry, which started in the 19th century, has continued to be a highly contested one into the 21st. Streaks rarely extended for either team beyond two games. The Crimson had the chance to do just that when they met again at Princeton Stadium. After winning in 2007, Harvard looked to extend the streak as they met the Tigers. Scoring went back and forth and it appeared whoever held the ball last would be the victor. It would come down to just that with Harvard pulling out the win 24-20.