New college football rivalries that could spark from conference realignment

Texas v Alabama
Texas v Alabama / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Rivalries are one of the backbones of college football and, with that, one of the perks of conference realignment is that it will rekindle a handful of old ones that have been absent for over a decade. While the sport is losing a few traditional rivalries, the realignment shuffle will spark a renewal of some of the classic ones, such as Texas vs. Texas A&M.

But I’m here to talk about a few potential new rivalries that can form as a result of conference realignment.

So, without further ado, here are four new college football conference matchups resulting from realignment that have the potential to put rivalries into existence and stir up some hatred on Saturdays in the future.

1. Texas vs. Tennessee

This potential rivalry heavily revolves around one certain individual: Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel. A former decorated college quarterback, Heupel played at Oklahoma -- Texas' arch rival -- from 1999-2000 and was a Heisman runner-up as a senior.

Texas and Tennessee also both have two extremely loyal fanbases who have unprecedented passion and a tendency to get chippy too. Plus, it will be the battle of the real “UT". 

2. Oklahoma vs. Arkansas

Geographic proximity has a lot to do with rivalries and these two programs fit the mold of emerging as one. Fayetteville, Ark., is just 243 miles northeast of Norman, Okla., and the Razorbacks are currently the closest SEC school to Oklahoma in terms of traveling distance.

With that, both Arkansas and Oklahoma have been battling for recruits over the past century, specifically in the Sooner State. Additionally, Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman is an Oklahoma native and had a brief stint as an offensive line coach for the Sooners in the late 1990s.

While it’s a matchup that will take quite some time to evolve as neither program is slated to play each other in 2024 or 2025, the SEC could see a new rivalry between Arkansas and Oklahoma down the road.

3. Ohio State vs. Oregon

I truly believe that 2024 will be the dawn of a new top-notch rivalry in college football between these two schools.

First off, Oregon and Ohio State are the current preseason Big Ten frontrunners and are destined to be College Football Playoff teams this season (they could meet 2-3 times this year).

Secondly, both programs have already seen each other three times since 2009 -- most notably in the 2014-15 national title game, where Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes ran away from the Ducks in a 42-20 route to hoist the first-ever CFP trophy. Flash forward six years later and Oregon knocked off the Buckeyes 35-28 in Columbus in 2021.

Thirdly, the Ducks and the Buckeyes have been in a recruiting battle in recent years, especially in 2024. Ohio State's hiring of former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator this offseason puts the icing on the cake. Many experts are already eyeing the two schools’ mid-October matchup as the “game of the year” as well to further add to the drama. That’s the perfect recipe for the birth of a new rivalry.

4. Texas vs. Alabama

The foundation of these two blue-blooded programs is all about brand power and tradition. The 2022 and 2023 matchups delivered in big ways and had heavy playoff implications attached to them, so it’s safe to say that this rivalry is already here.

The fact that both Texas and Alabama are already near the top of the food chain in the SEC and are set to battle it out in the foreseeable future makes it even sweeter.

Of course, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was an assistant in Tuscaloosa for three seasons, so the former ties are already there, too.

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