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#Nuggets: The biggest game ever played in the state of Iowa headlines a mini-rivalry week

The CyHawk game headlines a weekend full of reunions, rivalries, remembrances and the rematch of the best/worst game ever played.

Iowa and Iowa State first met in 1894. They've played 66 times since. Never have they met while both ranked in the AP Top 25, and never have they been ranked in the AP Top 10 at the same time.

Both happen this week.

No. 10 Iowa visits No. 9 Iowa State for the biggest game in Jack Trice Stadium history and the state of Iowa's biggest sporting event since Shoeless Joe Jackson came back from the dead in Field of Dreams

GameDay will be there, skipping big games in Columbus and Ann Arbor to take in the spectacle.

Iowa has quietly been one of college football's most dominant teams since the beginning of last season, winning seven in a row by 23 points a game -- all against Big Ten opponents. The Hawkeyes are surrendering 13 points a game during this streak, and Saturday's 34-6 dump trucking of Indiana included two pick sixes. Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix, Jr., averaged just five yards on his 31 attempts, and IU mustered just 2.5 yards per carry.

No slouches of their own, Iowa State's defense picked Northern Iowa's Will McElvain twice and limited the Panthers to 1.7 a carry in last week's 16-10 win.

Needless to say, this is a massive, massive game for Matt Campbell. He's beaten Oklahoma and Texas twice. He won the program's first New Year's Six bowl. He's 7-1 in his last eight games, the only setback coming in overtime in the Big 12 championship.

But he's never beaten Iowa -- an even 0-5. The first two meetings were blowouts, while Campbell was still assembling his program. The last three have been close: 44-41 in 2017, 13-3 in 2018, and 18-17 in 2019. Saturday's game (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC) will likely be close as well; the first to 20 will almost certainly win, if anyone gets there at all.

Neither of these teams are likely to go undefeated in conference play, which means any College Football Playoff dreams realistically require a victory on Saturday. 

But set the national championship chase aside for a moment. This is bigger than that. This is for eternal bragging rights, to say your side won the biggest CyHawk game ever played.

Iowa-Iowa State isn't the only rivalry game going down Saturday. In fact, this is a mini Rivalry Week.

No. 15 Texas at Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, ESPN): These former rivals will see their blood feud resumed on a regular basis soon, but in the meantime we get this beef and pork plate to hold us over. This is UT's first trip to Fayetteville since 2004, and just its second since 1989. 

That 2004 game saw a Texas team that would go on to win the Rose Bowl and finish No. 4 in the country struggle to put away a Hogs team that would finish 5-6, escaping with a 22-20 win. Now Steve Sarkisian and co. get to make their road debut in that environment.

Also, does it get any more American than a college football game between the Cows and the Pigs?

No. 21 Utah at BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Utah has won nine straight Holy Wars, although seven of those nine were decided by eight points or less. Kilani Sitake's team has won 12 of its last 13 games overall, and this game marks the second of five against Pac-12 opponents for the Cougars. 

North Texas at SMU (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+): You might think SMU would thumb its nose at lowly North Texas, considering the Mustangs own a 33-6-1 edge in the series, they won the last two games by 30+, and their campus sits in Dallas while UNT is in an outlying suburb.

You would be wrong.

North Texas makes no secret of hiding its disdain for SMU, but SMU directs some of its rivalry disdain one might think is entirely devoted to TCU for the Mean Green. It's very much a big-brother, little-brother thing. For one, the Mustangs will debut their new blue "Dallas" jerseys.

SMU blue jersey

SMU's claim as Dallas' team doesn't stop at the city line. They want the entire Metroplex.

The player in this graphic, senior linebacker Delano Robinson, hails from... Denton. Robinson was also featured in an SMU billboard not far from UNT's Apogee Stadium.

These schools share more in common than proximity. Hayden Fry coached at SMU from 1962-72, then at North Texas from 1973-78. His '77 team stands as the best in school history, going 10-1, finishing No. 16 in the coaches' poll and scoring a 24-13 victory over his former employer. 

Houston at Rice (6:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network): The Cougars and Owls play for the Bayou Bucket for the first time since 2018. Houston has taken five straight and 31 of 42 overall in a series that didn't begin until 1971.

New Mexico State at New Mexico (7 p.m. ET): New Mexico wasn't granted statehood until 1912, but its premier state institutions played six times before then. UNM holds a 72-33-5 edge and has won two straight. 

Boston College at UMass (3:30 p.m. ET): I'm honestly not sure if either side claims this as a rivalry, but the Battle for Massachusetts sounds cool, doesn't it? Either way, BC leads 22-5-1 all-time. 

Is this the biggest weekend of Pac-12 football ever? Jon Wilner, the dean of Pac-12 media, thinks so. He writes:

Never have past struggles and future opportunity collided with such force.

Never have reputation and cash flow teetered to such an extent.

Never, ever, has success on the field connected so directly with success at the negotiating table.

No. 12 Oregon goes to No. 3 Ohio State for the Big Noon Kickoff game, where the entire conference's 4-year Playoff drought may just depend on the Ducks leaving the Horseshoe with a victory. No team has ever gone a perfect 10-0 in league play since the Pac-12 became the Pac-12 in 2011, and it would be unrealistic to expect these Ducks to do what 108 teams before them could not.

And so if we can assume Oregon will stumble at one point during conference play, what are their odds of reaching the Playoff with two losses and no marquee non-conference victory? 

In ABC's primetime window, Washington heads to Michigan, looking for a palate cleanser after dropping their first game to Montana in a full century. 

With a victory, Husky Nation can credibly write the Montana loss off to opening week cobwebs. Lose, and a season that began with promise now begins 0-2, and the Jimmy Lake era will be an unsatisfactory 3-3. 

And wait, there's more! Colorado heads to Denver for a neutral-site home game with No. 5 Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox). The Buffaloes are 17-point underdogs and they haven't beaten an AP Top 5 team since Sept. 29, 2007, so it's a bit much to expect a win here.

But a victory would provide a sterling follow-up to UCLA's upset of LSU and either buttress or offset the results in Columbus or Ann Arbor elsewhere in the day. 

Come midnight Saturday, the Pac-12 could be in the thick of the Playoff hunt or resting all their hopes on the Los Angeles schools.

A very special Saturday in Annapolis. Saturday is Sept. 11, 2021, which makes it the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Expect to see plenty of tributes and remembrances across the country in all walks of life throughout the weekend (the Yankees and Mets play in Queens, which is why Fox doesn't have a primetime college football game this week), but no tributes in college football will be more somber than the one at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, where Navy hosts Air Force at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

Both sides will wear special uniforms. Here's Navy:

Navy uniform

And Air Force:

Air Force uniform

Not to be forgotten, Army hosts Western Kentucky at 11:30 a.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. 

Air Force-Navy also begins the 2021 Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series. Army won last season, the Black Knights' third in the last four years after an 11-season drought. Air Force hasn't won the Trophy since 2016. 

Trap Game Warning for two blue-bloods. No. 2 Georgia returns to Athens after an emotional, taxing win over Clemson to face defending Conference USA champion UAB (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2), and No. 11 Penn State is back in State College after a hard-fought win at Wisconsin to face defending MAC champ Ball State (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

"I do believe in trap games if you are sending mixed messages and if you are inconsistent in your approach," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "It's subtle things. It can be little, subtle things that you say in a press conference that your fans and players pick up on, or your staff picks up on."

Rapid Fire: 

-- Pitt at Tennessee (noon ET, ESPN): The Panthers and Vols will play in the first Johnny Majors Classic, honoring the coach who led Pitt to the 1976 national title and then left for Tennessee, his alma mater, immediately thereafter. The schools have met just twice previously; Pitt scored revenge over Majors-led Tennessee teams both times.

-- McNeese at LSU (8 p.m. ET, SEC Network+): The Orgeron Bowl, as Ed schemes up a way to stop his son Cody, the Cowboys' quarterback. Our John Brice has more.

-- No. 13 Florida at South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC): Florida will almost certainly roll a USF team that opened with a 45-0 loss to NC State, but the fact that the game is happening is noteworthy on its own. This is the first time Florida's flagship school has paid a visit to any of the Florida Alphabet (USF, UCF, FIU or FAU). 

-- Kansas at No. 17 Coastal Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2): KU has actually started 1-0 more often than not throughout their Decade of Despair. The last time they began 2-0? 2011.

-- Toledo at No. 8 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. ET, Peacock): Plenty of college football games have aired exclusively on streaming platforms, but it becomes a Big Deal when Notre Dame does it. This is Toledo's first time sharing a field with the Golden Domers and continues Notre Dame's newfound love affair with the MAC. After playing all of five games against the conference from 1910 through 2010, the Irish faced Miami (Ohio), Ball State and Bowling Green from 2017-19 and have future games with Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. 

-- Tulsa at Oklahoma State (noon ET, FS1): A win would be Tulsa's first over Oklahoma State since 1998 and its first in Stillwater since 1951.

-- Rutgers at Syracuse (2 p.m. ET, ACC Network): Rutgers last started 2-0 in 2014 and owns a 6-16-1 lifetime record in Syracuse, although the Scarlet Knights have taken two straight over the orange. 

-- Cal at TCU (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU): These teams have met just once previously, in what future historians will one day call the greatest game in college football history -- the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl. On the day after Christmas, the Frogs and Bears blessed us with a symphony: nine interceptions, 15 punts and two touchdowns in a 10-7 overtime TCU win.

South Carolina at East Carolina (noon ET, ESPN2): South Carolina becomes the first SEC team trekking to Greenville since... South Carolina in 1997. In fact, South Carolina's 1997 and '91 trips are the only times the SEC flag has waved at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.