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Three-Point Stance: Rivalry games, Big 12, Georgia

Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with some predictions on rivalry games, the non-QB MVP for every Big 12 team and the Georgia players since 1980 who belong on the Bulldogs' Mount Rushmore.

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1. LOOKAHEAD TO TOP 10 RIVALRY GAMES 

Army defeated Navy 15-0 last season.
Army defeated Navy 15-0 last season. (AP Images)

Earlier this week I talked about the lack of competitive rivalry games on the 2021 football schedule, so I decided to look at the top 10 that I think could be interesting and give a prediction.

1. Army-Navy

The only rivalry that gets an entire weekend to itself, the annual Army-Navy game is arguably the purest form of college football. Navy dominated this rivalry in this century, winning 14 consecutive games from 2002-2015. but Army has taken four of the last five meetings. This year's Army team is a little stronger than Navy, so I'll go with the Black Knights in a close one.

Army 20, Navy 18

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2. Iron Bowl

One of the most storied rivalries in history, the annual game between Alabama and Auburn always draws intrigue, especially because typically one or both of these teams are ranked very highly. Nick Saban is only 9-5 vs. the Tigers, which comes as a surprise, as he's 156-18 against everyone else. Despite losing eight players to the first two rounds of the draft after last season, expect another big victory for the Tide.

Alabama 42, Auburn 13

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3. Michigan vs. Ohio State

Michigan leads this historical matchup, despite the fact that its lost 15 of the last 16 contests. This season looks to be more of the same, with Ohio State entering the season as a top five team again, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh firmly on the hot seat having never beaten the Wolverines' biggest rival during his tenure.

Ohio State 45, Michigan 10

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4. Red River Rivalry

Despite Oklahoma's dominance in the Big 12, every matchup over the past eight seasons has been decided by one score or less. The fact that this game always takes place on a neutral field adds to the mystique of the game, giving us some of the greatest matchups in the history of the sport. While I'm high on the future of Texas with the hiring of Steve Sarkisian, it's still Oklahoma's game to lose this season, so expect another close victory for the Sooners.

Oklahoma 40, Texas 28

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5. Notre Dame vs. USC

The rivalry with the most combined national championships (22 between the two schools) is one of the fiercest non-conference rivalries in the country. While the Trojans dominated this matchup during the Pete Carroll era, but since Brian Kelly got to South Bend the Irish have won seven out of ten matchups. Despite losing Ian Book, Notre Dame looks like the better team this year, and I would expect the Irish to win their fourth straight against the men of Troy.

Notre Dame 27, USC 24

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6. The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

Another great yearly neutral site matchup, there is no love lost between the two dominant powers in the SEC East. Georgia owns the better record in this series at 52-44-2, but Florida has dominated since 1990, going 22-9 versus the Dawgs since Steve Spurrier's first year at the helm for the Gators. UGA is one of the most talented teams in the country this season, and it would be a major upset for Florida to win it this year.

Georgia 32, Florida 20

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7. Miami vs. Florida State

While it's lost a little bit of its luster in recent years, there was a period of time when this was THE game of the year every season. And even though most 'Noles fans hope they never have to hear the words "Wide Right" again in their lives, this matchup has produced some of the greatest games of the past 50 years. Miami definitely has had the upper hand in recent years, winning four consecutive matchups, and that should continue this season as FSU tries to rekindle the magic it had in years past.

Miami 27, Florida State 17

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8. Florida vs. Florida State

Our third consecutive matchup in the Sunshine State, this is another matchup that peaked in the 1990s but still carries a lot of weight with the fan bases. As far as non-conference rivalries go this is right up there, especially as these schools compete for a lot of the same recruits. While both schools are breaking in new QBs this season, I've got Florida winning this one handily, as the Gators have the superior coach and overall talent level on the roster.

Florida 38, Florida State 13

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9. Stanford vs. Cal

Everyone who watches college football knows about the band on the field incident, but what most people don't know is that this rivalry dates back to 1882 and is among the most played games - this year will mark the 115th matchup of these two Pac-12 foes, and it should be a good one. Both teams come in to the season with plenty of questions, but I'll lean toward the Cardinal this season, simply because the game will be played on the Farm.

Stanford 20, Cal 17

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10. Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

The most played rivalry game in the history of college football, with one of the best trophies (Paul Bunyan's Axe), this battle in the upper Midwest usually produces some of the most rugged football we see every season. While the Gophers absolutely dominated this matchup until the early 1990s, since 1995 the Badgers are 23-3 in the battle for the axe, giving them the overall series lead at 62-60-8. This season looks like it should be another Wisconsin victory, but never count out the Gophers in this matchup.

Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 23

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2. NON-QB MVPS IN THE BIG 12 

Bijan Robinson
Bijan Robinson (AP Images)

Let’s continue our look at the top non-QB MVPs in the Power Five with the Big 12.

Baylor - RJ Sneed

No matter who ends up winning the QB battle for the Bears, their top option in the passing game is going to be Sneed, who is far and away the most talented skill position player they have. Dave Aranda has proven that he's a defensive wizard, but Baylor is going to need to get a semblance of an offense if its going to make any noise.

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Iowa State - Breece Hall

A preseason Heisman favorite, Hall is arguably the top back in the country. He's the straw that stirs the drink for the Cyclones, and the team will go as Hall goes this season.

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Kansas - Kyron Johnson

Not a whole lot to choose from here, but Johnson has proven to be a solid edge rusher, despite facing constant double teams. Both the offense and defense are going to undergo huge rebuilds in Lance Leipold's first season, but at least the Jayhawks know they've got a keeper in Johnson.

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Kansas State - Deuce Vaughn

One of the most electric players in all of college football, Vaughn does everything for the Wildcats' offense. Despite his diminutive size, he's one of the most complete backs in the country, and he is equally devastating in the passing and running game.

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Oklahoma - Nik Bonitto

With Ronnie Perkins now on the Patriots roster, Bonitto becomes the undisputed No. 1 pass rusher for the Sooners. We know they'll be able to put up big points, but if they're going to make noise in the playoff, they're going to need to slow down some high-powered attacks.

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Oklahoma State - Malcolm Rodriguez

With a lack of playmakers on the defensive line, Rodirugez will be forced to do a little bit of everything from the linebacker position, including stopping the run, covering opposing TEs and RBs over the middle and even rushing the passer. If the Cowboys are going to slow anyone down, it will be because Rodriguez is a force.

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TCU - TJ Carter

The Memphis transfer has some really big shoes to fill after the Horned Frogs had their top two safeties picked early in the draft this spring. He's got the raw talent to excel in Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 scheme, but he needs to get up to speed quickly to play against the wide-open offenses in the Big 12.

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Texas - Bijan Robinson

He came on strong in the second half of last season, and with new coach Steve Sarkisian now at the helm, expect him to get used a lot like Najee Harris was for the Longhorns.

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Texas Tech - Colin Schooler

The Red Raiders seemingly always have a great offense, but defensively they are definitely lacking, which is why Schooler is such an important player for them. The linchpin of the linebacker unit, he does a great job creating pressure, but he will far too often be pressed into covering up the weaknesses of the rest of the unit.

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West Virginia - Winston Wright

The only proven option at receiver, Wright will be the top target for Jarret Doege, and he will constantly be facing double teams. His ability to get open despite being the focal point for defenses will dictate how well the Mountaineers are able to do offensively this season.

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3. GEORGIA'S PLAYERS WHO BELONG ON BULLDOGS' MT. RUSHMORE 

Herschel Walker dives over a pile of Tennessee defensemen in 1981.
Herschel Walker dives over a pile of Tennessee defensemen in 1981. (AP Images)

RB Herschel Walker - In three seasons, Walker annihilated the record books, rushing for 5,259 yards and 49 TDs while becoming one of the most dominant running backs the college game has ever seen. The three-time SEC Player of the Year and three-time consensus All-American is still widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Words simply cannot do justice to describe how amazing the 1982 Heisman winner was.

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David Pollack - A three-time First-Team All-American and two-time SEC Player of the Year, Pollack was one of the best defensive ends to ever grace the field. He joined Walker as the only three-time All-American in the history of the program, and his 36 career sacks are third in NCAA history. Despite not being the most physically gifted player, his tenacity and motor were unmatched and he regularly terrorized opposing backfields.

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Champ Bailey - Bailey can make a pretty strong argument as the best cornerback in the history of the sport, and during his time at Georgia he not only locked down opposing receivers on a regular basis, but he played receiver as well. In his junior season, he played 957 snaps, serving as the team's No. 1 corner while leading the team in receiving yards and touchdowns as well as returning kicks and the occasional punt. A consensus All-American, he is one of the last true two-way players in the college game.

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Aaron Murray - The SEC's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, Murray was routinely underappreciated as a passer and a leader. As a sophomore and junior, he led the conference in passing touchdowns and eventually finished with 121 TDs, eighth all time in the NCAA. He trails only Tim Tebow in total touchdowns in SEC history, and he has more total yards than anyone else in conference history. Despite not having the national accolades of other Dawgs, his numbers are too good to ignore.

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