Ranking college football's biggest rematches in 2024

These rematches will go a long way in how the 2024 college football season unfolds, marked by historic conference realignment and an expanded playoff.
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The 2024 college football season will already be one for the books, marked by historic conference realignment and the expansion of the playoff format from four to 12 teams in the race for the national championship. But last season left some unfinished business for many teams coming into this fall, with some notable rematches on the schedule.

After another active offseason full of head coaching changes and landmark transfers involving some elite on-field talent, these rematches carry more of a punch, some involving traditional rivals, others having some important impact on the postseason, and some directly affecting the College Football Playoff.

Let's get an early look at the most important rematches of the 2024 college football season.

Ranking College Football's Biggest Rematches in 2024

10. Colorado at Nebraska

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This should be a better QB battle than last year's edition: Shedeur Sanders returns for the Buffaloes to lead what should be another dynamic offense to go against a Cornhusker secondary he easily outmaneuvered last time out, but Nebraska gets five-star signal caller Dylan Raiola under center to throw against Colorado's questionable pass defenses.

9. Notre Dame at USC

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USC moves into the Big Ten this season and after running through that gauntlet, close out at home against an Irish team that returns one of college football's best overall defensive units. USC's? Not so great the last two years, but we'll see if new coordinator D'Anton Lynn can repeat his success at UCLA with the Trojans, which picked up some interesting transfer options to increase depth and experience.

8. Ole Miss at LSU

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Last year's matchup included 14 touchdowns and 1,300 yards of offense, and this year both the Rebels and Tigers should be in the SEC title race. The Rebs more so after another strong transfer haul that includes wideout Juice Wells, backs Henry Parrish and Rashad Amos, and defenders like Princely Umanmielen and Walter Nolen. LSU's defense is still a question, and while Garrett Nussmeier steps in at quarterback, the Tigers need to re-stock at wide receiver.

7. Clemson at Florida State

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Florida State took this game at Death Valley in its undefeated ACC title chase a year ago, and though it hosts Clemson this time, it'll be with a new-look roster full of top-flight transfers. This year's game will play a big role in a more open ACC championship picture, and while the Seminoles debut several new contributors, Clemson returns its quarterback and key defensive prospects on the line and especially linebacker Barrett Carter.

6. Georgia at Ole Miss

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Having 12 spots in the playoff certainly helps Ole Miss, though it still needs to win big games like this to earn credits in the Selection Committee's important strength of schedule metric. It gets home-field against a Bulldogs team that is loaded again on both sides but playing a much-tougher slate.

5. Ohio State at Penn State

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Penn State hasn't made the Big Ten title game since 2016, playing third-fiddle to Ohio State and Michigan in the conference pecking order. An expanded playoff helps the Nittany Lions, as does returning experience at quarterback, running back, and they look formidable on the edges and in the secondary defensively. Plus they home-field advantage against another loaded Buckeyes squad.

4. Alabama at LSU

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An expanded playoff means a loss in this game isn't as costly as usual, but it's still a good litmus test for who is the class of the SEC. We'll know more by November whether Kalen DeBoer has maintained the Alabama standard, but he returns quarterback Jalen Milroe and should have an advantage when it comes to skill and depth in the front seven compared to LSU.

3. Texas vs. Oklahoma

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For the first time ever, an SEC logo will be on the field at the Cotton Bowl for the Red River Shootout. That alone raises the stakes in this intense rivalry, in which the Sooners handed Texas their only regular season loss last season. This time, OU is making replacements on the OL and bring in a young quarterback, while the Longhorns return Quinn Ewers and some elite skill talent to test Oklahoma's defensive improvements.

2. Michigan at Ohio State

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A would-be four-game win streak for defending national champion Michigan is on the line in The Game. Sherrone Moore steps in for Jim Harbaugh with big holes to patch up all over the roster, while Ohio State comes in with revenge on its mind and a rich transfer class in tandem with returning skill, in particular in the front seven, tailback, and wide receiver.

1. Georgia at Alabama

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Nick Saban's last victory came as an SEC champion against the Bulldogs, and now his successor gets home-field advantage to prove to the Bama faithful that he deserves the job. And it comes against the odds-on favorite to win the national championship. And it's the SEC opener. Talk about pressure. Georgia is a 5.5 point road favorite over the Tide on the books and is customarily loaded.

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James Parks

JAMES PARKS

James Parks is the founder and publisher of College Football HQ. He previously covered football for 247Sports and CBS Interactive. College Football HQ joined the Sports Illustrated Fannation Network in 2022.