Big Brother-Little Brother College Football Matchups in 2016

By Amy Daughters -

Sibling rivalries are ugly.

It’s true whether it is people growing up in the same house or football teams hailing from the same state.

The bonds of a shared address are woven with jealousy, fear, redemption and yes, somewhere in there, love. Throw in tens of thousands of passionate fans and it gets even better.

To the younger brother there is nothing better, and I mean nothing, than knocking off the cocky, condescending big brother. And to the older party, there is nothing worse, absolutely nothing, than actually losing to that pesky, upstart little sibling.

Take a look at the 16 big brother-little brother matchups in 2016. Each features a Power 5 team and a non-Power FBS team from the same state. They’re ranked from the most-likely to the least-likely, historically speaking, that the smaller school can pull-off an upset.

What’s not included are games pitting FBS teams vs. FCS teams from the same state (i.e. Arizona State vs. Northern Arizona), or non-Power teams vs. fellow non-Power teams in the same state (i.e. Cincinnati vs. Miami OH).

16. IndianaBall State

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 4:00pm ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
All-Time Series Leader: Indiana, 4-3-0 (57.1%)
Last-Five: Ball State, 3-2 (60%)

Indiana is one of only three big brothers listed who have a losing record vs. its 2016 little-brother in their last five meetings.

The Hoosiers have lost three straight to Ball State (2012, 2011 and 2008), last winning in 2007 in Bloomington.

15. NC State at East Carolina

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, Noon ET
Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
All-Time Series Leader: NC State, 16-12-0 (57.1%)
Last-Five: East Carolina, 3-2 (60%)

Not only has NC State dropped two straight to ECU (in 2013 and 2010), it is 1-3 all-time in Greenville, the only win there coming in 2007.

14. Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 3:00pm CT
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, TN
All-Time Series Leader: Vanderbilt, 13-3-0 (81.2%)
Last-Five: Middle Tennessee, 3-2 (60%)

Despite Vandy’s overwhelming all-time advantage over Middle Tennessee, it dropped three straight to the Blue Raiders from 2001-05.

The Commodores are 1-3 vs. MTSU when both schools were classified in the FBS, the only win coming last season, a 17-13 victory in Murfreesboro.

13. Cal at San Diego State

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 7:30pm PT
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
All-Time Series Leader: California, 4-3-0 (57.1%)
Last-Five: California, 3-2 (60%)

Cal is the first big brother on our list to have a winning record vs. its smaller counterpart in their last five meetings.

The Golden Bears have won two straight vs. the Aztecs, but have never beaten them in San Diego where they’re 0-3 all-time. The two haven’t clashed there since 1995.

12. ColoradoColorado State

When: Friday, Sept. 2, 6:00pm MT
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
All-Time Series Leader: Colorado, 58-22-2 (72%)
Last-Five: Colorado, 3-2 (60%)

Colorado-Colorado State is the only annual fixture on our list, the two schools squaring off 82 total times and consecutively since 1995.

The Buffs have managed to win three of the last five and six of the last 10, but haven’t won two straight over the Rams since 2010-11.

11. Florida State at USF

When: Saturday, Sept. 24
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
All-Time Series Leader: Florida State, 2-1-0 (66.7%)
Last-Five: Florida State, 2-1 (66.7%)

USF’s only win vs. Florida State came in 2009 when it traveled to Tallahassee and upset the No. 18 Seminoles 17-7. It was the first time the two schools had ever met on the gridiron.

FSU has won two straight since then by an average of 16.5 points.

10. TCU at SMU

When: Friday, Sept. 23, 7:00pm CT
Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
All-Time Series Leader: TCU, 48-39-7 (54.8%)
Last-Five: TCU, 4-1 (80%)

No two teams have met more times on our list than TCU and SMU, clashing 94 times since 1915. Though 80% of these games were played before the Southwest Conference disbanded in 1996, the two schools have met 19 times since, keeping the cross-town rivalry current.

The Horned Frogs haven’t dropped a game to the Mustangs since 2011, one of only two losses in the last 10 meetings. The other came in 2005, also TCU’s most recent defeat at SMU.

9. UTSA at Texas A&M

When: Saturday, Nov. 19
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, TX
All-Time Series: 0-0-0 (0%)

The Aggies and Roadrunners are the only big brother-little brother in 2016 to have never met previously in football.

The matchup lands at No. 9 based on Texas A&M’s 82-27-3 (74.5%) all-time record vs. the current members of Conference USA. Each of the 27 total losses came to old-Southwest Conference foe Rice, who the Aggies haven’t fallen to since 1980. They’ve won 17 straight over the Owls since.

8. SMU at Baylor

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2:30pm CT
Where: McLane Stadium, Waco, TX
All-Series Leader: Baylor, 38-36-7 (51.2%)
Last-Five: Baylor, 5-0 (100%)

The first of Baylor’s two little-brother match-ups in 2016, the Bears have beaten SMU 12 straight times.

The most recent loss came in 1986, a 27-21 defeat in Waco. SMU posted a 6-5 that year, the last winning record it would enjoy until 1997 when it would resurface in the WAC at 6-5.

7. Baylor at Rice

When: Friday, Sept. 16, 7:00pm CT
Where: Rice Stadium, Houston, TX
All-Time Series Leader: Baylor, 48-30-2 (61.3%)
Last-Five: Baylor, 5-0 (100%)

Baylor has won seven straight games over Rice, last losing in 1992 in Houston. The two schools have met four times since the Southwest Conference shut down in 1996, the Bears winning the last two (in 2015 and 2011) by an average of 39 points.

6. Penn StateTemple

When: Saturday, Sept. 17, Noon ET
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
All-Time Series Leader: Penn State, 39-4-1 (89.8%)
Last-Five: Penn State, 4-1 (80%)

Penn State’s loss at Temple last season was the first since 1941, the Nittany Lions scoring a 38-0-1 run vs. the Owls since then.

The Nittany Lions are 24-0-1 vs. Temple in Happy Valley, the tie a 7-7 draw in 1950.

5. Boston College at UMass

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, Noon ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
All-Time Series Leader: Boston College, 19-4-0 (82.6%)
Last-Five: Boston College, 5-0 (100%)

Boston College has won eight straight vs. the Minutemen and 13 of the last 14. The last loss came in 1978, a 27-0 blowout at UMass.

The two schools have only played once, in 2014, since UMass moved back into the FBS ranks. Beginning in 1901, BC-UMass is also the oldest series on our list.

4. Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech

When: Saturday, Oct. 15
Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
All-Time Series Leader: Georgia Tech, 1-0-0 (100%)
Last-Five: Georgia Tech, 1-0 (100%)

Georgia Tech is the first of four big brothers in 2016 who have never lost to their younger sibling. It lands here at No. 4 because the Yellow Jackets have only played Georgia Southern once.

Tech is also perfect vs. the Sun Belt, holding a 3-0 all-time record vs. its current membership.

3. Florida Atlantic at Miami (FL)

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 6:00pm ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
All-Time Series Leader: Miami (Fla.), 2-0-0 (100%)
Last-Five: Miami (Fla.), 2-0 (100%)

Miami’s outscored FAU by an average of 26 points in its only-ever two meetings (in 2013 and 2015). It’s only-ever loss to an in-state non-Power team came in 2010 when the Hurricanes fell to USF 23-20.

T1. UTEP at Texas

When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 6:00pm CT
Where: Darrell K. Royal – TX Memorial Stadium, Austin, TX
All-Time Series Leader: Texas, 4-0 (100%)
Last-Five: Texas, 4-0 (100%)

Tied for the most likely win vs. a little brother, Texas has won four straight vs. UTEP in a series that stretches back to 1930. It’s most recent win was a 64-7 blow-out in 2009 in Austin.

T1. Bowling Green at Ohio State

When: Saturday, Sept. 3, Noon ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
All-Time Series Leader: Ohio State, 4-0 (100%)
Last-Five: Ohio State, 4-0 (100%)

Tied with the Longhorns at the top is Ohio State, which has never lost to Bowling Green and is 32-1-0 all-time vs. the current MAC. The only such loss came all the way back in 1894, when the Buckeyes fell to Akron.

Ohio State and Bowling Green’s short series didn’t kick off until 1992 and was last played in 2006.

Historical data courtesy of Stassen.com.

  1. Day
    August 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

    This is a cute article, I would’ve kept out A&M vs UTSA since this is their 1st ever meeting.

  2. Hail Southern!
    August 9, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    If you watched the 2014 Georgia Southern @ Georgia Tech game or better yet, if you attended the game, then you would know the ACC referees took the game out of the players hands with a terrible reversal of an ON THE FIELD call (requires indisputable evidence…it’s still being disputed). Georgia Southern was the better team that day and still has the more dynamic roster. Thank you Paul Johnson and the Tech AD for not being scared (UGAg) and rescheduling the Eagles…GS won’t leave it in question this go around. It would be great for the state if GS and Tech continued to schedule a game (maybe a H&H once Paulson Stadium is expanded to 30k) every other year. Athletically, as of late, the two schools are closer to peers than big brother-little brother.

    • Kevin Kelley
      August 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Georgia has played Georgia Southern six times since 1992, Georgia Tech only once. I don’t think Georgia is scared of GS.

    • Hail Southern!
      August 10, 2016 at 5:09 pm

      Interesting that 5 of those 6 times were when Georgia Southern had 63 scholarships. The 6th game was a carry over from GS’s FCS days and Georgia elected to move the game from 2016 to 2015 probably because they didn’t want an additional year of FBS recruiting for GS. Georgia was gifted that win last year and every dawg fan knows it. For both parties, it is understood that Georgia no longer wants any part in scheduling GS and frankly that’s fine by me.

    • Atlanta_Mafia
      August 11, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Don’t worry Kevin Kelly, that’s just GS non-sense talk. They told GSU that they’d never beat GS – but in the just the second meeting (last year) GSU gave them their worst defeat in the history of Paulson High School County Stadium, The glory days of GS are behind them. The newsflash to GS is that they are the #4 team in the state of Georgia and they think that they are #1.

    • William Satterwhite
      August 11, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Georgia Tech got up big in that game and then let up and allowed Georgia Southern back in, the Eagles were far from the better team that day.

    • H
      August 11, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      Georgia Southern’s coach was on his way out and focused on a million dollar salary…way to go. How’d that bowl game work out for the mighty Panthers? Let’s compare some numbers for a minute…17-53 (129th in FBS) vs. 375-200-10 (14th in FBS)…0 D1 National Championships vs. 6 D1 National Championships (most all-time)…0 D1 Conference Titles vs. 11 D1 Conference Titles. WHEW! I can certainly understand why a Panther fan (those exist?) would cling like hell to that win against Georgia Southern! Run along now, let us men get back to it.

    • Atlanta_Mafia
      August 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      GS has never beat UGA – GS has never beat GT – GS is 50/50 against GSU.
      So your excuse is that GS got pounded at home by GSU cause your coach was dreaming about a real job? Really? That’s all it took for the mighty Beagles to lose at home? A coach’s daydream? All that tripe that GS spews about GSU and you got pounded in just the second effing year by a five year old football team? Fact is that Richt got fired because he almost lost to GS so that should tell you about how little respect there is for the GS product. So maybe GS needs to realize that they may start to fall behind KSU or Mercer. You guys have such an incredible false sense of entitlement from all those Pee-Wee league trophies. Probably ought to go on back to FCS Pee-Wee league! How about that Capt GAyTAy?

    • Hail Southern!
      August 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      The Real GSU has played UGA and GT once with equal scholarships. Do you understand that having 22 less scholarships is a disadvantage? Once the playing field was made even, the Real GSU lost by a combined 10 points in their first outings with 85 scholarships. Again, I appreciate GT rescheduling the Real GSU unlike UGAg (I bet you’re a UGAg fan before a GAy St fan). Do you understand that when a head coach does not prep their team for a game that the team is unprepared? Big concepts here. Do you have any facts or just opinions? Richt was on the hot seat at the start of that season and the season before that…try to keep up. The fact that you recognize KSU and Mercer says a lot about where you view GAy St. Pee-Wee trophies…you’re talking about Division 1 National Championships. Do you understand that prior to the College Football Playoff, the FCS Playoff was the highest form of a college football playoff in existence? Oh but computers picking two teams worked out every time. The Real GSU should go back to FCS? You mean the Real GSU with the 18-7 FBS record (.720)? How about GAy St with the 7-30 FBS record (.189). This is too easy man, c’mon. (A) Why would GAy St field a football team and (B) why would ANYONE be a fan???? LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!

    • stoopnagle
      August 26, 2016 at 4:03 pm

      Southern has never beaten Georgia and never will.

    • Atlanta_Mafia
      November 19, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      The “REAL” GSU just beat the GaSo clown big talkers AGAIN! GAyTAy!!!
      So GaSo now has a LOSING record against GSU along with
      never beating UGA and GT! So just go STFU !!!!!!!!!!

  3. Matt Rigby
    August 9, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    what about the Brigham Young-Utah State game or the Notre Dame-Navy game?

    • David
      August 9, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Neither BYU nor USU are a Power 5. And Notre Dame and Navy aren’t in the same state.

    • Adam
      August 10, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Matt probably meant to say the BYU-Utah game. Utah is a P5, but BYU is not. The summary would read something like this:

      Utah-Brigham Young

      When: Saturday, Sept. 10, 5:30pm MT
      Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT
      All-Time Series Leader: Utah, 58-34-4 (62.5%)
      Last-Five: Utah, 5-0 (100%)

      Utah has dominated its little brother, BYU, over the last 13 meetings (10-3, 77%). And they will certainly do so again this fall.

    • Bill
      August 10, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      how would BYU qualify as a “Big” brother?

    • C
      August 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Bill, Utah would be the big brother

    • Mark S
      August 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Someone asked that on Twitter, FBSchedules replied “BYU generally considered P5 so not included.”

    • Matt
      August 11, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      BYU fits the P5 requirement for scheduling for most if not all conferences. The SEC looks at BYU as a P5…last time I checked the SEC is the premier program in College Football.

  4. Bill
    August 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    good article ….but i would say Georgia Southern has a much better chance of beating Georgia Tech than many of the games you have ranked as more likely. I don’t think very many people would be surprised is Georgia Southern wins that game.

  5. KF Baxter
    August 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Utah had to be invited to a conference to be considered P5. BYU did it on their own.

    • Wade
      August 12, 2016 at 7:54 am

      BYU is considered by some to be a P5 “for scheduling purposes.” But we’re not actually a P5, since we don’t belong to a P5 conference. That’s why it’s so important for us to get into the Big XII…the fate and viability of our football program rests on it. If we don’t get in and become an actual P5, our future looks no better than that of New Mexico State.

    • Buzz Waldron
      September 8, 2016 at 1:49 pm

      By that thinking, Toledo would also be considered a Power 5 Power Team, since it can beat 1/2 or more of teams from Power 5 Conferences…

  6. zerome4sooners
    August 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Little brother = going on every web site possible to talk about how Utah should really be a big brother

  7. Sean
    August 15, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    I think ECU is NC State’s big brother when it comes to football.

  8. scotta@genesyspackaging.com
    August 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    What about Penn State vs Pitt this year?

  9. Craig
    August 23, 2016 at 1:11 am

    I don’t think many Ohio State fans see any MAC schools as “little brother.” The only school that would make sense to have that designation would be U of Cincinnati.

  10. Charles Dean
    November 10, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Where is Alabama-Auburn? Auburn is the ultimate “Little Brother” who lives to beat Big Brother, Alabama. Alabama lives to win national championships; Auburn lives to beat Alabama.

    • Day
      November 21, 2016 at 8:27 am

      When they say little brother, I think they actually mean LITTLE BROTHER! Auburn is not a little brother to Bama, same conference, same league, Auburn has done their fair share of butt whooping on Bama in the past. If that was the case then the article would have Michigan vs Michigan St.

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