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August 30, 2006

Top revenge games to watch for in 2006

Believe it or not, the first to utter the proverb "Revenge is a dish best served cold" was not Batman villain Mr. Freeze, but French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in his 18th century novel Dangerous Liaisons.

It's doubtful there will be much French spoken in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 9, but you can bet the Ohio State Buckeyes would love to serve a monster slice of revenge to the host Longhorns that day.

The Texas-Ohio State game last season in Columbus was one of the biggest and best games of 2005. It also ranks near the top of our list for the top 10 revenge games of 2006.

Most of our list is composed of traditional rivalry games, teams that are conference opponents and meet year in and year out.

That's what makes Texas-Ohio State so interesting. It's a two-year blip on the radar screen, a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime home-and-home series between a pair of college football's most storied programs.

The Longhorns and the Buckeyes won't be meeting again anytime soon. But you can bet this meeting will go a long way toward determining the national champion, much like last year's matchup did.

Here are Rivals.com's top 10 revenge games for 2006:

Top 10 Revenge Games for 2006
1. Notre Dame at USC, Nov. 25
What happened last year: The Trojans won 34-31 in the final seconds in South Bend, Ind., when Matt Leinart snuck in from the 1 with the aid of a push from Reggie Bush. Bush finished with 160 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. Brady Quinn led the Irish on an 87-yard drive to take the lead with 2:02 to play, but Leinart guided USC back in front. The big play was a 61-yard pass to Dwayne Jarrett on fourth-and-9 from the Trojans 26.
2. Ohio State at Texas, Sept. 9
What happened last year: Vince Young led the Longhorns on a 72-yard touchdown drive that culminated when Young hit Limas Sweed for a 24-yard score with 2:37 to play. The Texas defense then forced a turnover and sealed a 25-22 victory in Columbus. Young passed for 270 yards and rushed for 76. The Buckeyes had yet to decide on a quarterback, with Troy Smith and Justin Zwick splitting time.
3. West Virginia at Louisville, Nov. 2
What happened last year: The Mountaineers rallied from 17 down in the fourth quarter to force overtime, then won it in the third OT. Freshman running back Steve Slaton rushed for 188 yards and five touchdowns and added a sixth touchdown on a 14-yard reception.
4. LSU at Auburn, Sept. 16
What happened last year: Auburn kicker John Vaughn missed five field goal attempts, including a 49-yarder to win the game at the end of regulation and a 39-yarder to tie the game in the first overtime. LSU prevailed 20-17. Auburn's Kenny Irons rushed for a career-high 218 yards, the most allowed by LSU since Alabama's Shaun Alexander had 291 in 1996.
5. Michigan at Penn State, Oct. 14
What happened last year: The Wolverines led 3-0 at the half. Ho-hum. But a wild second half was capped by Chad Henne hitting Mario Manningham from 10 yards out with no time remaining to lift Michigan to a 27-25 triumph. The Nittany Lions had taken a 25-22 lead with just 53 seconds to play, but Steve Breaston returned the ensuing kick to midfield to set up the Henne-to-Manningham scoring play.
6. Tennessee at Vanderbilt, Nov. 18
What happened last year: The Commodores ended a 22-game losing streak against the Vols and won at Neyland Stadium for the first time since 1975. Since-departed QB Jay Cutler hit Earl Bennett from 5 yards out for the game-winning score with 1:11 to play.
7. Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 7
What happened last year: The Longhorns ended five years of frustration in the Red River Shootout by blasting the Sooners 45-12 en route to an undefeated season and the national championship. Longhorns freshman running back Jamaal Charles had 116 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries, including an 80-yard TD.
8. LSU at Tennessee, Nov. 4
What happened last year: The Tigers led by 21 at home in the second half before LSU transfer Rick Clausen rallied the Vols to a 30-27 overtime upset. Clausen had a touchdown pass and a 1-yard TD sneak.
9. Miami at Georgia Tech
What happened last year: The Yellow Jackets defense rose to the occasion, sacking Kyle Wright seven times and shutting down the Hurricanes for a 14-10 shocker at the Orange Bowl. Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson had six catches for 89 yards.
10. Notre Dame at Michigan State, Sept. 23
What happened last year: The Spartans prevailed 44-41 in overtime at South Bend, with QB Drew Stanton riddling the Irish for 327 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD. MSU players planted a large school flag at midfield after the game, drawing Irish ire.

Click here for more Countdown to Kickoff '06 coverage

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