Let’s take a break from handicapping college football and look back through history at the times the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the AP poll faced off on the gridiron. For those that don’t know the AP Poll was started back in 1936. It’s basically the press’ version of their power rankings, though it’s more bias than others.

It wasn’t until the 8th year of its existence did we get the elusive matchup with the top two teams in the country. In October of 1943, No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan clashed on the field. The Fighting Irish won the contest in convincing fashion 35-12.

That very same year in November, the Irish again played the No. 2 team. This time it was Iowa. A much closer affair, but they managed to win 14-13.

It again happened in 1945, when No. 1 Army faced two different teams ranked No. 2. Like the Irish, the Knights won both contests.

College Football AP Poll (Top 25): History & Results of No. 1 vs No. 2

Each of the first six occurrences with #1 vs. #2 all came during the regular season. It wasn’t until 1963 when No. 1 USC faced No. 2 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl that it came in a bowl game.

It’s a lot different today. Teams don’t schedule out of conference like they use to. It limits the possibilities of it happening, as you essentially now need two teams from the same conference for it two happen.

History supports that. Since 2007, the only time No. 1 faced No. 2 in the regular season was in 2011 with Alabama and LSU. These two SEC West rivals played a 9-6 overtime classic, which the Tigers won. The SEC bias was in full force at that time and these two actually rematched in the BCS title game. It’s the only time the same two teams met as #1 and #2 in the same year.

History also suggest that there’s a good chance the Crimson Tide will be involved. Alabama has participated in 7 of the last 9 meetings.

I know things that happen recently tend to receive more credit, but the two most recent on the list might be two of the best all-time. The two championship games between Alabama and Clemson in 2016 and 2017 were as good as it gets.

We should continue to see a lot of these matchups in the new playoff format. The big question is when will be treated to one of these epic battles during the regular season.

Check out our NCAAF betting odds to see which teams are expected to be ranked in the Top 25 this year.

#1 vs #2 – Look Back at Each Time Top Two Teams Faced Off in NCAAF

DateNo. 1No. 2ScoreRegular Season(RS)/Bowl
Jan. 9, 2017 Alabama Clemson31-35Playoffs
Jan. 11, 2016 Clemson Alabama45-40Playoffs
Jan. 6, 2014 Florida St Auburn 34-31BCS
Jan. 7, 2013 Notre Dame Alabama 14-42BCS
Jan. 9, 2012 LSU Alabama 0-21BCS
Nov. 5, 2011 LSU Alabama 9-6 (OT)RS
Jan. 10, 2011 Auburn Oregon 22-19BCS
Jan. 7, 2010 Alabama Texas 37-21BCS
Dec. 5, 2009 Florida Alabama 13-32SEC Champ
Jan. 8, 2009 Florida Oklahoma 24-14BCS
Dec. 6, 2008 Alabama Florida 20-31SEC Champ
Jan. 7, 2008 Ohio St LSU 24-38BCS
Jan. 8, 2007 Ohio St Florida 14-41BCS
Nov. 18, 2006 Ohio St Michigan 42-39RS
Sept. 9, 2006 Ohio St Texas 24-7RS
Jan. 4, 2006 USC Texas 38-41Rose
Jan. 4, 2005 USC Oklahoma 55-19Orange
Jan. 3, 2003 Miami (FL) Ohio St 24-31 (2OT)Fiesta
Jan. 4, 2000 Florida St Virginia Tech 46-29Sugar
Jan. 4, 1999 Tennessee Florida St 23-16Fiesta
Nov. 30, 1996 Florida Florida St 21-24RS
Jan. 2, 1996 Nebraska Florida 62-24Fiesta
Jan. 1, 1994 Florida St Nebraska 18-16Orange
Nov. 13, 1993 Florida St Notre Dame 24-31RS
Jan. 1, 1993 Miami (FL) Alabama 13-34Sugar
Nov. 16, 1991 Florida St Miami (FL) 16-17RS
Sept. 16, 1989 Notre Dame Michigan 24-19RS
Nov. 26, 1988 Notre Dame USC 27-10RS
Jan. 1, 1988 Oklahoma Miami (FL) 16-20Orange
Nov. 21, 1987 Nebraska Oklahoma 7-17RS
Jan. 2, 1987 Miami (FL) Penn St 10-14Fiesta
Sept. 27, 1986 Oklahoma Miami (FL) 16-28RS
Oct. 19, 1985 Iowa Michigan 12-10RS
Jan. 1, 1983 Georgia Penn St 23-27Sugar
Sept. 26, 1981 USC Oklahoma 38-24RS
Jan. 1, 1979 Penn St Alabama 7-14Sugar
Jan. 1, 1972 Nebraska Alabama 37-6Orange
Nov. 25, 1971 Nebraska Oklahoma 35-31RS
Dec. 6, 1969 Texas Arkansas 15-14RS
Jan. 1, 1969 Ohio St USC 27-16Rose
Sept. 28, 1968 Purdue Notre Dame 37-22RS
Nov. 19, 1966 Notre Dame Michigan State 0-0RS
Jan. 1, 1964 Texas Navy 28-6Cotton
Oct. 12, 1963 Oklahoma Texas 7-28RS
Jan. 1, 1963 USC Wisconsin 42-37Rose
Nov. 9, 1946 Army Notre Dame 0-0RS
Dec. 1, 1945 Army Navy 32-13RS
Nov. 10, 1945 Army Notre Dame 48-0RS
Dec. 2, 1944ArmyNavy23-7RS
Nov. 20, 1943Notre DameIowa14-13RS
Oct. 9, 1943Notre DameMichigan35-12RS