On the surface, a rivalry between Vanderbilt and Northwestern, two elite private schools who found their way into football-crazy conferences composed primarily of state colleges, makes all the sense in the world.
But, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune, Vanderbilt has backed out of its agreement to play Northwestern in 2013 and 2014. The Wildcats had defeated the Commodores in both ends of a home-and-home series in 2010 and 2012.
Vanderbilt will have to pay a buy-out to get out of the games, but it's reportedly not considered to be prohibitive. Vandy had five games on its non-conference schedule for 2013, including Ohio State and Wake Forest, and the Wildcats became the odd team out.
The decision does create some more breathing room on Northwestern's non-conference schedule, as the Wildcats are still scheduled to play Cal and Syracuse in 2013 and then Cal and Notre Dame in 2014.
Under Pat Fitzgerald and James Franklin, both schools have inched towards respectability in the last few seasons and become competitive in the Big Ten and SEC, respectively.
However, with success comes expectations, and it's very likely that each school will fill the hole in their non-conference schedule with the type of tomato can opponent that will help them ensure bowl eligibility.