Best Rivalries in College Football

When I was in school in Gainesville, there wasn’t a bigger game than when the Gators played Florida State. Except when we played University of Georgia on neutral territory, aptly nicknamed the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Even in recent years when both the Seminoles and the Bulldogs have been no match for the Gators, those games were still the highlight of the season, if only for the ultimate bragging rights.
I recently came across a poll ranking some of the biggest college football rivalries, and above all others, Michigan and Ohio State were the clear winners. This game attracts national interest because most games have determined the Big Ten Conference title as well as the Rose Bowl match ups, and have also influenced the outcome of the national championship. ESPN ranked this game in 2000 as the greatest North American sports rivalry. Hands down, everyone agrees on the Number 1 spot, but there is a lot of discrepancy on who else should make the list. I did some research, and then asked some sports fan friends their opinions. This is what we came up with.
1. Ohio State vs. Michigan – Ohio State players get a gold charm in the shape of a pair of pants if they win. Since 1913, the two teams have combined for all or part of 70 Big Ten titles and have finished 1-2 in the standings 15 times since 1968.
2. Oklahoma vs. Texas – Known as the “Red River Shootout,” the winning team’s state is said to get “ownership” of the Red River until the next game. Played on a neutral field in Dallas, Texas, exactly halfway between the two campuses – Austin, Texas, and Norman, Oklahoma.
3. Georgia vs. Florida – Known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” Georgia may hold the series lead since they started competing in 1915, but Florida has the upper hand since 1992. It’s played on a neutral site in Jacksonville, Florida.
4. Alabama vs. Auburn – The passion and hatred between these two schools is unlike any other. The teams didn’t play from 1907 to 1948 – apparently after the 1907 game they couldn’t decide which referees to use.
5. Florida State vs. Miami – Since 1987, Florida State has lost out on playing for the national championship five times because of losses to Miami. These two teams have combined for more national titles than any other two rivals in the country.
6. USC vs. Notre Dame – The winner of this game has gone on to win the national title 19 times, plus these two schools have produced 11 Heisman winners.
7. Nebraska vs. Oklahoma – The 1971 game is considered by many as the greatest college football games of all time. Nineteen times during this series, one of these two teams have been ranked number one.
8. Texas vs. Texas A&M – This game has been voted the top college football rivalry in a USA Today online poll.
9. Army vs. Navy – This game most likely has more history and tradition than any other rivalry in the country. It also plays a significant role in determining the recipient of the Commander-In-Chief trophy.
10. Auburn vs. Georgia – Known as the “Oldest Rivalry in the Deep South,” this game first took place in 1892 in Atlanta, which Auburn won 10-0. Their match-up in 1996 was the first ever SEC overtime game.
Honorable mentions:
Clemson vs. South Carolina – Known as the “Battle of the Palmetto State,” and it drew a bit more attention when Steve Spurrier first began with the Gamecocks.
Florida vs. Florida State – Known as the “Battle for the Governor’s Cup” or the “Sunshine Showdown, ” everyone loves this rivalry between the Seminoles, coached by Bobby Bowden who is entering his 34th season this year, and the Gators.
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