The first preseason college football poll was released last week, a true first indication that the college football season is quickly approaching. In just four weeks, Saturdays will once again come alive with collegiate competition and time-honored rivalries that millions of fans cherish. In honor of the upcoming season, here are 10 of the best college football rivalries.
10 Best College Football Rivalries:
Its oldest rivalry on the West coast and the eighth-most played in all of college football, affectionately called “The Big Game.” Academics might be more important to both universities, but when it comes to football both are quite bitter toward one another.
White there’s no catchy name or fancy trophy to be won, this is a bitter rivalry between two school that truly hate each other (mainly due to Nick Saban). And the stakes are often extremely high. The schools are two of the most successful programs in the SEC and the divisional match-up is almost always hotly contested.
Ivy League or not, “The Game” is one of college football’s best rivalries for historical significance. To watch the Harvard-Yale game is to go back before flashy uniforms and multi-billion dollar television deals.
7. Clemson-South Carolina
The Palmetto Bowl wouldn’t be a rivalry without both sides intimately hating each other. There is, of course, the historical aspect dating back to tensions rising from the Civil War. Add in the close proximity of the campuses, along with the SEC vs. ACC aspect, and this is one nasty back-and-forth showdown.
This rivalry is so fierce that the two sides can’t even agree when the rivalry began. Florida contends it began in 1915, but Georgia records show it began in 1904. Supposedly the Florida-Georgia game is not longer called the “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” anymore, but I won’t say anything if you don’t.
While this rivalry has been lopsided as of late, it remains one of the best rivalry games due to the fantastic pageantry it provides. Go ahead and try to attend this game without experiencing a surge of patriotism. If the Army paratroopers don’t get to you, the Super Hornets’ flyover will.
4. Notre Dame-USC
Heisman Trophy bids and national title hopes are annually part of the fabric interwoven in the long history of the games between these two historic powerhouses. It’s the greatest intersectional rivalry in all of college football.
Set at the historic Cotton Bowl, the football game inside the stadium is equally matched by the excitement outside of it. The crowd is split down the middle at the 50-yard line, and one side often has had plenty to cheer considering how frequently national-championship hopes and conference titles have been on the line.
2. Michigan-Ohio State
The battle between these Midwestern behemoths has been annual viewing for many college football fans. Much of the lore stems from the battles of the “Ten Year War” between Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes back in the 1970s, but famous games dot the landscape from the beginning to the present.
In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn and Alabama football are a religion. No, it’s not the oldest rivalry, but it’s the most heated in the country given how much it means to Alabama residents and how high tensions run before, during and after the Iron Bowl. The winner from the past seven contests in the series has had a shot at the national title.
1. Auburn-Alabama. In a state with no major professional sports team, Auburn-Alabama football is a religion. No, it’s not the oldest rivalry, but it’s the most heated in the country given how much it means to Alabama residents and how high tensions run before, during and after the Iron Bowl. The winner from the past seven contests in the series has had a shot at the national title.
5 Honorable Mentions. Lafayette-Lehigh, Florida State-Miami, Arizona-Arizona State, Alabama-Tennessee, Oregon-Oregon State.