Without the rivalries, College Football just wouldn’t be the same. What would fans have to argue about if they didn’t hate anyone? Internet message boards sure would be lame without rivalries. Sports talk radio shows would have little to discuss. The great rivalries ARE College Football. I’ve been following College Football for many years, have attended many different rivalry games, and have come to the conclusion that these 5 rivalries are, without a doubt, the best College Football rivalries of all-time.
I know what you’re thinking – everyone considers OU vs. Texas one of the Top 3 rivalries. Right. But I’m not “everyone”. I’m not persuaded by the media (ESPN). To me, OU/Texas is a great rivalry. I’m not disputing that. The hatred each these teams and fans have for each other is unreal. And I love the passion of both fan bases. Problem is, the Rid River Shootout has been a brutal game to watch the past decade or so. It’s just not entertaining football from an outsider’s perspective. Lots of turnovers and blowouts. That’s just not my style.
In 2011, Oklahoma won 55-17 (what a thriller!). In 2010, 28-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. In 2009, 16-13 in a game that set football back about 80 years. In 2008, Texas won 45-35 in a turnover fest that saw Oklahoma fail to take a 20+ point halftime lead because of dumb mistakes. You get the point. Since 1997, only 3 times has this game been decided by less than 2 scores. That’s exciting? Maybe to you, but not to me.
4. Florida-Florida State
ACC versus SEC. Panhandle versus Central Florida. If you’ve ever been to a Florida-Florida State game, you know how much this game means to both fan bases. Bragging rights at work and school are on the line when these teams face off. And, unlike the Oklahoma-Texas games, these ones are usually quite entertaining. Some of the best games I have ever witnessed took place in this series. In 1996, Florida State defeated the Gators 24-21 in a game where the Seminoles defense blitzed Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel relentlessly. But the Gators got revenge in the Sugar Bowl by hammering the ‘Noles 52-20 to clinch their first national title.
3. Florida State-Miami
This game has lost its luster a bit over the last few years because neither program has been its usual dominating self. But the number of games in this series over the past 30 years that have determined national titles and major bowl berths is staggering. Unfortunately, for Bobby Bowden and Seminole fans, when average College Football fans think of this series, the first thing that pops in our head is “wide right”.
Is it more or does it seem like someone gets shot every year after this game? Now that’s what a real rivalry is all about! When a fan of the winning team talks smack to a fan of the losing team, all hell breaks loose in this series. The livelihood of the fans is on the line in this game. The state of Alabama is a College Football hotbed. The last 3 national champions have come out of Alabama. I don’t think any rivalry in any sport features two programs and fans that hate each other as much as they do in this rivalry. I respect their passion for their teams, but they do get a little carried away.
And the #1 rivalry in College football is……
OHIO STATE VS. MICHIGAN
It simply doesn’t get any better than this -2 of the winningest college football teams ever.. Two legendary programs that hate each other, yet respect the heck out of each other. Both fan bases, deep down inside, want the other to do well outside of this game. They may not admit it, but Michigan and Ohio State fans want THIS game to be THE game in College Football…every year. And it darn near is. The Rose Bowl has been on the line in this game what seems like every other year. These programs have absolutely dominated the Big-10 for the past 50 years.
This game has seen legendary coaches such as Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler pace the sidelines. It has seen great players such as Charles Woodson, Eddie George, and Archie Griffin wrap up the Heisman Trophy. Ohio State versus Michigan IS College Football.