Invariably all college athletics fans debate about which rivalries are the most intense, most hated etc., because they are passionate about their favorite institution. It’s nice to have a team that you love to hate. So here is my listing of the top ten college rivalries:
10. Utah St./Utah/Weber St./BYU- This is the only rivalry that I know of where there are more than just two teams that hate each other. Instead of calling it the Battle for The Beehive Boot, they should just call it the Utah Civil War. I don’t know how much hatred is attached to this rivalry but when you have virtually the whole state going at it, it must be good.
9. Tennessee/Alabama- The Third Saturday in October isn’t quite what it used to be, but man, these schools really dislike each other. Catchy name, but not really all that in recent years...
8. Notre Dame/USC- The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh always seems to be great, though there have been a few blowouts in recent years. I’m not sure how it started, but it sure has been entertaining through the years.
7. Cal/Stanford- Geez, who hasn’t seen the replay with the band marching on the field. John Elway reportedly once said the game ruined his college career, good thing he had a great pro career, even if it was playing for the Denver Donkeys! I read an article once where the ref for the game stated that if the runner had been knocked over by the one of the band members they would have had to decide whether or not to award a touchdown based on college rules at the time. Good thing for his sake he made it in the end zone….
6. Auburn/Alabama- This seems to becoming more and more relevant in recent years. Heck around here we have the Border War, err I mean Showdown. But I can’t recall fans poisoning a part of the other institutions heritage. Maybe this one is getting out of hand.
5. Oklahoma/Nebraska- Granted this one is defunct now with the Huskers moving to the Big 10, but this was a heck of a rivalry. I can remember being a young kid and watching the early eighties match-ups that seemed to always have a national title chance implication hanging in the balance. Beat downs were administered without out any compunction for mercy what so ever!
4. Ohio State/Michigan- The only reason this one doesn’t rank higher is because it is by most laymen’s accounts, a football only rivalry. You just don’t seem to see it spilling into other sports like the top three. Many a great games played here, and many a great quotes from this match up.
3. Harvard/Yale- The football side is simply called “The Game” but any time you match up a bunch of folks with IQ’s as high as the kids have, it is bound to be a hate filled game. Just think about how many kids have played in the rivalry that went on to major movers and shakers in the world.
2. Kansas/Missouri- These teams really, really, really hate each other. I mean they wouldn’t extinguish an opposing teams fan if he was on fire, they’d probably try to find gasoline to toss on them instead. With roots all the way back to the Civil War, these fan bases have mastered the art of loving to hate the opposition. The football rivalry is only split by one win (this years) and the Border War (sorry have to call it what it really is) has often brought about the retention or firing of head coaches, regardless of the teams finishing record. Basketball on the other hand has been pretty lopsided, but there have been some great games none the less. Seriously folks, this rivalry extends to every type of sport/event imaginable. Football, Basketball, Baseball, heck even Debate!
1. Army/Navy- Who can say this isn’t the best rivalry in College Athletics? I mean you have the future leaders of our armed forces battling it out in almost every sport imaginable. Presidents attend this game. Future presidents have played in this rivalry. Men who deserve the utmost respect from our nation lay it all on the line in this one. To top it all off, it is also the classiest rivalry in college. The singing of Alma Matters after the game is probably one of the most moving events you will witness in college sports.