In college football, a rivalry means more than two teams trying to outscore the other. Rather, a rivalry is the deep-rooted historical ties that bind teams and fans together through the wins, losses, brawls and bowls. It entails taunting, tailgates, pranks, but also the coming together of students, parents, and alumni who go all out in support of their home team. In victory, the winning team earns bragging rights. In defeat, the losing team falls subject to trash talk and mockery. And somewhere in the middle, fists occasionally fly. The emotion, intensity, and spirit that come with the dedication to college football make for some of the greatest rivalries in sports history.
5. Florida State vs. Miami
One of the more recent rivalries, the Seminoles and the Hurricanes didn’t first meet until 1951, but their annual meetings throughout the 1980s grew progressively significant in determining the outcomes of national championships. There has also been a healthy mix of dramatic and humorous spectacles throughout the course of the inner state rivalry. In 1989, University of Miami’s mascot, Sebastian the Ibis attempted to spray water on Florida State’s mascot, Chief Osceola while riding his horse. Both teams have also witnessed devastating losses where on several occasions, the games were decided by missed field goals. Currently, the Hurricanes hold a narrow lead over the ‘Noles at 34-30.
4. Texas vs. Oklahoma
The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners meet each other on the third Saturday of October in what is known as the Red River Showdown. The name originates from the Red River of the South, which divides Texas and Oklahoma. Given the contention throughout history regarding the border, the rivalry between the two Conference teams seems fitting. In 12 of the last 15 years, both the Sooners and the Longhorns have either won the Big 12 or shared the title.
3. Army vs. Navy
Chock-full with tradition and a remarkable patriotic culture, the rivalry between the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy is a sight to behold. The Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen face off in what is known as the Army-Navy game. Each team has gone as far as to appoint students to visit and acquire information about the other. Army is also known for having stolen Navy’s mascot, Billy the Goat, numerous times. Yet when it comes to the actual game, each team demonstrates the discipline and pride of their service academies when both the players and students “March On” the field prior to kickoff.
2. Ohio State vs. Michigan
Though the Buckeyes have maintained an edge in recent years having won 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Wolverines, this rivalry is still one of the most notable. The fans outright detest one another, evidenced by Ohio State’s parodic fight songs, “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan” and “I Hate Michigan.” Fans refer to the two teams’ upcoming annual matchup as “The Game.”
1. Alabama vs. Auburn
The two powerhouse football programs take the top spot on this list due to their unparalleled rosters and sheer animosity for one another. With a feud dating back to 1893, there is no love lost between the two southern teams. Their pedigree and historical roots make for one of the most fiery rivalries in college football. Named for the city of Birmingham’s principal metal industry, the Iron Bowl is home to the annual clash between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers in a battle of pure brawns and determination. Alabama currently leads the series 45-36-1, having won four of their last five meetings.