This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
Saturdays in the fall, there really isn’t anything much better. You awake in the morning and have nothing to do (well other than that eight-page paper due for your English class next week). So grab a bowl of your favorite cereal, turn on the television and tune into ESPN.
Saturday for ESPN means that it’s College Game Day with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit as the commentators. These three announcers, along with other countless announcers for other broadcasting teams, often bring to life the most exciting and most intense college games. Since the college football season started two weeks ago, I decided to compile a list of the top 10 college football rivalries of all time.
Oregon vs. Oregon State
This rivalry, also known as the Civil War is the seventh oldest rivalry in college football history. This rivalry puts interstate rivals against each other. From 1959 to 1961 the Ducks and the Beavers fought for a trophy known as the platypus trophy. Unfortunately the trophy was lost until 2005. The trophy made its debut again at the 2007 game in which Oregon State won 38-31. As of the 2007 game, the Civil War has been played 111 times. The Oregon Ducks lead the series 55 to 46.
Cal vs. Stanford
This rivalry is the 10th oldest rivalry in the nation and is known as the Big Game. It is probably best known for “The Play” in which four Cal players latteraled the football five times to score the winning touchdown. What makes the legend of “The Play” even better is that Stanford’s band, thinking they won the game, came on to the field early, and had to celebrate the loss of their team. Stanford leads the series 55-44, and won the 2007 game.
Utah vs. BYU
Known as the Holy War, it is anything but holy. This bitter in-state rivalry has lead fans between both colleges to argue about anything ranging from academics to who has better looking co-eds. The trophy is the Beehive Boot, which is given to the team which shows the most dominance in football during the season. The Holy War was started in 1922 and the University of Utah leads the series all time 53-32. BYU won the 2007 game with a last second touchdown.
Missouri vs. Kansas
The second oldest rivalry in college football belongs to Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers. The Border Showdown (formally known as the Border War) was first played on October 31, 1981. The team’s fight for the Indian War Drum as the trophy. In this rivalry there have been 116 games played with Missouri leading the series all time 54-53 with nine games ending in ties.
Florida vs. Florida State
Known as the “Sunshine Showdown” or the “Governor’s Cup” depending on who you ask, pits out of conference but bitter in-state rivals against each other. Although there is no trophy to fight for, both teams usually come into the game highly ranked and often times there are bowl implications on the line, adding to the already very heated rivalry. Florida leads the series 31-19.
USC vs. Notre Dame
One of the most watched rivalry games every year leads us to the number-five spot on the countdown. The Trojans go against the Fighting Irish every season to win the Jeweled Shillelagh. Although these two teams don’t have the typical reasons for a rivalry such as regional bragging rights USC fans consider Notre Dame their greatest gridiron rivals. This series has produced more national champs, Heisman winners, All-Americans, and NFL Hall of Famers than any other rivalry. Notre Dame leads the all-time series 42-32 but have not won since 2001.
Number 4: Army vs. Navy
One of the most traditional games of all college football belongs to these two military schools located at West Point and Annapolis. Both teams have lost national championships and recruits due to their education policy and military commitment but it still remains televised because of tradition. The rivalry between these two teams is based off of the Commander in Chief’s trophy. The U.S. Air Force Academy is also featured in the hunt for this trophy but because the rivalry started with Army and Navy that is who it tends to focus on. Navy won the last contest in 2007 and leads the rivalry 50-49.
Number 3: Alabama vs. Auburn
Known prominently as the Iron Bowl because of Birmingham’s prominence as a steel and iron producing city, this rivalry pits fans against each other in the state of Alabama. For the very first part of the rivalry, the decision was that the games would be played at Legion Stadium, the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide because of its size. During the 1980s, Auburn made additions to Jordan-Hare Stadium and in 1989, the first game was played outside of Legion Stadium. For winning the game, the winner receives the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship award, after the trophy presentation the SGA President of the losing school has to recite his/her opponent’s fight song.
Number 2: Texas vs. Oklahoma
The Red River Shootout is not only one of the greatest football rivalries but one of the greatest sport’s rivalries of all time. Known as the Red River Shootout because of the Red River that makes up part of the Oklahoma-Texas boarder. This rivalry often has conference implications with four of the last eight winners appearing in BCS games. This rivalry originated in 1900 when Oklahoma was still a U.S. Territory. Texas leads the series 57-40.
Finally, drum roll please …
Number 1: Michigan vs. Ohio State
No trophy to fight for, but these two teams don’t need one to make this rivalry any less intense than it already is. This game usually determines who wins the Big 10 Conference and also who will be going to the Rose Bowl. In 2000, ESPN ranked this rivalry as the greatest sports rivalry of all time. Michigan leads the series 57-41. The rivalry alternates where it is played every year whether at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., or at Ohio Stadium located in Columbus, Ohio.
There you have it, my top ten greatest college football rivalries of all time. Just remember that if you think I have missed a great rivalry or that one should be replaced then let me know with an e-mail. But up until that time it’s like Lee Corso always says “That’s it sweetheart.”