One of the best things about college football is the rivalries: Two schools, usually geographically near each other, play once a year for bragging rights that last for the next 364 days.
Family members that attended, or are attending, different schools suddenly become un-familial; friends may go weeks without speaking to each other if there is some controversy to the outcome of the annual rivalry game between alma maters.
However, one thing everyone can agree on is how they'll be watching the game – with Sling TV. Stream live TV starting at $25 a month. Personalize your channel lineup and save. Pick your Extras like Sports, Comedy, Kids, News and more.
College football rivalries are here to stay and tune-in to watch with Sling TV. Here are nine of the best college football rivalries.
9. Harvard vs. Yale
This rivalry goes back to 1875 and considering the two schools combined to win 26 national championships between 1874 and 1927, it may be one of the reasons why rivalries mean so much to the sport. Besides, it is the Ivy League, and everyone knows most of the players will go on too much more important things in their lives. Yet it never takes away any of the tension from The Game itself. These are serious bragging rights.
Fifty years ago, the two teams played to a 29-29 tie in a memorable contest that saw the Crimson score 16 points in the final 42 seconds of the game to earn the draw. That end result snapped a 16-game winning streak for the Bulldogs, and the famous headline “Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29” says it all.
8. Kansas vs. Missouri
There is some special significance to this rivalry, which has been dormant since 2011 due to conference realignment. The Tigers left the Big XII Conference to join the SEC, and the Jayhawks have been reluctant to schedule the game since then. It is too bad, as this geographic rivalry dates back to the mid-nineteenth century and features some very bitter feelings on both sides, thanks to Civil War veterans on each side.
In 2007, the two teams entered the "Border War" ranked in the Top 3, with No. 3 Missouri defeating No. 2 Kansas, 36-28. The Tigers would rise to the No. 1 ranking in both the Associated Press poll and the Bowl Championship Series rankings after the victory.
7. Oregon vs. Oregon State
This matchup first occurred in 1894, so it has some old-time cache to it, despite much of the nation east of the Rockies not knowing a lot about it. Dubbed "The Civil War," this face-off is also the oldest matchup of the classic rivalry between public universities in the same state. The two campuses are separated by around 50 miles in the Willamette Valley, and both schools play in the Pacific-12 Conference’s North Division.
The 2009 matchup was the first time in history where the winner of the Civil War would earn the conference’s automatic bowl bid to the Rose Bowl. The Ducks emerged victorious, 37-33, and the Beavers have not had a chance to get to the Rose Bowl since then.
6. Oklahoma vs. Texas
Dubbed the "The Red River Showdown" after the river that is the border of these two proud states, this rivalry game takes place in the “neutral” city of Dallas, approximately halfway between the two schools’ campuses. Since 1932, the game has been played at the famed Cotton Bowl, adding lore and luster to the rivalry’s consistent prominence in college football. The Red River Showdown takes place annually during the State of Fair of Texas held every October.
Although both teams have won national championships in the twenty-first century, the 1984 game is a particularly memorable one since both teams entered the game ranked in the Top 3 and then slogged their way through the rain to a frustrating 15-15 tie.
5. Alabama vs. Auburn
This rivalry has pushed its way up the list in recent seasons after the two schools passed the national championship back and forth between them from 2009 to 2012. The Crimson Tide have become the team to beat every year in college football, and the cross-state Tigers have often done the trick, putting a smile on everyone’s faces outside of Tuscaloosa. "The Iron Bowl" is one of the most anticipated contests every season now.
While everyone probably remembers the “Kick Six” from 2013’s edition, it is the 1972 matchup that stands out more. Auburn blocked two Alabama punts and returned both for touchdowns late in the game to claim a 17-16 victory in the “Punt, Bama, Punt!” game.
4. Michigan vs. Ohio State
This is another rivalry featuring neighboring states that just do not like each other. As both teams are members of the Big Ten Conference, they have played annually since 1918. On 22 different occasions, the winner of "The Game" also claimed the conference title, which often meant a Rose Bowl berth. The rivalry rose to major prominence in the 1970s, when both teams often played with national championship dreams.
In 2006, the two teams played a remarkable game, with the Buckeyes winning, 42-39, in a matchup featuring the two top-ranked teams in the country. Both squads entered the contest with perfect 11-0 records, but Ohio State held off a second-half Michigan attempt at a comeback to walk away with the win and a berth in the national championship game.
3. California vs. Stanford
This is the oldest college football rivalry in the West, and for that alone, it deserves a spot high on this list. While many of these rivalries above feature somewhat bitter enemies, this is a friendlier rivalry, as the two schools on opposite sides of the San Francisco Bay Area are among the top universities in the country, and most students at each school probably had their choice of which campus to attend. That makes it more “fun” for all.
Perhaps the most famous individual "Big Game" in the history of college football took place in this rivalry in 1982, as the Golden Bears scored the winning touchdown on the final play of the game, lateralling the ball multiple times before scoring amid the Stanford band.
2. Notre Dame vs. USC
This is a unique rivalry for this list in the sense that these two schools are nowhere near each other. It began in the 1920s, and the distance between South Bend, Indiana, and Los Angeles meant train travel for this game, with the Trojans coming to the Midwest in October and the Fighting Irish heading to Southern California in late November in alternating years. As the legend has it, we have Knute Rockne’s wife to thank for this.
The 1974 game always will stand out in this rivalry, after the Irish built a 24-0 lead right before halftime—only to give up 55 points in the next 17 minutes of game time. The Trojans rolled to a 55-24 victory in one of the greatest displays of scoring in history.
1. Army vs. Navy
This is the top rivalry on the list because is the one game every season where every fan in the country is rooting for both teams. It is also traditionally played as the final regular season game of the year, as all the conference title games have been completed. The entire nation watches the young men in this game with admiration and awe, knowing they will go forth to serve the nation selflessly when the final whistle blows, brothers in arms.
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