Best College Football Rivalries

They are the games that each team and all of their fans look forward to each year and the games where even if the rest of the season is a total bust, you still feel okay about it because the team beat the rival. College football rivalries are among the strongest in all of sports and these rivalries are the most intense of them all.

The Top TenXW

1Ohio State vs. Michigan

I lived in Alabama one summer and I can say they are passionate about their rivalry but no more than Ohio State and Michigan fans are about their rivalry. So what if Ohio and Michigan have pro teams in their state and Alabama doesn't. OSU/UM is still the greatest rivalry. If anyone thinks that the Iron Bowl is the greatest, go to a UM/OSU game or just be there for the tailgate and you will change your mind.

Nothing beats the rivalry these to teams have. 110 years of hasty attitudes and that intense game in November. It is the greatest accomplishment knowing that for the next 364 days you can hold your head high knowing you beat the "other team". Take a step inside the big house for this game, and I guarantee there will be no doubt in your mind what THE greatest rivalry of college football is. Michigan vs. Ohio State. No questions asked.

I am from Toledo, Ohio and no other sporting event compares to "The Game". It all started with the Toledo War and from that day on the 2 states have hated each other! It is not just a rivalry, it is a way of life! You are either an OSU fan or an UM fan from birth! Toledo basically shuts down that day, even the gas stations take the $ of gas off their signs and put up the score of the game! Family's are truly divided and no matter how good or bad either team is doing in the season, it all comes down to "The Game"! Go Blue! - drea4ualways

Ohio State and that team up north is DEFINITELY the Biggest rivalry in sports! Just go to the game and you would understand. Go Bucks!

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2Auburn vs. Alabama

Sorry Michigan and Ohio State fans... you may have more fans in your fan bases, but the rivalry between the University of Alabama and Auburn University is probably the rivalry filled with the most anger, hatred, and passion behind them. Ruined marriages, houses burned down, murders, you name it. On Iron Bowl game day there is no grey area, you are either Auburn, or Alabama and you don't talk to the fans of the other team until after the game is over. If you have never lived in the state of Alabama you would never understand. The University of Alabama alone has been the home of 2 of the best college football coaches that college football has ever seen. No coach has as much bragging rights as the late Paul Bear Bryant and the genius that Nick Saban is today.

It is a rivalry that polarizes the state. Yes, other NCAA teams do exist, and you can root for them in the state of Alabama. But when the Iron Bowl comes around, everyone must pick a side, regardless if you could care a less about Alabama or Auburn!

This is by far the biggest rivalry in college football. There is no NFL team. That means its all college football in the state, and its either Auburn or Alabama. The fans and players hate each other. On Iron Bowl day there is an average of two deaths a year caused by the game.

This is who wins championships. It means more to the state and country.

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3Texas vs. Oklahoma

Two states that hate each other over more than just sports. Arrogant Texans trying to push around proud Oklahomans. Two states that lined their armies up along a river about to kill each other over it. Texans don't want Oklahomans in their state and Oklahomans don't want to be there either. Both sides hope that the other is perpetually defeated by anybody else at anything else. No forgiveness. No forgetting. The whole of Oklahoma watches and listens intensely to the shootout. Every T.V. and radio is tuned in. Store shelves are emptied of snacks and drinks. Food delivery vehicles line the streets (yes, they are listening to the game). Phones are silent, but houses rumble with cheers and jeers. There is no other rivalry. Rivalry is far too pleasant a word to describe the animosity between these two states.

Come the second Saturday of October each year the State of Oklahoma hates the State of Texas. This rivalry is so heated that a Sooner fan once nearly castrated a Texas fan for even suggesting the Longhorns are superior to the Sooners. The teams are often evenly matched, the Cotton Bowl is 50% Sooners and 50% Longhorns and the energy in the stadium is electric - every year. It is the greatest sporting event I've ever attended in terms of energy and passion.

This is a game where, every year, regardless of the standing/rank of the teams (though usually high), the teams are in upset mode. Both teams have had their season changed as a result of this game. Boomer Sooner!

Had to vote for this one, being from texas, all I got to say is what the hell is a sooner? Go Longhorns! Number two would have to be the buckeyes vs the wolverines. And in that one I'm always pullin for michigan - Nemesis57

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4Army vs. Navy

All the rivalries on this list are great! Depending on where you live, each one has traditions, deep-seated feelings, sets the tone for the year, and for the players, the games are all-out, all-in wars! Army-Navy has all these characteristics, and one more... At these schools, the students raise their right hand and swear out an oath to support and defend the Constitution on their first day of attendance. So this rivalry, for the players and students, is an all-out, all-in war between "brothers-in-arms. " For Americans, there has always been something truly special about that! As for me, GO BLACK KNIGHTS!

Army and Navy may not be the powerhouses they once were, but no college football game has the same implications (both on and off the field) that the fabled Army/Navy Game does. Anyone who stands in attendance at an Army/Navy game in person and doesn't feel a certain chill run up their spine quite simply isn't an American.

ARMY-NAVY "The Best Rivalry In College Football" This season has been up and down for the Midshipmen but with an upset today against Notre Dame, can help salvage this season. A 12th win over Army will make the season complete. Although for 60 minutes we are rivals but at the end of the day we are on the same team (Brothers In Arms)." GO NAVY BEAT ARMY" - CMDRTony091

I like both teams but lets beat it


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5Florida vs. Georgia

To the guy who said "they only lead Florida in the series because the war.. Only 2 players on that team went to the army, while 80 of the gators seniors and juniors went, and Georgia thought they were good so they ran up the score... A shame that we had to teach them quite a few lessons after the war... "

Are you stupid? I don't know of ANY war that spanned 1915-1989. The Gators got their asses handed to them more often than not during that span. You guys didn't "teach" us anything after the war (whichever war you're referring to). You kept on LOSING. Remember that Heisman winner of yours, Spurrier? Recall what we did to him that year? So does he. That's exactly why he made sure to schedule a bye week every year prior to the Cocktail Party. He didn't want UF to lose to UGA the way they had for decades.

As of right now, this rivalry is as good as they come. Even the last several Gator victories have only been by 7 points or less since 2002.

Some of the best players to ever play the game came through this game. You'll never see so many drunk people in one place. A stadium half full of fans is louder than most other schools full stadiums

Two of the perennial powerhouses in college football and two of the greatest programs in history of football duke it out for pride and, more often than not, a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

Good rivalry played in a neutral site.

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6Utah vs. BYU

I'm a Mormon but my Alma Mater is Utah. So for those who think they are mutually exclusive, I don't fit that mold. I cheer for Utah when they play BYU, but I actually root for BYU when they are not playing Utah. There are many nasty fans on both sides of the aisle, but that is what makes this rivalry so fierce.

I think most of these people literally hate each other, I mean it is downright unholy. With the self-righteousness of the BYU fans, and the barbaric Utah fans, it really brings out the ugliness on both sides. I have friends from both schools, and I can say that there are some pretty cool dudes going to both schools. But some real ugly characters come out of the wood works when Utah and BYU meet up. It is quite a spectacle.

if Luke weren't in Russia right now he'd probably say something like this, "Utah is about to get anhilalated by their biggest fear, BYU." you should've seen it. He sat amoung the Utah fan section with a blue cape, tall furry blue marching band hat with byu everything dangling from him. we walked through the red section to get food during half time and drunk man after dumb fan from utah tried to physically harm him. Do note he is this 19 year old kid and simply walked around.... ha ha haaaa. so funny how disgruntled these hot tempered ute fans were the day their team was smeared! i love it!

It's more than just a game. It is a battle of cultures, philosophies, and lifestyle. BYU fans a Utah fans don't just think their schools are better, they think their fellow fans and supporters are better people than those who cheer for the opponent. They equate their schools to an entire belief system and when they do battle on the gridiron, it is a symbolic jihad. Wining the holy war is a reaffirmation of a fan's sense of all around superiority.

This rivalry is way fun to be apart of. Everyone takes it WAY too seriously, though.

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7USC vs. Notre Dame

The geographical separation between these schools may be seen as a point of weakness, but what other rivalry could withstand being in different conferences (or none at all) in two entirely separate regions of the country?

nothing is better than this michigan ohio state is nothing if ur a notre dame fan u undderstand the importance of this day

This rivalry does not need to have two teams that live 20 feet apart, or be in the same conference, all it needs is two teams that hate each other

Simply the best rivalry! Isn't it also the longest continuous rivalry? Fight On! Beat the Irish!

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8Oregon vs. Oregon State

The Civil War is one of the best games every year!

Ducks are the best so if you are a beavers fan we have beat so many times I can't count them

Instate rivalries don't get any more exciting... There have been some barnburners and toilet bowls.. All exciting.

Big fan of oregon

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9Clemson vs. South Carolina

just wait. carolina is gonna pull ahead one day. look what we did in just one year! were world series champs in baseball, knocked off number one in football and knocked off number one in basketball! now we've got lattimore and alshon. :) watch your backs

This is easily one of the best rivalries in college football. Especially after the brawl that happened about 10 years ago. I look forward to this match up every year. It is easily better then Oregon Oregon State and BYU Utah. I would put it number 6 on the list

There has been atleast 10 brawls in this rivalry, most recent one was in 2004. Tell me this rivalry isn't the fiercest in the nation

Its pretty much the game for whoever rules the state of South Carolina the team I always cheer for is Clemson


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10USC vs. UCLA

who cares about any other rivalry in southern california. NO ONE CARES ABOUT ANOTHER RIVALRY

anyone in southern California is one side or the other. USC fans just make you want to be UCLA fans.

Cross town rivals. yeah thats an amazing rivalry.

This is by far the greatest rivalry in college football. Utah v BYU bahahaha...gimme a break.

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The Newcomers

?NIU vs. Toledo

Because the Mid-American Conference is underrated.

?Ole Miss vs. Alabama
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The Contenders

11Florida vs. Florida State

A David and Goliath contest that evolved into a heavy weight championship boxing match--with often the fastest, most talented athletes in the country from rival elementary, middle, and high schools across the state. Throw in top talent from around the country and some spice--Spurrier, Deion, and other instigaters. And, you have the best rivalry in the country.

Ether side would trade a conference championship to beat the other team and maybe even a national if we didn't have to beat each other to get to it.

The fact that this is where it is just shows you that half these guys don't actually watch college football

I think Florida State would beat Florida. - EpicJake

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12Missouri vs. Kansas

All other rivalries pale in comparison. The most INTENSE and HATE driven rivalry in all of college football. Born of the unpleasantness between the two states following the American Civil War, the "Border War" polarizes entire families and communities across Kansas and Missouri. Otherwise civil citizens don their blue and red or black and gold and flock to Arrowhead where their teams wage an all-out war for the next 3-4 hours. Winner brings home the Indian War Drum, and the bragging rights last for the next 364 days. They take the last day off so they can play again. MIZ-ZOU!

Rooted in actual war. The civil war. No one hates another
Bunch of folks the way we hate Kansas. They attacked Osceola
and we burned Lawrence to the ground. I
Actually might hate Kansas more than I love Missouri. That's a rivalry.
Michigan vs. Ohio State is a joke in comparison.

Just go to a game and you will be forced to put this rivalry in the top three. After the game, that is all the people talk about for months and whoever wins has major braggin rights. TRUST ME, go to a game! - phigginskc

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13Miami vs. Florida State

By far- the best talent- the best teams-the steepest price to pay for loser- and I felt EVERY wide right and the one wide left deep in my gut for years after as FSU lost 3 rings to the U. Knew we had to beat them to win Nat'l Championship and we did both times we won it... but it ran through Miami and Tally - damersh

Voted by ESPN the greatest rivalry of the last 20 years, including 7 national championships since 1983 and the 2 winningest programs since 1980. Not too mention two of the most memorable games ever, Wide Right 1 and 2.

decided about 5 national championships cmon noles vs canes
of course miami dominates - blaqksails92

It this was the 90's this would be number one...

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14Harvard vs. Yale

How is this so low? Just because they're now FCS teams doesn't mean that this isn't the singular best rivalry in sports. These two teams were always powerhouses back in the day. Not only that, but it's not every day you get to watch a nationally televised game in which 90% of the players know that "hyperbole" isn't pronounced "hyperboll". This is game is also always played in a stadium at least ninety years old. This is the most storied rivalry of all time and should be at least in the top five. Go Harvard!

It is called "The Game". Not the Iron Bowl. Not the Backyard Brawl. It is simply, "The Game. Enough said.

Simply the purest and the best!

15LSU vs. Arkansas

As an LSU fan, I can say that in this rivalry The two fan bases never really go at each other's throat, but something special ALWAYS happens on this Thanksgiving rivalry.

This is a pretty good rivalry. GO HOGS

16Georgia vs. Georgia Tech

Oh! If I had a daughter, sir, I'd dress her in White and Gold,
And put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.
But if I had a son, sir, I'll tell you what he'd do"
He would yell, 'TO HELL WITH Georgia! ' like his daddy used to do.

georgia tech vs. georgia is an in state rivarly that has many in a love hate relationship between these two schools.

17Tennessee vs. Florida

this is THE college rival if you say otherwise you're wrong - davetn37

In recent times this is as intense a rivalry as it gets.

this is on of the best games out there

I agree, this is a huge rivalry!

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18Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State

This rivalry is insane. All State ever does is talk about how much Ole Miss needs to go to hell, and Ole Miss says the same to MSU. The games are intense. There are eggs thrown at the Egg Bowl, fights breaking out, and some pretty harsh stuff

such an incredible rivalry very deserving of this list

The egg bowl is my favorite! I also like LSU and Alabama and Army and Navy. Go state, lsu, and army! - Alpha101

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19Texas vs. Texas A&M

Why is BYU on here they're just a bunch of stuck up mormons. Texas A&M is built to hate that orange college

The best rivalry in the State of Texas!
It doesn't matter if both teams are 0-11 or 11-0, when they step onto the field, it is A^^M vs Texas, nothing else.

Aggies are built to hate Texas

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20LSU vs. Alabama

When Tulane University had a viable team, the rivalry was between Tulane and LSU and it was fun fierce. Bets causing the loser to paint his house the winner's team colors. Many purple and gold homes in New Orleans by default! But just as many by choice. Years passed and Tulane was not a Thanksgiving game any longer.
Nick Sabin came to LSU and was awesome. Then Sabin wanted to go pro. Then Sabin did not like the pros. Then Sabin insulted the entire state of Louisiana by going to a truly rival team. The rivalry is not so much with the University of AL as it is to defeat Sabin.
Besides, Les Miles smiles! And is a really great mentor to his players.
The SEC may not be in this new Championship playoff, but it is still the toughest in the nation.

This one intensified thanks to Nick Saban

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List StatsUpdated 8 Oct 2015

5,000 votes
94 listings
9 years, 59 days old

Top Remixes (18)

1. Auburn vs. Alabama
2. Florida vs. Georgia
3. Army vs. Navy
1. Florida vs. Georgia
2. Harvard vs. Yale
3. USC vs. UCLA
1. Ohio State vs. Michigan
2. Army vs. Navy
3. Washington vs. Washington State

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