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 Ten

1 Ohio State vs. Michigan

I look at the comments on the iron bowl section and I read things like, "our rivalry is much bigger than the Ohio State vs Michigan game" and "the Ohio State/Michigan game is nowhere near the rivalry of the iron bowl." When I read things like that I just have to shake my head because comments like these just smack of desperation. Another iron bowl fan asks why the iron bowl is not listed as number one on this thread which is really a dumb question. The obvious answer is because Ohio State vs Michigan IS the best rivalry in college football and the majority of people who follow college football would agree. You just need to come to grips with reality iron bowl fans.

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.

One example of this rivalries epicness is when Michigan was 6-5 and Ohio State was 11-0 and it went into triple overtime. Classic - matt1

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2 Auburn 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.

Our rivalry is a MUCH bigger deal than the Ohio Stats vs Michigan game. Our rivalry was so intense, Alabama and Auburn weren't allowed to play against each other from 1908 to 1947. Ya never saw that kind of tension between something like Ohio State & Michigan or Army & Navy have ya? I certainly haven't. Since I'm an Alabama fan, I'll always hate the ending to the 2013 Iron Bowl. But I can say that plays like that are what makes our rivalry so special. The Iron Bowl is the TRUE most intense rivalry in College Football. ROLL TIDE ROLL! - Mattman0914

Ohio and Michigan have 3 professional football teams between them. Alabama not only no professional football teams but not professional sports teams at all. The Iron Bowl is the biggest sporting event in the state and it involves the entire state...its all they have

Nothing compares to the iron bowl ROLL DAMN TIDE!

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3 Texas 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!

Neutral site every year. No home team. Recruiting is done all in Texas. National champions has won this game more often than not.

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4 Army vs. Navy

I grew up 20 minutes from the Naval Academy, my uncle and his son (my cousin) both attended the Naval Academy and I've probably been to more Navy football games than any other team. What makes this rivalry the best, despite the streak, is the fact that even though they are athletes, they have all made the decision to protect and serve this country, instead of going on to become famous and wealthy in the NFL. The march on, the exchanging of "prisoners", the singing of the alma maters and the camaraderie shown between the players, knowing that they might be on separate teams now, but will be on the same team in the future. That is what makes this rivalry great and why it will always be one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

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.

GO NAVY

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5 Florida 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.

Georgia might lead the series. But the Gators have been POUNDING them for the last 20 years! GATOR NATION! - DoroExploro13

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6 Utah 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.

I've met many BYU fans and many Utah fans. Both schools have some conservative fans, but also some extremists. I consider myself an extremist. I'm sick and tired of seeing that ugly red all over the place. I'm downright pissed that the Pac 12 accepted them instead of the obviously better BYU for religious reasons, allowing Utah to get Power 5 recruits and good talent. And now the Utah cowards don't want to continue this rivalry because they're "too good" for us now. I respect some Utes, but they have a few a-holes who represent the school as a dirty satanist university. They hate BYU because we're mormons, that's it! I believe that at least 50% of Utah fans are jerks for these reasons:

1. They hate BYU more than they love Utah.

2. They didn't have the grades or the test scores to get into BYU, so they decided to go to our rivals.

3. They think that since we have so many good kids, they don't think that they'll fit in and go to Utah, filling the university with bad ...more

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!

No matter what anyone says, short distance between rivals is always a huge contributor to the heat of a rivalry.. on top of that, the religious tension between Mormons an everyone else.. then having no nfl...this rivalry is nasty...EVERYONE here cares about it. they even considered holding off the rivalry due to the tension between fans

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7 USC 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

The two most prestigious College Football programs fighting eachother is something bigger than nearly every single rivalry except for "The Game".

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8 Oregon 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

As a matter of fact Oregon state beat Oregon in 2016 #GO BEAVERS

The civil war is perhaps the greatest rivalry ever

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9 Clemson 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

Most Fierce Rivalry History.

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10 USC vs. UCLA

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

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

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

Best rivalry ever! UCLA vs the University of Second Choice aka USC! I bleed blue and gold! Go Bruins!

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The Contenders

11 Florida 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.

A lot of times it is a game where one team is trying to make a final push for a national championship, where the other is trying to play spoiler. That reason alone makes it a great rivalry.

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.

A Tide fan, a Gator fan and a Noles fan were all on a mountain top. The Bama fan said that he would prove that he was the biggest Bama fan in the world, so he jumped off the mountain. The Gator fan said he'd prove he was the biggest Gator fan in the world, so he pushed the FSU fan off of the mountain.

Had the FSU fan seen all this coming, he would've pushed the UF fan into the Bama fan to kill 'em both. Except Noles are stupid, and he'd miss the Gator fan and fall off himself.

GO GATORS!

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12 Harvard 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.

I like Yale better because they somehow managed to trick Harvard into holding up cards that spelt out "We Suck".

We never saw Ohio State or Michigan trick 1800 fans into holding cards that spelt out "WE SUCK"

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13 Missouri 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

This rivalry started in the civil war. But I will never cheer for Miserey. KU will always be better. Misery had to ruin it by leaving the big 12. Why? Because KU was too good

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14 Miami 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.

They would empty benches before games. Never mind all the nfl talent these teams have. These 2 schools have had more hard hitting smack talking and living up to the hype even if the Canes have been down for the last few years. This game is always close and all cfb fans will watch. It used to decide #1 and titles.

This should be higher

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15 LSU 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

4 words for you! Battle of the Boot!

GO HOGS! - riri_lol

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16 Texas vs. Texas A&M

Anyone who thinks this one is not at the top of the list has never spoken to anyone from either school. The t-sips may say their biggest rivalry is Oklahoma, but that is just a jab at the ones they really hate.

I have been on both sides of the rivalry and trust me, there are is hatred on both sides. I wish they would bring this Thanksgiving rivalry back!

I never watch Texas A&M except when they play LSU because I want to punch every fan I see there

There is extreme hatred on both sides of this once great rivalry.

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17 Georgia 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.

18 Tennessee vs. Florida

"If Florida wins they mildly celebrate, but if Tennessee wins it will be the biggest party in Knoxville ever."

Too me it's one of the biggest games it's a very heated rivalry

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

YEAH! WE BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF FLORIDA THIS YEAR! 2016 TENNESSEE WINS! FIRST TIME IN 10 BILLION YEARS! YES!

Now lets hope we beat Alabama as well.

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19 LSU 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 game, more often than not, is the deciding factor between who will win the SEC West and then represent the conference in the national title game (or college football playoff now). The determination between the teams, the passion in the fan bases, and the top tier talent that both teams produce year in and year out all show why this game I'd the biggest and best rivalry in college sports. - Verderame

This one intensified thanks to Nick Saban

Love this game somuch go tigers

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20 Ole 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

Number 18? This should be number 3!

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List StatsUpdated 26 Jul 2017

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