Top 10 Best College Football Rivalries

They are the games that each team and all of their fans look forward to each year. 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 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.

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. 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 two 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.

3 Texas vs. Oklahoma

This isn't just a game. It is an event. This isn't a home and home. This is a we will meet you in the middle because we don't want your team, your fans, or anything associated with your school near our campus. This isn't about setting up some tailgates and having a little party before the game. This starts with the three-hour party trek up or down I-35 to Dallas with thousands of fans. It includes all-night trash talking with your counterparts from the other side of the Red River, where laws have been changed three times in the past 30 years just because of this game.

It involves coming into the State Fair of Texas, and you don't just go to the stadium. You enter the Cotton Bowl. In this game, no one has the advantage of home-field. Split it 50/50 at the 50 and go at it.

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, is what makes this rivalry great and why it will always be one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

5 Florida vs. Georgia

To the person who said, "they only lead Florida in the series because of 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..."

I don't know of ANY war that spanned from 1915 to 1989. The Gators got their backsides 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 your Heisman winner, 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.

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 attending both schools. But some real ugly characters come out of the woodwork when Utah and BYU meet up. It is quite a spectacle.

7 Oregon vs. Oregon State

This is the #1 rivalry on the West Coast. I have been to games in the South. This game matches those. The state is split in half. Go Beavs!

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

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

8 USC vs. Notre Dame

California vs. Indiana. The summers of Los Angeles vs. the cold winters of South Bend. Glitz and glamour vs. blue-collar, in-your-face football. Cardinal and yellow vs. blue and gold. The USC Trojans vs. the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This isn't just a football game. It's a clash of cultures and lifestyles, and two of the most prestigious programs in college football.

This is the game both fanbases mark every year. While it does not have the hatred of Alabama vs. Auburn, they certainly don't like each other. Think about all the legends that have gone to these universities: Joe Montana, Troy Polamalu, Jerome Bettis, Lynn Swann, Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Tim Brown, Anthony Munoz, Marcus Allen, Justin Tuck, and Tony Rice, just to name a few. This rivalry is one that you never miss.

9 Clemson vs. South Carolina

The Clemson vs. Carolina game is without a doubt the fiercest and most underrated rivalry in the country. Your identity is either a tiger or a gamecock. We all live and work together, so the hate is always there. By far the most important game of the season for both teams!

SC has NEVER accomplished anything of note. Clemson has always had a better football team (1981 national champs, 2013 BCS Orange Bowl champs). The recent slide is unfortunate, but even so, they still do not have the record for the longest streak. Clemson has that at 7 and the series record. GO TIGERS!

10 Missouri vs. Kansas

All other rivalries pale in comparison. This is the most intense and hate-driven rivalry in all of college football. Born from 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. The 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!

The Contenders
11 Miami vs. Florida State

They would empty benches before games. Never mind all the NFL talent these teams have. These two 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.

Voted by ESPN as the greatest rivalry of the last 20 years, it includes 7 national championships since 1983 and the two winningest programs since 1980. Not to mention two of the most memorable games ever: Wide Right I and Wide Right II.

12 USC vs. UCLA

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

Excuse me? Ducks vs. Beavs higher than this, the most storied rivalry in all college athletics? Clear your heads, people.

This is by far the greatest rivalry in college football. Utah vs. BYU, bahahaha... Give me a break.

13 Florida vs. Florida State

A David and Goliath contest that evolved into a heavyweight 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 instigators - and you have the best rivalry in the country.

A Tide fan, a Gator fan, and a Noles fan were all on a mountaintop. The Bama fan said that he would prove 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 them both. Except Noles are stupid, and he'd miss the Gator fan and fall off himself.

Go Gators!

14 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.

15 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 "hyper-bowl." This 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!

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

16 Michigan vs. Michigan State

I honestly think that this should be a three-way rivalry between Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. People from both sides get a little zealous (to say the least) when any of these three teams play each other. Anyway, if any of these teams beat the other two, they typically win the Big Ten unless Wisconsin is lights out.

When any combination of these teams plays, the participating teams always have the most to win or the most to lose. I wouldn't include Penn State or Iowa in here because, yes, they're always good, but they really aren't ever great. Maybe they will have a noteworthy season in the near future, but I wouldn't count on it. Among the four Big Ten "juggernauts," I would pull Penn State and put Michigan, leaving Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Penn State just doesn't play at the level they used to.

17 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 throats, but something special always happens in this Thanksgiving rivalry.

Not as awesome as Alabama vs. Auburn (look at the 2013 Iron Bowl), but this rivalry is pretty awesome to watch. Go Tigers!

18 Cal vs. Stanford

A rivalry similar to Harvard and Yale, where it's not only on the field, court, etc., but also academically in the classroom and in research.

Oh, boy. I almost got into Stanford, believe it or not, and I know that this game is a big deal every single year.

What!? There's enough history to put this in the top 10. The Play, all the pranks... This is THE Big Game.

19 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 Longhorns may say their biggest rivalry is Oklahoma, but that is just a jab at the ones they really hate.

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.


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

20 Tennessee vs. Florida

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

People at my school start talking about this matchup a month before it happens.

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

21 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

Yeah! Oldest rivalry in college football, going on since the 1890s, and the games are awesome! Wisconsin for life!

Oldest running rivalry in college football. Awesome.

And, come on, to see a badger and a gopher go after it is always exciting!

It's the classic border battle. They play for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

22 Penn State vs. Ohio State

Penn State has ultimately defeated the mighty Buckeyes! I love the Nittany Lions. They're such a great team. But the main reason I support them is because they hate Ohio State along with my fellow Michiganders.

I live in Columbus. My dad went to Penn State and now works at Ohio State, and every year, this is a huge game for the whole family!

We are Penn State!

Ohio State's only kryptonite. James Franklin is a very, very underrated head coach.

23 Tennessee vs. Alabama

It isn't what it once was since the SEC split in two. But Bear Bryant once said he didn't know exactly what kind of football team he had each year until after the third Saturday in October.

This is among the oldest rivalries in the South. Can't believe it's not in the top 10.

It should be at least 9 or 10. I would like to see Tennessee beat Nick Saban's Alabama for once.

24 Notre Dame vs. Michigan

I can't wait until this game comes back in 2018. It sells out in minutes, no matter who is hosting.

I get tired of seeing Michigan lose, and when I go there, I will crush Notre Dame!

25 Iowa State vs. Iowa

This rivalry has been going on forever. It splits the state in half. This should be higher, especially since it's a close game every year.

They share the same state. Iowa State is mostly good in basketball. Iowa is good in both sports.

Doubt if any game dominates an entire state the way this game does.

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