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'm a Michigan fan. The 45-23 game had 10 grown, tax paying, men running around in a house celebrating like little children throughout The Game. Historically, whoever won The Game won the Big 10, and the last 6 years this is also correct. It's the only rivalry on this list where both have been in the playoffs at the same time as well. Started over a border war for Toledo. It's a top 5 rivalry in sports.

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.

Everyone knows. When I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE! Every fan of every team knows that this is more than a rivalry. This is more than personal. This rivalry defines these teams. You remember Earl Bruce? He used to be head coach of the Bucks. He got fired because although he was a great coach, he rarely ever beat that team up North. When people asked him about it, he said, "It's just another game." He got fired shortly after. This is more than football and sports, by the way. Like drea4ualways said, it all started with the Toledo War. This game will always be the highlight of the year. If any of you Iron Bowl supporters think your petty little game is the best, then go to an Ohio State-Michigan game. The hate is immense. I am a Buckeye, and I may hate Michigan fans, but for this, I stand beside them. This game is our Christmas. It is our holiday. Nothing compares. I end my comment with this.


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!

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!

Don't get confused between the biggest and the nastiest. I live in California and have lived in many areas of the country including Alabama. The Auburn V. Bama rivalry is the nastiest, polarizing, sickening, etc. They actually should not play each other. Word's do not do it justice. Think Pakistan V. India, but worse. Now that being said, I hope Auburn beats the piss out of the Gumps. Bama fans for the most part (excluding the actual graduates, which are few relative to fans) are pathetic idiots (think the jerk who poisoned Auburn's historic trees) and give the graduates a bad name.

Hands down, biggest rivalry. Two great SEC teams fighting out, sometimes to see who goes to the SEC Championship. SEC has won 7 years of National Championships in a row. We've gone 8 years in a row. When was the last time Michigan or Ohio State went to the National Championship? Or when was the last time you won one? The next best Rivalry is Army vs Navy. They should be #1 and then us, and then Michigan vs Ohio State. Texas vs Oklahoma should be at 5. Roll Tide

3 Texas vs. Oklahoma

This isn't just a game. It is an event. This isn't a home and home, this is 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 lets set up some tailgates and have 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, has 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), includes coming into the State Fair of Texas and you don't 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.

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.

Best rivalry in college football. Every game is good and who knows what's going to happen. If one team team puts a bad spanking on the other, it will be time for revenge. Second best rivalry is Texas vs Texas A&M. Them poor Agiies been getting whupped just about every year.

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.

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"

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... "

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.

Where else can people party together for 5 days before the game, hate each other during the game and then party together through the next day together all while being intoxicated the whole time. The worlds largest outdoor cocktail party. It does not matter who wins as long as the booze and beer does not run out.

I'm surprised that other Georgia rivalries aren't this high up.. Georgia has so many good rivalries...

Georgia vs Florida
Georgia vs Auburn
Georgia vs Georgia Tech
Georgia vs Tennessee
Georgia vs Alabama
Georgia vs LSU
Georgia vs South Carolina
Georgia vs Clemson

The game is a war. Both sides diligently prepare for the other, and the winning side is always sure to rub it in the losing side's face. Both teams despise each other, and it's extremely rare to hear of a UGa-UF couple.
Both teams pin their season on this game.

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

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 is the #1 rivalry in the nation. BYU v. Utah, Republicans v. Democrats, Mormon v. non-Mormon, drinkers v. non-drinkers, blue v. red, rural v. city, traditional v. progressive. Literally everyone in the State of Utah has an opinion and a strong opinion at that. Everything you need to know about the state is summed up in the 60 minutes of this game.

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!

Instate 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!

This is a rivalry? This is not even on T.V. because it is so predictable

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

This game is amazing to watch no matter which team you support. The green and gold vs the red and yellow is always awesome to see. Plus those teams have made some of the best football players of all time. Like Joe Montana and Oj Simpson. Even better the schools are hundreds of miles apart and will never be in the same conference but the blood the still boils every time.

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?

The best, longest lasting and most intense rivalry there is! The teams are on opposite sides of the country but they still hate each other. Go Irish!

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!

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

By far one of the most under-rated rivalries in history. In South Carolina, your born into one school or the other. There is no mercy given, and no love lost

10 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!

Each and every person that voted on this list probably lives nearby to one or both of the teams that were listed. Who would expect someone who lives in Florida or Georgia to vote for the Clemson/South Carolina rivalry? Not me, I live the closest to Notre Dame and still think this is the most intense rivalry. Drive around Missouri and look at the license plates. BOO KU, BRDER WR, Just saying, I don't root for either one of these teams but It's still the best rivalry in NCAA Football. Even players that came out of each of these colleges in the NFL hate on each other big time.

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!

The Contenders
11 Miami vs. Florida State

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.

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.

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

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

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-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 v BYU bahahaha...gimme a break.

13 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 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.


FSU and Florida are the two most prestegious universities in the State of Florida, and in Florida, nothing is bigger than football. When the Noles and Gators meet, it is MUCH more than just a game. When these two historic programs collide in the North Florida hills, a scene unfolds unlike anywhere else college football!

I agree with Georgia vs florida is higher because of the drunks laugh out loud I'm a die hard Noles fan and college football.but I'm not an ignorant fan that says florida sucks this goes for both parts laugh out loud... The truth is there both monstrous football programs and one of the all time greatest rivalries.

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 "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!

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

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!

16 Michigan vs. Michigan State

I honestly think that this should be a three way rivalry between Michigan, Michigan St, and Ohio St. People from both sides get a little zealous (to say the least) when any of these three teams plaay 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 combo of these teams play, the playing teams always have the most to win/more to lose.
I wouldn't include Penn St. or Iowa in here because, yeah, 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. In the four big ten "juggernauts,"
I would pull Penn St. and put Michigan leaving:
Michigan St, Ohio St, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Penn St. just doesn't play at the level they used to...

Arguably a bigger rivalry than UM-OSU. These two fan bases live in the same backyard. As of recently, MSU has had the advantage in the matchup and OSU has completely dominated for over a decade.

Nobody likes to be called a "little brother" in sports. Lots of hate in this game, should be higher

Look up the history of this one it's why us Spartans fans hate Michigan.

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 throat, but something special ALWAYS happens on this Thanksgiving rivalry.

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

How is this not in the top ten? Both of these schools play pranks on each other all the the time

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 t-sips 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 are is hatred on both sides. I wish they would bring this Thanksgiving rivalry back!

Can't be a rivalry because they don't play anymore. Shame on T.U. and A&M for taking this away from the fans!

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.

All I have to say is...

I hate Florida
Go Vols

21 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota

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

Oldest running rivalry in college fb. 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 Bunion's ax.

Longest Division 1 rivalry ever, this has to be higher.

22 Penn State vs. Ohio State

Penn State has untimately 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 a 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!


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

Penn State is overrated every and James Franklin sucks as a coach Go Ohio State

23 Tennessee vs. Alabama

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 3rd Saturday in October

This is among the oldest rivalries in the south. Can't believe its not in the top 10.

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

How is this not top 10.

24 Notre Dame vs. Michigan

I can't wait till this game comes back in 2018. Sells out in minutes for who ever is hosting.

This is a big game Michigan even did the Chicken dance to prove and stinks poop.

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 since 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.

This game is the biggest thing in Iowa since corn.

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