1. Army vs Navy
It’s perhaps the one rivalry where records truly don’t matter and respect is abound. The pageantry, emotion and tradition displayed annually between these service academies are always something to be seen. Navy leads the series 60-52-7, but Army has won the last three meetings by a combined 12 points. Then again, after watching the effort put forth by both teams, it’s easy to see why this rivalry is about more than just football.
2. Alabama vs Auburn (Iron Bowl)
One of the best and most hard-fought rivalries in all of college sports is the rivalry between Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both schools are some of the most winningest programs in the history of college football and this game often determines the winner of the SEC West title. In addition to their equally competitive and successful programs, the proximity of the two teams allows for fans to travel to the game regardless of which stadium it is being held in, making this one of the most exciting and fun games to watch in both teams schedules.
3. Michigan vs Ohio State (The Game)
Depending on who you ask, The Michigan – Ohio State rivalry is the biggest rivalry in all of college football and maybe all of collegiate athletics. These teams have met 111 times with the first meeting taking place in 1897. Michigan currently holds the series lead 58-46-6 and will look to expand on it in the coming years. This rivalry has gained significant traction over the past forty years due to it normally determining the Big Ten Conference champions, which it has done 22 times. The game has even had National Championship implications as in the past both teams have come into the game with National Championship in their grasp.The matchup is also a border war, making it one of the most exciting games to watch in all of college football.
4. Oklahoma vs Texas (Red River Rivalry)
The Texas/OU Sooners rivalry is one of the biggest in all of college sports. The name comes from the river that forms part of the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Red River Shootout trophies are given out at the game, most notably the Golden Hat which is a gold ten-gallon hat that the athletic department of the winning school holds onto until the next showdown. Even the governor’s of Oklahoma and Texas get involved: the losing Governor has to present a side of beef to the winning governor who is then given to charity. This rivalry game makes for a great tailgating experience.
5. USC vs Notre Dame
The Notre Dame and USC rivalry feature two of the most decorated college football programs as these two schools have combined for 22 national championships. Traditionally these two meet on the third Saturday of October when the game is played at Notre Dame and have met every year since 1926 when the Irish narrowly defeated the Trojans 13-12. The Jeweled Shillelagh was added to the rivalry in 1952, and Notre Dame leads the all-time series 45-35-5. The Irish will look to extend their lead when these two teams meet this season.
6. UCLA vs USC
The term cross-town rivalry doesn’t accurately how interconnected these two fan bases are and thus the intensity of this annual rivalry. The two schools are both located in the city of Los Angeles with just twelve miles separating the two campuses. During a few seasons in the 1980s the two schools both played their home games at the LA Coliseum, and as a result, when they played each other both teams wore their home uniforms. This tradition was revived in 2008 despite the fact the two schools no longer share a venue. The winner of this annual matchup has been awarded the Victory Bell since 1941. USC leading the trophy series 39-31-4 although UCLA has won the last two meetings.
7. Georgia vs Florida
Georgia and Florida have also been meeting each other since 1915 and has been held in Jacksonville, FL since 1933, which makes this rivalry one of the few neutral-site rivalries in college football. This game attracts huge crowds and has earned the nickname of “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” making it one of the best and most exciting games of the year for both teams. The tailgate on this gem is wild.
8. Miami vs Florida
This rivalry dated back to 1938 and was played annually from 1944 to 1987. Miami won the initial meeting 19-7 and lead the all-time series 29-26. The rivalry is part of the Florida Cup, and formerly the winner would receive the Seminole War Canoe. However, this tradition was stopped in 1987 and is on permanent display in the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
9. Florida vs Florida State
The atmosphere of the Florida-Florida State game feels almost like the National Championship Game. The most important matchup between these teams was the Sugar Bowl rematch at the end of the 1996 season in which Florida avenged their only regular season loss and won their first national championship with a 52–20 win over Florida State. Both Florida teams are competing to see who is the best in the state making it the one to beat and causing Gator spirit will be at its highest!
10. Pittsburgh vs WVU (Backyard Brawl)
This rivalry between West Virginia and Pitt is fueled by the two schools proximity as both schools are separated by only 75 miles along I-79. The Backyard Brawl is the 14th oldest rivalry in college football having first been played in 1895, which was won an 8-0 West Virginia shutout. Pitt has made up for that initial defeat by taking a 21 game lead in the all-time series, which is 61-40-3 in their favor. One of the most famous Backyard Brawls occurred in December of 2007 when the 4-7 Panthers upended the number 2 ranked Mountaineers 13-9 crushing West Virginia’s national championship aspirations. The Panthers will hope to continue to get the best of their bitter rivals in the upcoming years.
11. BYU vs Utah (Holy War)
The Holy War is the name given to the rivalry between the BYU Cougars and Utah Utes. The rivalry between the two universities stems from the stark contrast between the cultures of these two Utah-based institutions. BYU is a private religious institution while Utah is a state public school. The two schools have been playing since 1896 and the winner of the annual contests walk away with the Beehive Boot. The Utes lead the all-time series 57-34-4, but the Cougars hope to narrow the gap this season.
12. Oregon vs Oregon State (Civil War)
The University of Oregon is Oregon State’s fiercest rival as the proximity between the two campuses means many make the trip from Eugene to Corvallis and vice versa. The rivalry is also one of the oldest in college football as the teams have met 114 times since 1894. The winner of each year’s matchup takes home the Platypus Trophy, which was lost for 40 years until it was found in 2005. Oregon holds a 60-46-2 series lead and has won the last seven meetings.
13. Clemson vs South Carolina (Palmetto Bowl)
Unlike other college football rivalries the rivalry between Clemson and South Carolina runs much deeper than the gridiron. The two schools were founded 88 years apart as Clemson was founded in order to satisfy the agrarian movement’s request for more agricultural education after South Carolina refused to expand their agriculture program. On the field the two teams play in the longest uninterrupted series as the two teams first met in 1896 when the Gamecocks beat the Tigers 12-6. The Tigers have dominated the series since holding a 66-42-4 all-time lead. Clemson will try to extend their lead in the series and their current one game winning streak when the two schools play this year.
14. ULL vs ULM (Battle of the Bayou)
The Battle of the Bayou between UL- Lafayette and UL- Monroe began in 1951 and had taken place every year since 1953. UL- Monroe may have won the first meeting 13-6, but since then things have been tightly contested with UL- Lafayette holding a 26-24 all-time series lead. A traveling trophy in the shape of a wooden boot was added in 2002, which only furthered the bragging rights that came along with winning this game. The Battle of the Bayou is one of the fiercest rivalries in the Sun Belt, and a must see for any college football fan.
15. Ole Miss vs Mississippi State (Egg Bowl)
Every year the Rebels play their archrivals Mississippi State for the Golden Egg. This rivalry began when Mississippi State had to protect their goal posts with wooden chairs from Ole Miss fans. These two teams clash every year for the grand prize of being the coveted Egg Bowl victor. Ole Miss holds the edge in the all-time series 62-43-6 and will look to extend their lead when these two teams meet next.
16. Baylor vs TCU (The Revivalry)
TCU: By far their biggest & oldest rival, TCU and Baylor have battled over 110 times since 1899, and once shared the city of Waco Texas, until TCU’s main building burned down in a fire. They are now just 90 miles away, but the competition has never been fiercer. The epic battle in 2014, a 61-59 win by Baylor, will go down as one of the most exhilarating and exciting games ever, and we’re sure that the next few years will deliver some great ones as well!
17. Wisconsin vs Minnesota (Paul Bunyan Axe)
Each year the Minnesota Golden Gophers play the Wisconsin Badgers for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. The rivalry began in 1890 when the Gophers crushed the Badgers 63-0 and is the most played rivalry in FBS history. The two schools had played for the Axe every year since 1948 when it replaced the Slab of Bacon, which was stolen by Wisconsin in 1943. The Gophers lead the all-time series 59-57-8 and hope to hold off the Badgers and extend their slim lead this coming season.
18. Michigan vs Michigan State
The in-state rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State also holds high importance for Michigan fans and is the biggest game of the year right after The Game. The Wolverines and Spartans have played 107 times since 1898 and even though Michigan State has been winning more over the last few years, Michigan still dominates the all-time series 68-34-5. Michigan’s dominance has led to fans nicknaming Michigan State as “little brother,” which has not sat well with State fans.
19. California vs Stanford (The Big Game)
The Stanford Cardinal have been Cal’s arch rivals since 1892 making it the oldest college football rivalry in the West. The rivalry had produced many memorable moments over the years with the most famous coming in 1982 when the Cardinal band entered the field with time left to play as Cal returned the game-winning touchdown. Stanford holds the all-time series lead is taking home the Stanford Axe in 60 of the schools’ 117 meetings. If you can make it to only one Stanford game, then The Big Game is the one to see.
20. Georgia vs Georgia Tech
This interstate rivalry is often referred to as “clean, old-fashioned hate” and is played at the end of the season. If you got some pent up anger, then this is the game to let it all out because these fans just don’t get along.
21. Penn State vs Pittsburgh
The Panthers and Nittany Lions have been battling for Keystone state supremacy since 1893 when Penn State beat Pitt 32-0. The first meeting would be a sign of things to come as Penn State holds 50-42-4 all-time lead. The rivalry was once regarded as the fiercest in the northern half of the country. However, the rivalry lost a bit of steam recently as it has been dormant from 2000 to 2016. The Nittany Lions will look to pick up the W when the two rivals meet next.
22. Indiana vs Purdue (Old Oaken Bucket)
These two schools are the largest in Indiana, and their proximity makes for an intense inter-state rivalry. IU and Purdue have been competing for the Old Oaken Bucket (the trophy awarded to the winner of the matchup) in football since 1925. Because the schools are close, the respective fan bases often frequent the game regardless of the location, making this one of the most exciting games (and biggest parties) during the football season.
23. Auburn vs Georgia
The rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs is often referred to as the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.” The rivalry has earned this moniker due to the teams having met over a hundred times since 1892. There have only been three interruptions in the annual match-up, which occurred during World War I and World War II. This series is tied for the fifth most played college football series, making this very historic rivalry a fun game to watch.
24. Michigan vs Notre Dame
The Irish and Wolverines are the two winningest programs in college football history and as such their rivalry has been fierce over the years. While the two teams first met in 1887 when the Wolverines beat the Irish 8-0, the two did not begin to play regularly until the 1980s. The Irish trail the all-time series 24-17-1 and will look to close the gap when these two teams meet next.
25. LSU vs Arkansas (Golden Boot Trophy)
The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in 1991 and began a yearly matchup against Louisiana State University. The winner of the game receives the Golden Boot, a gold trophy combining the shapes of Louisiana and Arkansas to create a boot. Many of the games in this series hold serious weight in each school’s season such as the 2002 game in which the winner would represent the Western Division of the SEC in the championship game. The two teams are often evenly matched athletically speaking, making this one of the more interesting games to watch.