Wednesday, September 9, 2009

College Football's Biggest Rivalries

For years, I keep asking myself, why do I waste my time paying attention to college football since this is the only major sport that doesn't have a playoff system to decide a national championship?

The NCAA will always attempt to justify that it doesn't want disrupt its bowl system which is fun to watch during the holiday season, in addition to the fact that NFL scouts earn their money trying to find talent. Yet, the lower divisions do have a playoff system to determine their champion.

If the NCAA had any sense, it would keep its bowl system intact and just take the top four teams in the country and go with a 1-4, 2-3 format and add one extra game to decide its champion. To determine this champion by the opinion of writers and computers is absurd.

But since that doesn't figure to happen anytime soon, aside from my association with the FAU Owls, there is one other reason that I enjoy watching college football.

If there is one thing good about all sports is fans and the media can appreciate a good rivalry.

The TV Networks enjoy broadcasting the games because it attracts great ratings.

Here is a list of the top 30 broken down into two classifications. There are the national and in state match-ups. I encourage any reader and fan to e-mail me to provide their feedback.

The Best National Rivalries include:

Michigan Vs Ohio State.
Michigan Vs Notre Dame.
Texas Vs Oklahoma
Florida Vs Georgia
Army Vs Navy
Oklahoma Vs Nebraska
Tennessee Vs UCLA
Tennessee Vs Florida
Michigan Vs Penn State
LSU Vs Alabama
Ohio State Vs Alabama
Notre Dame Vs USC
USC Vs Michigan
Miami Vs Notre Dame
Florida Vs LSU

The Best Instate Rivalries include:

Florida Vs Florida State
Auburn Vs Alabama
Florida State Vs Miami
Michigan Vs Michigan State
Georgia Vs Georgia Tech
Texas Vs Texas A&M
California Vs Stanford
Clemson Vs South Carolina
Louisville Vs Kentucky
Oklahoma Vs Oklahoma State
Arizona Vs Arizona State
Penn State Vs Pittsburgh
Virginia Vs Virginia Tech
North Carolina Vs NC State

It will be interesting to see what new rivalries develop as newer college football traditions develop. Once FIU develops a competitive program, there meetings with FAU will be more meaningful. A couple years ago, a major brawl at the Orange Bowl between Miami and FIU gave both schools national publicity neither wanted as both teams recruit the same high schools thus developing the natural hatred amongst themselves.

My alma mater the University of South Florida (USF) has an I-4 rival against the University of Central Florida. Both schools are starting to send players to the NFL. Last season with the Bulls ranked No. 6 in the country, FAU lost an exciting 35-23 contest. Lockhart Stadium was a sellout.

Fifty percent of the crowd was sporting the green and gold of USF while the other 50% was wearing the red, white and blue of FAU.

Look for FAU and Miami to meet down the road as Howard Schnellenberger faces the university that he led to national prominence by guiding the Hurricanes to a 1983 national championship.

Alabama-Birmingham has two great potential rivalries with Alabama and Auburn. I enjoyed watching Delaware and Delaware State face each other for the first time ever in last years Division 1A playoffs.

I haven't found many quality football rivalries in the Northeast because that area is known for college basketball. Perhaps if the Big East wins a national championship, then by the next time I write a column like this, the list will change.

In the meantime, the biggest rivalry on the East Coast in any sport is the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at


Roby said...

Are these rivalries listed in order? If so, I have to argue that UM-FSU should be ahead of UF-FSU, if not at the top. As a man who was an FSU fan who was born and raised in Miami (family of Canes fans), then attended UF (obviously becoming Gator bit, changing my allegiance), I have seen all sides for the past 25 years or so.

Grading a rivaly on national significance (championship implications), greatness of games (Wide Right I,II,III, and a Wide Left for good measure), and blood hatred (some 95% of all players in a UM/FSU game played with or against those guys in high school or earlier-that's because 95% of recruits come from in-state), you have to put UM-FSU #1.

In the last 25 years, the two teams combined have 7 National Titles, and played in 14 Championship games. In that time, they have been second to none in producing NFL talent. And currently boast the most NFL players of any school (UM-47, FSU-37 as of 2008 season).

I was gonna say more, but work got too busy. boo

Scott Morganroth said...

These rivalries are not in a particular order. They're just ones that standout. I'm sure there are great memories with all of them and it would be easy to debate me all day long about which order should be changed depending on the geographic region as well as to allegiances. Although I do admit, the Michigan--Ohio State game is tops on my list.

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