College football traditions have helped give the sport passion and depth. There are certain moments that football fans look forward to at the start of every season. Kicking the ball off on opening weekend, a traditional homecoming game, or even a particularly stirring pep rally. However, nothing gets the blood of college football fan boiling more than a meeting with their teams rival. Here are the six best college football rivalries from a fan’s point of view.
Michigan vs. Ohio State.
Two of the historically strongest teams in the Big Ten conference, Michigan and Ohio State meet every year on the last weekend of the Big Ten season. And whether the game is in Ann Arbor or Columbus, you are guaranteed to have more than 100,000 fans in the stadium. The height of the rivalry occurred from 1969-78 when Bo Schembechler coached Michigan and Woody Hayes led Ohio State. The 10-year war featured some of the most vicious and hard-hitting games in college football history.
Texas vs. Oklahoma.
The Red River Rivalry is played every year at the same time as the Texas State Fair in Dallas. While this would seem to favor Texas, it is not the same as playing the game in Austin and Oklahoma’s crimson-clad fans are there in equal number to Texas’s burnt-orange supporters. Throughout the years, the game has featured high-powered and explosive running games and bone-crunching defensive play.
University of Miami vs. Florida State.
This rivalry was at the center of college football during the ‘80s and ’90s. It not only featured one of the best annual coaching matchups between Miami’s Jimmy Johnson and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, the rivalry also featured some of the most athletic teams of that era. However, Florida State usually finished on the short end during the rivalry’s greatest moments.
Georgia vs. Florida.
Many people love college football because of the party atmosphere. While college football postseason bowl games are often paired with the most notable parties, the Georgia vs. Florida rivalry is often recognized as the biggest party in college sports. In fact, the game, played every year in Jacksonville, is known as the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party.” The Bulldogs and the Gators play with hate in their hearts and the game rarely disappoints.
Notre Dame vs. USC.
Most rivalries have some kind of geographic similarity, but this game has often represented midwestern power football against West Coast speed and quickness. One of the most notable games was the 1974 meeting in which the Fighting Irish jumped off to a 24-0 lead. However, USC registered a monster comeback led by tailback Anthony Davis, and won 55-24. In many years this game has had major National Championship and Heisman Trophy implications.
Harvard vs. Yale.
While both of these teams have long since fallen off the radar when it comes to winning National Championships, the rivalry between these two ancient Ivy League rivals is riveting. Their memorable 1968 matchup is considered one of the greatest games in college football history. Harvard and Yale were both undefeated entering the game and Yale led 29-13 with less than a minute remaining. But Harvard went on to score a touchdown and two-point conversion, recover an onside kick, score again, converted another two-point conversion and emerge with a 29-29 tie.