If there is one thing that is great about college football, it is the tradition that surrounds the game. This is often why many people enjoy college football over the NFL, because of the historic and heated rivalries that date back over 100 years ago.
Let's take a look and some of the best all-time rivalries in college football:
1. Michigan vs. Ohio State
This match up is considered possibly the greatest rivalry of all-time between all sports with the game usually deciding the Big 10 champion and usually having somewhat of an impact on the national championship game. Michigan leads the series 57-41-6 which began in 1897. The rivalry really intensified during the "Ten-Year War" from 1969 to 1978 when some of the programs best all-time teams faced off against each other.
2. Army vs. Navy
Navy leads this rivalry 52-49-7, which has been going since 1890. It is usually played on the first Saturday in December and the game really serves as bragging rights between the two services. Until end of the season conference championship games started being played, it was the last regular season game played in Division I-A football. Starting in 2009, the game will be moved from the first Saturday in December to the second Saturday once again making it the last regular season game of the year. It was during this rivalry match up in 1963 that instant replay was first used in college football.
3. USC vs. Notre Dame
What makes this rivalry so great is that both programs have been historically known to be one of the more prestigious programs in the nation. Each school has 11 national championships under it's belt. The intensity of this rivalry is quite impressive, considering these two teams are not in the same conference and are located so far away from each other.The Irish lead this series 42-33-5.
4. Harvard vs. Yale
The Harvard and Yale match up, also called “The Game”, dates back to 1875. It is the oldest college football rivalry to date, in which Yale leads 65-51-8 in this annual classic. For many students and alumni of Harvard and Yale, The Game is an important event. The schools are located only a few hours from one another and because they are among the nation's most prestigious colleges the rivalry is intense. Beating the rival is often considered more important than the team's season record. Since Ivy League schools do not participate in post-season football games, The Game is usually the final game of the season for each team. The Game is an inviting target for pranksters, most famously Yale's "We Suck" prank.
5. Texas vs. Oklahoma
Known as the Red River Rivalry or Red River Shootout, the river that forms the boundary between the states. Since 1932 the game has been held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, during the second weekend of October. As of 2008, Texas leads this series 58-40-5. What makes this match up so intense is the significance this game has on a conference and national level, as both Oklahoma and Texas traditionally come into the game being ranked.
6. Alabama vs. Auburn
Known as the Iron Bowl, Alabama leads this series 39–33–1 since the rivalry started back in 1893. The game was traditional played in Birmingham, Alabama, home to the Crimson Tide, because their stadium could seat more fans. Auburn's first true home game in the series was not until 1989, when expansions were made to their stadium to hold more fans.
7. Florida State vs. Miami
Although this rivalry is present in all sporting events between the two schools, the main focus of the rivalry is the football game that is played every year between these two. The Hurricanes lead this Florida series 30-23, dating back to 1951. This rivalry really intensifies when both teams come into the game being ranked, which has usually been the case over the last 20 years.
8. Notre Dame vs. Michigan
The Notre Dame and Michigan game was first played in 1887, the first year Notre Dame had a football team. Michigan leads the entire series 20-15-1. Michigan and Notre Dame football are considered to be among the most elite college programs. What makes this rivalry so great is that Michigan and Notre Dame respectively rank #1 and #2 in all-time wins and winning percentage.
9. Georgia vs. Auburn
The Georgia-Auburn game is known as the deep south's oldest rivalry. The first match up was in 1892 when Auburn defeated Georgia 10-0. Overall, Auburn leads the series 53–51–8. The rivalry is known to favor the visiting team, as the away team tends to fare better than expected. Since 1959, the visiting squad has a 29-16-2 record.
10. Florida vs. Florida State
Since 1990, one or both teams have often been highly ranked coming into the game, adding national championship implications to an already fierce in-state rivalry. The 1990s seemed to be the most intense decade in the Florida-Florida State rivalry, as each time the two teams met they were both ranked in the top ten of the nation. Florida leads this "Sunshine Showdown" 33-19-2.
11. Florida vs. Georgia
Any match up known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" deserves being considered as a top rivalry. The game takes place in Jacksonville usually on the last Saturday in October. Georgia leads the series 46-38-2, being very dominant at the beginning of the series that began in 1915. Since 1990 though, Florida has owned this rivalry.