Fiercest College Sports Rivalries

All across the country, from sports to academics, there are striking rivalries between universities. With competition that is typically built upon geography and history, check out a few of the most passionate rivalries in college sports:

1. University of Alabama vs. Auburn University

University of Alabama and Auburn University are two of the largest public universities in Alabama. When these two teams throwdown, it is referred to as the “Iron Bowl,” citing Birmingham’s historic role in the steel industry. The first game was played in 1893, and there was so much tension between teams, they refused to face each other again for almost 60 years. In December of 1947, the Alabama House of Representatives passed a resolution encouraging the schools to get over their differences. Since then, they meet on the field every year around Thanksgiving.

2. University of Michigan vs. Ohio State University

Some followers call this football matchup simply, “The Game.” In the past, the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State University Buckeyes rivalry has gathered national interest. Both schools, located in the midwest, met in 1897 and have played each other annually since 1918. The location of the game has alternated between Columbus, Ohio and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Diehard fans at OSU prep for the game by covering the letter “M” on every sign, note, and poster around campus. Both teams have been wildly successful, playing each other in The Big Ten Conference Championship on 22 different occasions!

3. University of North Carolina vs. Duke University

Separated by only 10 miles along Tobacco Road, the rivalry between the University of North Carolina and Duke University is among the most intense in the country. Their prestigious reputations and differing campus cultures (Duke being a private school and UNC being a public college) contribute to the competitive nature between these two universities. The rivalry comes to a high on the men’s basketball court dating back to the early 1960’s.

4. University of Louisville vs. University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky Wildcats and University of Louisville Cardinals have one of the most intense college sports rivalries when it comes to men’s college basketball. The schools first matched up in 1913, but the rivalry didn’t spice up until the teams met in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Since then, the two schools play each year in late December or early January. The rivalry is especially passionate because both teams are consistently ranked amongst the most elite men’s basketball teams.

5. United States Military Academy vs. United States Naval Academy

The college football game between the USMA and the USNA exemplifies the passion of interservice rivalry of the United States Armed Forces. The game typically marks the end of the college football regular season and the final game of the season’s Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series, which also includes the United States Air Force Academy. This game has been nationally televised since 1945 and has been frequently attended by sitting U.S. presidents. No matter which team you root for, the game provides a time of celebration and gratitude for the players’ service to our country.

6. University of Texas vs. University of Oklahoma

Red River Rivalry refers to competition between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorn football teams. Played annually at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, the name of this showdown is derived from the Red River that forms part of the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma, which has caused a riff between the two states historically. (Ahem, the Red River Bridge War in 1931). With this highly anticipated game comes several traditions including the exchange of trophies and governors placing bets for beef. (You can’t make this stuff up).

7. University of Florida vs. Florida State University

When the two oldest public universities in the state of Florida come together to play football, people call it the “Sunshine Showdown.” The University of Florida and Florida State football rivalry started in 1958. Since the 1970’s, the game has usually occurred on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Both teams usually enter the game with high national rankings, only adding fire to this feud.

8. University of Kansas vs. University of Missouri

The college sports rivalry between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Missouri Tigers dates back to 1891. The sharp competition continues throughout both the football and basketball seasons. The rivalry is also known as the Border War and has historic roots from battles during the American Civil War.9. Harvard vs. Yale

9. Harvard vs. Yale

The Harvard and Yale football rivalry dates all the way back to 1894 when seven student-athletes from both schools died from collisions. Ever since then, the two schools have played each other over 120 times. Typically the clash between these universities is rooted in academics, but with their close proximity and competition for undergraduate prospects, the college sports rivalry is just as spirited.

10. Georgetown vs. Villanova

Ever since Villanova beat the heavily-favored Georgetown by 2 points in the NCAA Basketball Championship Game back in 1985, nothing has been the same between these two schools. Both schools are members of the Big East Conference, and as a result, fans of both schools face each other at least twice a year.

If you consider yourself a sports fanatic and hope to attend a school with a high dose of school spirit, be sure to keep these colleges in mind. Good luck on your college search, we’re sure you will be victorious!