Top 10 College Rivalries
By Aimee Hosler May 7, 2012
The guts. The glory. The bragging rights. College rivalries (on and off the field) are as much a part of the college experience as, well, going to college in the first place. They keep things interesting, even if they get a little fiery at times. Most schools have them, but a few stand out above the rest, whether for their historic significance, their ferocity - or something else. Here are 10 of the best college rivalries of all time.
Duke it out: 10 ferocious college rivalries
1. Kansas vs. Missouri
If you want to witness a truly historic rivalry, head to a KU-MU game sometime! The feud dates back to the Civil War when Missouri, a slave state, launched border raids against Kansas, a free state, eventually burning the town of Lawrence where KU is located. Today's fan rivalry is less bloody, but only marginally so.
2. UCLA vs. USC
Two great schools separated by just 12 measly miles? Sounds like a rivalry in the making, and it is. The winner of each game brings home the Victory Bell (and bragging rights) until the next rally.
3. Ohio State vs. Michigan
These two teams have been battling it out since 1897, and their rivalry is so famous (or infamous) that it is now simply known as "The Game." When a school has officially designated one week a year as "Beat Michigan Week," you know it is a legit rivalry.
4. West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh
When a rivalry is coined "The Backyard Brawl," you know things are going to get ugly. This series dates back to 1895 and springs from sheer proximity: Just 70 miles separate the two schools.
5. USC vs. Notre Dame
USC certainly makes its rounds among some of college's most intense rivalries, and the USC vs. Notre Dame feud is just another example of that. It is only natural: these teams represent two of the biggest, most elite programs in college sports. The winner claims the Jeweled Shillelagh trophy.
6. Brigham Young University vs. Utah
The tension between these two Utah programs is thick enough to earn the title, "The Holy War," a nod to BYU's Mormon roots.
7. Alabama vs. Auburn
If you follow college sports, you've undoubtedly heard of the Iron Bowl, an Alabama and Auburn match-up dating back to 1893. The rivalry has become so intense that in 2010 an Alabama fan faced felony charges for poisoning oak trees on the Auburn campus.
8. Indiana vs. Purdue
Indiana vs. Purdue is a rivalry of proximity that spans all sports and academic competitions between the two schools. Purdue may have more wins overall, but Indiana has more championships under its belt, facts that serve as fodder for raging fans on either side of the aisle.
9. Oklahoma vs. Texas
Oklahoma and Texas weren't always part of the same conference, but that never hindered this rivalry (known as the Red River Rivalry), which dates back to the 1900s. Match-up winners claim one of three shootout trophies, the most famous of which is the Golden Hat.
10. Army vs. Navy
Don't let the disciplined pre-game cadet march fool you: This brawl -- dating back to the late 1800s -- isn't always pretty. Still, in the name of service and camaraderie, both winner and loser join together to sing each other's alma-maters following the game.
Define your own college experience
Truly epic college rivalries are the stuff of legend, but not everyone loves competition (healthy or otherwise). That's okay -- there is more to a school than its athletic traditions. Even students attending online colleges can find ways to connect with their colleges (and fellow students), if only in the virtual world. That connection is important because it boosts your commitment to your school, but also to your academic achievement. That, dear friends, is how everyone wins.
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