It’s rivalry week in college football, as some of the most notable games involving longtime rivals takes center stage on the last big weekend. Now, there are a couple of weeks remaining in the season, but this week is the one that features some of the big rivalries in all of sports.
So when you are channel suffering, thumbing through the newspaper, or if you happen to hear me say a few things about some games that you’ve never heard of before, I thought I would take you through “rivalry week,” in my style. What I will do is name a certain rival game and give a little scoop of information about that particular game. So here we go!
The Civil War is a battle between Oregon and Oregon State (1894) - This great Northwest battle is for the Platypus Trophy, which depicts ,both schools’ mascots. In other words the trophy looks like a Duck and a Beaver!
The Apple Cup (1900) – 67-31-6 in favor of the Washington Huskies over their instate foe Washington State Cougars. The winner gets a trophy and bragging rights for the year.
The Iron Bowl (1893) – Alabama and Auburn get it on each year, and many feel this is the best rivalry in college football. Alabama has long been, and will always be, the TEAM of the state of Alabama. Auburn has had some success, and the best success they had was when Tommy Tubberville led the Tigers to six straight wins over the Crimson Tide while he was the AU Coach. I was able to attend perhaps the best game in this storied rivalry back in 2010 when Auburn came with Cam Newton as the Tide were the defending national champion. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on the faces of those Tide fans after they got beat after blowing a 24 point lead. And they won’t either! Bama leads the series 41-34-1.
Clean, old fashion hate goes down each year between the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech and the Bulldogs of UGA. The winner of the battle of Georgia wins the Governor’s Cup. Only 70 miles separate the campuses and this battle usually takes place Thanksgiving weekend. This year’s game has as much on the line as it has had in a long time. The Yellow Jackets have a shot at being in the BCS hunt, since they are playing in the ACC Title game and the UGA Dogs could play for the national title with a win over Alabama in two weeks.
The Egg Bowl (1901) – The Rebels and Bulldogs will meet for the 109th time this Saturday in Oxford as this Magnolia State rivalry has been going on since the early 1900’s. The rivalry is the tenth-longest uninterrupted series in the United States with the winner taking home the Golden Egg. UM leads the series 60-42-6, but the MSU Bulldogs from Starkville are on a three-game win streak. Echoes of Hotty Toddy can be heard on one side if those Cowbells from Stark-Vegas don’t get too loud!
The Bayou Classic – When it comes to battles on the gridiron the fan bases of both Grambling State and Southern University consider their annual Thanksgiving weekend battle the best there is. This battle of cats features a halftime battle of the bands that spills over from the night before. Bragging rights are very, very important to the Tigers and Jaguars Fans. Grambling leads the series 20-18. The series actually began back in 1936
Territorial Cup - Arizona versus Arizona State (1899) – The Duel in the Desert is a clash of the Wildcats and Sun Devils as they duke it out to see who will reign supreme in the state of Arizona. The Wildcats lead the series 47-37-1. The prize is the Territorial Cup which is certified as the oldest of it’s kind by the NCAA.
The battle for the Golden Boot – LSU takes on Arkansas as the Tigers and Hogs battle for the Golden Boot. There have been some wild games featuring fantastic finishes between these two over the years. However, for the first time in a while, this season’s game is only meaningful to the bowl-bound Tigers.
Bedlam Series – This series is the battle of the state of Oklahoma between the Sooners of Norman versus the Cowboys from Stillwater. The Cowboys have long been considered the “red headed stepchild” to the flagship Sooners.
Old Oaken Bucket (1891) – One of the most famous trophies in all of college sports is won when the Purdue Boilermakers battle the Indiana Hoosiers. Now, in hoops, the Hoosiers are the top dogs…but on the gridiron Purdue has dominated this series. Purdue leads the overall series (including games prior to 1925) 71-37-6 with the Boilermakers winning twelve of the last fifteen contests
Florida State versus Florida (1958) – This heated war was at its best when Bobby Bowden was on the FSU side and the “Old Ball Coach” Steve Spurrier was on the other. These two even played for the national title after facing each other in the regular season. UF leads the al time series 33-21-2.
Notre Dame vs. USC for the Jeweled Shillelagh Trophy (1926) – Notre Dame leads this series 43-34-5 with the Irish having a shot to play in the national title game this year with a win over their rival Trojans this Saturday.
Land of Lincoln Battle between Illinois and Northwestern – the Wildcats of Northwestern and the University of Illinois used to play for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk trophy which was a trophy was a carved wooden "cigar store" Indian. But that trophy was stolen and replaced by a replica of a tomahawk. The trophy derives its name from the official state nickname of Illinois and depicts a bronze replica of a stovepipe hat famously worn by Abraham Lincoln.
Clemson versus South Carolina (1896) – The Palmetto State rivalry is one of the most hated rivalries in all of sports. About 132 miles keep these Tigers and Gamecocks separated…which is a good thing, since these two schools and their fans just don’t like each other. The hate for each other is far too much to explain in a short blog, but let’s just say it involves politics (among other things) and other things which have fueled this rivalry. I’ve been to one of these before and it is fierce.
The Commonwealth Cup between Virginia and Virginia Tech – The battle for bragging rights in the state of Virginia comes down to a battle between the Hokies and the Cavailiers. Virginia Tech leads the series 51-37-5 but these two schools battle in all major sports as well.
Nebraska versus Iowa for the Heroes Trophy - The Huskers lead the series 27-12-3. Things have been far more interesting in this battle since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten, putting a lot more on the line when these two meet.