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Top 20 All-Time Great Rivalries in College Football

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Top 20 Greatest College Football Rivalries of All-Time

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

What makes a College Football Rivalry?

Is it just because two teams have played for a long period of time...

Or is it because its the two largest schools in a state or region that has to be foes...

To be honest, there are probably more “Rivalries” in the game than everyone probably wants. Just like Bowl Games.

But to this sports writer a true rivalry has four or five common qualities.

One... It has to have lots of history. None of this new age, three-ring, video game-esque football.

Two... There has to be some hatred. Two teams could have played each other for 2000 years, but if there hasn’t been any bad blood spilled it just doesn’t count.

Three... It has to have some passionate fans. From the tailgate to the post parties on fraternity row, there better be some debauchery.

Four... The game has to mean something each year. Lives and jobs should ride on real rivalries.

Five.. The game has to be a must-see, stop what you are doing and watch event. In other words the birth of your first born can’t happen on a particular Saturday.

So there you have it...

A pretty easy list to follow right?

There is no doubt every team in all of college football has a game or two that are considered a rivalry, but only the elite make the cut.

It doesn't matter what boot or platter of biscuits your teams play for...

It must fit the five key points...

If it is missing one of the five, it’s simply just another game to the rest of the college football world.

So here is the official Top 20 Greatest Rivalries in College Football.

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No. 20 - Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

To be honest, one would have thought the great Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans would have began their rivalry sometime around the birth of Jesus.

But instead this big battle of the Big 10 began in 1953 to which the Wolverines lead the all-time series 35-23-2.

This is simply a lunch pail series.

No major drama...

No major craziness...

Just good ole fashioned hatred...

And that’s all you need sometimes when it comes to a great football rivalry.

It’s a game that gains the interest of the nation and to be honest it is a game that should have more drama to it...

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No. 19 - Army Black Knights vs Navy Midshipmen

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Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

A game that deserves your time and attention as a football fan each and every year has to be the battle between the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen.

This is the only game in the history of College Football where both teams could be winless and it’s still a compelling match up.

These two teams first played each other in 1890 and has been played annually since 1930. Navy leads the all-time series 57-49-7 in the tussle between the two oldest commission officer forces in the United States Military.

The hidden nugget in this gem of a game is that Instant Replay made its debut in the Army vs. Navy Game in 1963.

Yes...

The beginning of all the technology and advancements in the game of football began right here with this game.

But it’s still not the main reason why this is a must see and worthy of the Greatest Rivalry Games.

It’s the pride of America...

It’s the men and women in their finest dress uniforms...

And it’s a glimpse into the history of this country and the glorious history of this great game.

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No. 18 - Cal Golden Bears vs Stanford Cardinal

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Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first point in this list where half of the folks reading this have no clue what it means when one simple says The Play...

It is simply before their time...

And that is part of the tradition and history that makes the Cal Bears versus the Stanford Cardinal one of the Top 20 Greatest Rivalries in College Football.

So for all of you who have no idea about “The Play”, here you go...

The greatest Flee-Flicker in the history of College Football and a devastating day in the history of trombone players.

Referred to as The Big Game the Golden Bears and the Cardinal play for the right to own The Stanford Ax for the year.

Stanford hold a 58-46-11 lead in the series that began in 1892.

Both schools have had their ups and downs over the years, but when you put the longevity of the series and the fact these two have “The Play” its a rivalry second to none.

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No. 17 - Mississippi State Bulldogs vs Ole Miss Rebels

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Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Yes...

The Egg Bowl make the Top 20 Rivalries...

Why you ask...

The women of The Grove is reason enough to for the battle of Mississippi to be on this elite list.

But there is much more to that makes this series between the Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs...

And it starts with the now standard tradition of post-game celebrations...

In 1926, Ole Miss ended a 13-year losing streak by knocking off the Bulldogs 7-6 and celebrated by rushing the field to tear down the goal posts...

That’s right folks...

It wasn’t some crazy, drunk fool back in the 1980s...

It was in the glory days of the early years of the game...

To add to the mystique, then Mississippi A&M students took to the field with chairs and anything they could find to defend their goals.

It was not a pretty scene and in the next few months both schools agreed to create and play for the Golden Egg; a tradition that still stands today.

Overall, Ole Miss leads the all-time series 61-42-6.

And whether either team is a power in the SEC or not, it is a must attend game just for the beautiful women alone.

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No. 16 - Florida State Seminoles vs Miami Hurricanes

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This is a game that makes the list based purely on its history.

The Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes have played some of the most exciting and epic College Football games in the past 40 years.

For a good 25 years or more, the winner of this game put themselves in a chance to win a National Championship while the loser had to live with the “What If’s” for an entire year.

The terms “Wide Left” and “Wide Right” become part of every college fans vocabulary because of this rivalry.

The series began in 1951 and been played every year since. The Hurricanes lead the all-time match up 31-26.

No ties in this series against these hated rivals...

But the other thing that makes this battle so special is that the nation is willing to watch no matter what. The 2006 match up was the most viewed college football game EVER on ESPN and has consistently been a game that draws viewers. The 1994 game was No. 5 and the 2009 game was No. 2 contest for ESPN.

The fever has declined a bit over the past two seasons in this contest and that is the only reason it has fallen out of the Top 10.

But no matter how good or bad the ‘Nole or the Hurricanes are, this rivalry is college football and will forever be worth of being ranked as one of the elite games each and every season.

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No. 15 - Arkansas Razorbacks vs LSU Tigers

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Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas Razorback and the LSU Tigers?

Yes folks...

This game is simply nuts for a number of different reasons between two hated rivals.

The fans and residents of both Arkansas and Louisiana are second to none in their passion and their craziness.

Trust this guy because he worked with the Razorbacks for two years and got a chance to see the rivalry first hand on every level.

The series started in 1901 as the proud Tigers invited a little school north of them to come down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to a contest. LSU won that day 15-0.

The Arkansas Cardinals, yes the Cardinals, were mocked as the “Hogs” until a battle in 1909 that Arkansas won against the Tigers, 16-0. At that point, as legend has it, Head Coach Hugo Bezdek, exited the train back in Fayetteville, Arkansas and exclaimed his team played like a, “wild bunch of Razorback hogs.”

The student council voted in 1910 to officially change the name from the Cardinals to the Razorbacks.

The rest in the history of this rivalry is set in stone...

Or should it be said in the Golden Boot...

LSU leads the all-time series 36-20-2 in the contest that goes a long way in deciding the SEC West Champion.

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No. 14 - Tennessee Volunteers vs Florida Gators

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers and the Florida Gators are always one of the most watched SEC battles year in and year out.

And its a game that has a lot of controversy and even more bad blood...

The series began in 1916 with the Vols winning the first 10 games outscoring the Gators 193-56. But the last eight years have Florida on a eight game win streak where it has outscored Tennessee 250-126. All that drama has the Gators with a 23-19 all-time series lead.

Sandwiched in are the snarky comments by Steve Spurrier, Fax-gate in which former Tennessee coach Jack Sells faxed the Vols playbook to Ron Zook from a Kinkos and the idiocy that was the tenure of Lane Kiffin in comparison to Urban Meyer.

All that with the pressure of winning in the SEC Eastern Division.

Simply a classic southern battle and a rivalry second to none in all of college football.

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No. 13 - Clemson Tigers vs South Carolina Gamecocks

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Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for the Palmetto State comes in at No. 13 in the Top 20 Greatest Rivalries in College Football.

To say the Clemson Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks hate one another is one of the greatest understatements in the history of College Football.

The series began in 1896 and has seen 110 epic battles to which Clemson leads 65-41-4.

The most bizarre record in this rivalry came in 1943. Cary Cox signed and played for the Tigers in 1942 and helped the Tigers to a 18-6 win. His honor to his country took hold of him and he registerd for the V-12 program and was placed at South Carolina. While there he was ordered to play football and was named captain for the Gamecocks. Cox simply refused. But the Carolina Head Coach, Lt. James P. Moran quipped, “Cox, I can’t promise you’ll get a Navy commission if you play Thursday, but I can damn well promise that you won’t get one if you don’t play.” Cox played and led the Gamecocks to a 33-6 victory. Cox returned to Clemson after the war and became captain of the Tigers. He is the only player in the history to captain both schools.

From there, this series has seen a little bit of everything.

Just to put this rivalry into perspective, let’s take a look at the 1998 season.

Clemson entered the game at 2-8 and in last place in the ACC while South Carolina came into the game at 1-9 and in last place in the SEC.

There was about 85,000 fans packed into Death Valley, including this guy...

The banner read, “Clemson vs Carolina... Somebody had to win!”...

And it was a brutal battle just like both teams were undefeated and were playing for the National Championship.

That’s the heart of a rivalry...

No matter what, both fans pack the house and fight for their team until the buzzer sounds.

And the series has gotten even better as the years have gone by, especially now with the fire of Dabo Swinney and Steve Spurrier fighting each year.

A must see game for sure...

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No. 12 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs USC Trojans

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pedigree...

That is what you get when you talk about the history of the rivalry between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the USC Trojans.

Both schools have 11 National Championships and seven Heisman Trophies...

Both schools have combined for 21 College Football and NFL Hall of Famers...

The Trojans are No. 1 in all-time NFL Draftees with 472 and the Irish are No. 2 with 469...

This rivalry has produced five of the 10 most watched College Football games in the history of television...

These two teams simply have the pulse of the nation.

Legend has it that the wives of legendary Notre Dame Head Coach Knute Rockne and USC AD Gywnn Wilson. As the story goes, the Irish was looking for a west coast opponent and Ms. Rockne just loved the thought of taking a trip to sunny, warm California every two years. And everyone who is married knows the wifes have a way of getting what they want.

And for that, all of college football thanks these lovely ladies...

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 44-35-5 that began in 1926.

Just think about the players and the games that have played in this rivalry...

That alone is second to none to any other rivalry in the game.

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No. 11 - Oklahoma State Cowboys vs Oklahoma Sooners

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Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Bedlam...

There is no better name for a rivalry that begins with football and extends to every square inch of the state of Oklahoma.

The series began in 1904 between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys and is a classic rivalry of the big brother versus the feisty little brother.

The Sooners have been dominate holding a commanding 83-17-7 but six of the Cowboys wins have come in the past 18 meetings. Add to the fact Oklahoma State has been ranked in the Top 25 for seven straight years you can feel some things moving in this rivalry.

Plus, if you love offense, this is the game you have to watch. How about a 51-48, 47-41, 61-41 and a 38-35 game just to name a few of the past 10 years.

A lot of great NFL players have played on both sides of the ball in this game and is always one of the most watched games of the college football season.

And it has a legendary story too...

Oklahoma was a huge favorite in the 1954 game but could only muster a 14-0 win. The reason was credited to a team wide food poisoning outbreak on the Sooners. But, as legend has it, the Mob paid off a cook who slipped laxatives into the team soup setting up a huge payday for the gangsters in Vegas.

Folks say its not true, but if you try to Google and look up historical information of how the Sooners have done Against the Spread, you simply cannot find it.

Anytime a rivalry involves the Mob and Vegas it is a must to be included in the elite of all-time.

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No. 10 - Georgia Bulldogs vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports

Clean, Old Fashioned Hate...

Another classic reference to an epic yearly battle for the Peach State between the storied Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

You have Buzz...

You have UGA...

And you have a ton of history in a series that started in 1893.

Overall, Tech has collected four National Championships and 16 Conference Championship while being coached by a guy named John Heisman.

Georgia has won a pair of National Championships and 14 Conference Championships but leads the all-time series 62-40-5.

And if you want bad blood and fans who simply hate one another you have found your game.

The Jackets and the Dawgs have always been very chippy with each other...

During World War II, Georgia decided not to field a football team so that its boys could go and fight. Tech chose to continue with football as normal much to the anger of Bulldog fans.

The legend has it 1919 a student parade at Georgia featured a tank float with the words “UGA in Argonne” followed by a donkey with a banner that read “Tech in Atlanta”...

The Yellow Jackets immediately cut all ties with the Bulldogs and would have anything to do with their brothers to the east until 1925.

That’s just a glimpse into the hate that boils in the heart of Georgia.

And to this day, “To Hell with Georgia” and “To Hell with Georgia Tech” echoes on Thanksgiving Saturdays...

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No. 9 - Michigan State Spartans vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for The Megaphone Trophy is one the nation tunes into every year to see just how good the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan State Spartans are nationally.

The winner of this epic rivalry usually goes on to grand things for the remainder of the season.

The battle first began in 1897 and the Irish hold an all-time lead of 46-28-1 and 32-26-1 since the trophy was adopted.

And this series even has its epic moment simple titled The Game of the Century...

Played in 1966 it featured the Top Ranked Irish versus the Top Ranked Spartans. Yes, Notre Dame was No. 1 in one poll and No. 2 in the other, while Michigan State was No. 2 and No. 1 in those respective AP and UPI polls.

The game was an epic battle as the Irish fell behind early 10-0 but rallied to tied the game on the first play of the fourth-quarter. Notre Dame got the ball back with 1:10 to go and the ball on their own 30 yard line and only needed about 40 yards to attempt the game winning field goal. But Irish Head Coach Ara Parseghian chose to tell his team to take a knee preserving the No. 1 ranking and the only tie in the history of this great series.

Fans all over mocked, but the Spartans chanted “Tying Irish” and “Tie One for the Gipper”.

ABC chose not to air the game live that day but after receiving 50,000 angry letters, they showed in on tape delay.

An epic rivalry with a bigger than life epic game...

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No. 8 - Florida Gators vs Florida State Seminoles

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Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about National Champions and NFL talent over the past 25 years there are few teams as dominate as both the Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles.

Oh and the drama that has been this series since it started in 1958...

This is definately one of the crown jewels of College Football year in and year out.

A history of legends from Burt Renyolds and Bobby Bowden to Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow.

Just crazy history and even crazier games...

But the beginnings of this rivalry is where the hatred of this story lies...

Florida State College located in Tallahassee, Florida actually fielded a football team in 1902 and won State Championships each year it played. In 1905, the Buckman Act abolished co-educational Florida State College and rededicated it as Florida Female College that fall.

In addition, the Buckman Act abolished four smaller state schools and combined them as one large all-male school in Ganiesville, Florida. The then former Florida State College Head Coach Jack Forsythe took the coaching gig in Gainesville and fielded a team in 1906.

In 1909, the school in Gainesville officially became the University of Florida while the school in Tallahassee became Florida State College for Women.

Things remained this way until 1947 when the Florida Legislature reformed the educational system again allowing co-education creating Florida State University as everyone knows it today.

FSU immediately put together a football team and pushed for Florida to play them. The Gators refused saying it would diminish the funding and level of football in the state if they played the former all girls school.

Well, in 1955 the politicians got involved again, drafted legislation but still had to have then Governor LeRoy Collins to personally beg then Florida President J. Wayne Reitz to play. Both AD’s finally worked out a deal and for that College Football thanks you.

And the hatred between both still grows every day.

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No. 7 - Auburn Tigers vs Georgia Bulldogs

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John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

To say the Auburn Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs are mirror images is a tremendous understatement.

They are equals in every way...

They are the twin brothers who always seem to end up squaring off in an epic battle each year.

It’s a unique thing; it’s like playing your brother,” former Auburn Head Coach Pat Dye, who graduated Georgia in 1960 and coached Auburn from 1981-1992. “I don’t think anybody who plays in that game can ever forget it. It just doesn’t matter much where it’s played or what somebody’s record is. It’s so intense and tough, but at the same time, it’s family.

The first game between these two kicked off in 1892 in the 116 meetings since the series is tied at 54-54-8...

Dead even...

And that is why it is Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry...

That first game was played in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia and is where the War Eagle cry originated for Auburn.

Over the course of this rivalry, this game would be played in Macon, Georgia, Athens, Georgia, Columbus, Georgia, Savannah, Georgia and Montogmery, Alabama, over the first 70 years. In fact, Georgia would not make its first trip to the plain of Auburn, Alabama until 1960 in which the Tigers won 9-6.

Since then, this series has seen just about everything possible...

How can one forget UGA lunging to bite Auburn’s Robert Baker in that 1996 epic battle that went four overtimes until Georgia finally won 56-49. Hines Ward played every position and pretty much scored a touchdown every possible way in that game for the Bulldogs.

It’s just a special rivalry...

And it sure does feel like everyone at Auburn has a degree from Georgia and everyone in Athens has graduated from Auburn.

And it’s also a must watch game year in and year out making it one of the most elite rivalries in all of college football.

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No. 6 - Ohio State Buckeyes vs Michigan Wolverines

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of two of the greatest programs in all of College Football the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverine always come up at No. 1 or No. 2.

Both programs have been around for what seems like forever...

Both schools are equals...

Both schools simply despise one another...

And that’s what makes the Buckeyes and the Wolverines a perfect rivalry.

All time, Michigan leads 58-44-6 in the series that started in 1897. The Wolverines have an all-time record of 900-312-26, have 11 National Titles, three Heisman Trophies, 41 Bowl Games, five BCS Bowls, 20 Rose Bowls, 126 All-Americans and 42 Big 10 Titles

Not to be outdone, Ohio State has seven Titles, seven Heisman’s, 43 Bowls, 9 BCS appearances, 14 Rose Bowls, 130 All-Americans, 34 Big 10 Championships and an overall record of 825-315-53.

Tons of history between these two brothers of the Big 10.

This is a rivalry that is always a must see game year in and year out. It even has its Game of the Century in 2006 as then No. 1 Ohio State edged No. 2 Michigan 42-39.

Two powerhouses that all of college football is thankful to have as hated rivals.

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No. 5 - LSU Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide

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Crystal Logiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The series between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide began all the way back in 1895.

That’s right folks...

1895...

It’s easy to focus on where these teams have been over the past 10 seasons because this game basically determines the SEC Champion and the BCS National Champion.

That alone makes it one of the most important and pressure filled rivalry series ever in the history of the game.

Alabama does lead the series 47-25-5, but don’t let that number fool you. Since Bear Bryant’s retirement Bama only holds a 16-14-1 lead.

And add to this the fact Nick Saban has coached and won National Titles in the past 10 years at both LSU and Alabama and you have a the makings of a perfect rivalry.

The fans, the hate, the history, the betrayal...

It is all there making it one of the top five games you have to watch year in and year out...

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No. 4 - Texas Longhorns vs Oklahoma Sooners

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

What is there not to like about The Red River Shootout?

It is played at the legendary Cotton Bowl with the stadium split right down the middle and is the main attraction of the Texas State Fair.

Seriously, how great of a time is this game especially when you have two of College Football’s greatest teams in this epic rivalry.

The series began in 1900 before either team had their official mascots and nicknames. Texas leads the all-time series 59-43-5.

Since 1938, one or both of these teams have been ranked in the Top 25 63 years and in the Top 10 44 years.

That’s simply impressive and unmatched by any rival game in the nation.

Add the players and the importance of this game each and every year for both Big 12 dominance and National Championship contention, it is easy to see why it is one of the top five rivalry games.

Plus where else can you see a great football game with this much history and get a fried Snickers too...

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No. 3 - Georgia Bulldogs vs Florida Gators

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

College Football is hard pressed to find any two teams that simply hate one another more than the Georgia Bulldogs detest the Florida Gators.

And the feeling back from the Gators is equally mutual...

It’s such a nasty rivalry, neither team can agree on how many times they have actually played.

Florida claims there have only been 90 meetings in which Georgia leads 48-40-2. The Bulldogs claim 91 meetings in which they lead the Gators 49-40-2.

The game in question is actually the first game in this storied rivalry as Georgia recognized a 52-0 win over what was the University of Florida in Macon, Georgia in 1904. But the Florida Athletic Association claims that game was not valid as the Florida Legislature did not officially recognize the modern day University of Florida until 1906 making the 1915 game the first in this series.

Don’t you just love it when folks who hate each other argue...

The game took on its modern day nickname as the World’s Largest Cocktail Party after Bill Kastelz of the Florida Times-Union coined the phrase in the 1950s.

And in between and ever since you have had just about everything happen in this battle of bad blood.

Where do you start...

Lindsey Scott, Hershel Walker, Vince Dooley, Steve Spurrier, Emmitt Smith, Tim Tebow...

The Gator Stomp, A Big Deal and Fourth and Dumb...

Those are but just a few of the moments that make this one of the best, if not the best rivalry in the game.

Words cannot describe this game until you attend it...

Worlds cannot describe the hatred until you live and die it...

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No. 2 - Alabama Crimson Tide vs Auburn Tigers

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Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Does it get any bigger than the Iron Bowl and the hatred between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Auburn Tigers?

The answer is simply and emphatically NO!

A rivalry is when you have a fan that is willing to kill legendary trees of its rival at Toomer Corner and after a lengthy conversation on air explaining and apologizing his actions he still has to get in “Roll Damn Tide” before he ends.

He may have been going to prison, but his love for his school overcame him and he couldn’t help but to go down in glory praising his team...

Dedication folks...

Pure dedication and disdain for its rival...

The Iron Bowl started way back in 1893 at Lakeview Park in Birmingham, Alabama and it ended with a bang as the two schools couldn’t agree on whether it was the first game of 1893 or the last game of 1892.

And both schools have been fighting ever since...

They disagreed again in 1907 after Auburn Head Coach Mike Donahue treating to cancel the series because of the crazy and elaborate formations Bama Head Coach Doc Pollard. He ended up following through with his promise after both teams couldn’t agree on what to pay the players at the end of the game.

And neither team played again until the Alabama Legislature forced them to in 1948.

You have to love it when you hate your rival so much it takes a law enacted to force you to play them.

The first televised game in this series was in 1964 and it has been one of the biggest battles and most watched contest in all of college football since.

From Bear Bryant and Shug Jordan to Bo Jackson and Kenny Stabler to Nick Saban and Cam Newton this is a who’s who of College Football Hall of Famers.

And there is not enough time in the world to begin to list the epic plays that has made this simply the best rivalry in the south.

Bama leads the all-time series 42-34-1.

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No. 1 - Michigan Wolverines vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

And the winner of the Greatest Rivalry in all of College Football is none other than the battle between the Michigan Wolverines and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

First of all, this rivalry is the oldest in all of the grand game as the first game was played in 1887.

Cincinnati Bearcats played the Miami of Ohio Red Hawks and the North Carolina Tar Heels faced the Duke Blue Devils in 1888, but neither of those games can touch the mysique and the history of Michigan and Notre Dame.

As legend has it, George Winthrop DeHaven, Jr. and William Warren Harless, who had attended Notre Dame but were now at Michigan, contacted brother Paul DeHaven who was director of intramural athletics at Notre Dame about a grand new game call football.

As the story goes, DeHaven and Harless gathered the Wolverines and traveled to South Bend, Indiana where they taught Notre Dame the game before playing them on November 23, 1887.

Funny how simple and innocent the start of football was at both of these schools compared to where these grandfathers of the game are now.

The teams would play eight times over the next 20 years with Michigan winning all eight contests.

But what happened in 1909 is where the rivalry was born and both teams gained their identity as everyone knows them today.

Not only was 1909 the first win in this storied rivalry for Notre Dame, but it was also the year the Fighting Irish was born...

E.A. Batchelor was a sports writer for the Detroit Free Press opened his report as follows:

”Eleven Fighting Irishman wrecked the Yost machine this afternoon. Three sons of Erin, individually and collectively representing the University of Notre Dame, not only beat the Michigan team, but dashed some of Michigan’s greatest hopes and shattered Michigan’s fairest dreams” - Detroit Free Press, November 7, 1909.

Batchelor reportedly heard a Notre Dame player at halftime say to his teammates, “What’s the matter with you guys... You’re all Irish and you’re not fighting with a lick...

The rest they say is history...

And in the 40 games over this series to this date just about everything has happened.

National Title disputes, Heisman Trophy winners, big plays and bigger legends...

This rivalry simply has it all...

It’s not about the fact Michigan leads the all-time series 23-16-1...

It’s the history, the drama, the pageantry and the heros.

When it comes to the game of college football it would not be what it is today without either Michigan or Notre Dame...

And that is exactly why this rivalry is the greatest of all time...

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M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.