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NCAA Football

History of Top 15 Rivarly Games During College Football Rivalry Week

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History of Top 15 Rivalry Games of College Football Rivarly Week

iron bowl
John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

College football rivalries mean more to a program than just a win or a loss on the record books. It’s about bragging rights over a rival program that is more often than not butting heads with you at every turn. Whether it’s on the field, in conference standings or on the recruiting trail, rivals have a way of getting after each other at every opportunity.

That is what makes this week so much more special in college football. For the final week before Championship Week, many of college football’s best rivalries are taking place across the country. Many of them are in-state foes with players who have been squaring off against each other since they were old enough to put on pads. Others are border-rivalries that can lead to in-roads being developed for recruiting in enemy territory. Others are just about storied programs going after the same prize.

Whatever makes them rivals, however, isn’t important. What is important is the extra fire and passion that comes with these contests. For fans, coaches, and players, this isn’t just about beating a team on the scoreboard; it’s about beating their opponent in every way imaginable. It’s about taking bragging rights by beating up the other guy because, frankly: They just don’t like each other.

This week breeds a lot of passion and trash talk but it’s important to know what you’re talking about before you start mouthing off about one program being the “little brother” of another. Most of these games have deep and rich histories that have shaped the special place of hatred that both sides hold for each other. With that being said, let’s run down the history of the top 15 rivalry games during college football rivalry week.

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15. Virginia Tech (7-4) vs Virginia (2-9)

commonwealth cup
Peter Casey - USA TODAY Sports

Commonwealth Cup

All time: Virginia Tech 52-37-5

Last season: Virginia Tech 17-14 in Blacksburg

The Hokies hold a commanding edge in this rivalry and have only tightened their grip on it over the years. Since both became members of the ACC, Virginia Tech is a perfect 9-0 against Virginia. With the way both teams are looking, it doesn't look like the Cavaliers have much chance to turn this rivalry back around.

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14. Kansas (3-8) vs Kansas State (6-5)

governors cup
Scott Sewell - USA TODAY Sports

Governor's Cup

All-time: Kansas 64-41-5

Last 10: Kansas State 6-4

Last season: Kansas State 56-16 in Manhattan

While the annual battle for the state of Kansas doesn't get a lot of national attention, it is the fifth longest continuous series in FBS. While the Jayhawks own the historical edge in the series, the Wildcats have come on strong in recent history. The Cats have won four straight in this series as they've won six of the last 10 dating back to 2003. Before that, they rattled off 11 straight wins against Kansas from 1993-2003 for the longest streak in the series.

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13. Arkansas (3-8) vs LSU (8-3)

golden boot
Nelson Chenault - USA TODAY Sports

Golden Boot

All-time: LSU 36-20-2

Last 10: LSU 7-3

Last season: LSU 20-13 in Fayetteville

While not the longest-running rivalry in college football, this one makes up for with a huge statue made of gold. LSU has historically dominated this rivalry and continue to press their advantage over Arkansas as they play for SEC and National titles while the Hogs struggle to get to the top of their division. It'll take quite a bit for Arkansas to wrestle control of this border-rivalry away from the Tigers but don't expect it to happen too soon.

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12. Ole Miss (7-4) vs Mississippi State (5-6)

egg bowl
Spruce Derden - USA TODAY Sports

Egg Bowl

All-time: Ole Miss 59-44-6 (includes two games later forfeited by Mississippi State)

Last 10: Even 5-5

Last season: Ole Miss 41-24 in Oxford

The Rebels and Bulldogs have been fighting over the state of Mississippi for quite some time. In fact, the Egg Bowl is the 10th longest uninterrupted rivalry series in college football. The Rebels hold the lead in the all-time rankings but it's a pretty slim margin and the two have been back and forth evenly over the last decade. While these two teams aren't regularly in the national discussion these days, they always bring their best for rivalry week.

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11. Georgia (7-4) vs Georgia Tech (7-4)

clean, old-fashioned hate
Daniel Shirey - USA TODAY Sports

Clean, Old-fashioned Hate

All-time: Georgia 63-40-5

Last 10: Georgia 9-1

Last season: Georgia 42-10 in Athens

When you put "hate" right in the name of the game, you know that it's going to be a big rivalry. The Bulldogs own the head-to-head matchup all-time and have dominated it over the last 30 years. Since 1980, the Yellow Jackets have won this game just eight times and only once in the last decade. But if you're counting hardware, Georgia Tech holds the edge with four national titles to Georgia's two.

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10. Washington (7-4) vs Washington State (6-5)

apple cup
James Snook - USA TODAY Sports

Apple Cup

All-time: Washington 67-32-6

Last 10: Even 5-5

Last season: Washington State 31-28 OT in Pullman

Historically, the Huskies have dominated this series winning 35 more games than the Cougars over the span of their rivalry. UW has also out-performed WSU routinely on the national stage with eight Pac-12 titles to Wazzu's two, 14 Rose Bowl appearances (with seven wins) to Washington State's four Rose Bowl games (with one win). The Huskies also have a pair of national titles on their mantle but the Cougars can give UW plenty of trouble. The series is split evenly over the last 10 with the Cougs on the rise as they got bowl eligible for the first time since 2003 while UW hasn't won more than seven games since 2001 and are trying to avoid their fourth-straight seven-win season.

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9. Oregon (9-2) vs Oregon State (6-5)

civil war
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Civil War

All-time: Oregon 60-46-10

Last 10: Oregon 7-3

Last season: Oregon 48-24 in Corvallis

The Civil War is the 7th most played rivalry game in college football and the games between the Ducks and Beavers can get pretty wild. There has been a history of this game going back and forth with the home team winning every game from 1997 to 2006. But Oregon has pulled away in recent years and won five straight in this series as well as emerging on the national scene as a Pac-12 power. The Ducks currently hold six conference titles, six Rose Bowl appearances (with two wins) and a BCS National Championship appearance in 2010. Oregon State, meanwhile, has just two Pac-12 titles and three Rose Bowl berths (with one win) but they do have a Heisman Trophy winner (Terry Baker, 1962) to boast over their rivals from Eugene.

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8. Duke (9-2) vs North Carolina (6-5)

victory bell
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Victory Bell

All-time: North Carolina 55-36-4

Last 10: North Carolina 8-2

Last season: Duke 33-30 in Durham

Fun fact: Duke and North Carolina don't just play each other in basketball. The football rivalry is alive and well, too, though the Heels have dominated the series in recent memory. In addition to holding the edge in the all-time series, North Carolina has only lost twice to the Devils since 1990. But one of those losses came last season and Duke is looking strong in 2013. Could the Dukies be ready to turn the tide in the battle over the Victory Bell?

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7. Florida (4-7) vs Florida State (11-0)

florida cup
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Florida Cup

All-time: Florida 34-21-2

Last 10: Florida 7-3

Last season: Florida 37-26 in Tallahassee

The Florida Cup is a historical heavyweight rivalry that has often been a determining factor in the national title picture. From 1990-2000, every meeting between these two programs featured both schools ranked in the AP top-10 and the winner of six of those contests went on to compete for the national title that season. in their history, the Gators hold the edge in hardware with three national titles to FSU's two, but the game is once again relevant to the national championship discussion. The Noles appear ready to add to their trophy case and close the gap with their rivals in this heated series.

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6. Ohio State (11-0) vs Michigan (7-4)

the game
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The Game

All-time: Michigan 58-44-6

Last 10: Ohio State 8-2 (includes vacated 2010 win)

Last season: Ohio State 26-21 in Columbus

For the most part, it doesn't matter what Michigan and Ohio State do the rest of the season as long as they win The Game. The Wolverines hold the all-time edge in this series but it has been the Buckeyes' who have controlled it more recently. As two programs with loads of history, UM keeps a lead over Ohio State with 11 national titles, 42 Big Ten titles and 20 Rose Bowl appearances. The Buckeyes are just behind them with seven national titles, 34 Big Ten titles and 14 Rose Bowl games.

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5. Notre Dame (8-3) vs Stanford (9-2)

stanford vs nd
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All-time: Notre Dame 18-9

Last 10: Notre Dame 7-3

Last season: Notre Dame 20-13 OT in South Bend

While it seems like Notre Dame has a rivalry with just about everyone at this point, that shouldn't take away from what has become a must-watch contest in recent years. The Irish have more history on their side than almost anybody but the Cardinal are making strides of their own. While the Irish still hold a strong edge in the head-to-head series, Stanford has won three of the last four and only lost last season on a controversial goal-line stand by the Notre Dame defense in overtime. The back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010 were the first consecutive wins ever for Stanford against Notre Dame.

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4. UCLA (8-3) vs USC (9-3)

battle for la
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Battle for Los Angeles

All-time: USC 46-29-7 (including two vacated wins)

Last 10: USC 8-2

Last season: UCLA 38-28 in Pasadena

The Trojans have run the West coast for much of their history but the Bruins are making strides to close the gap. Last season's win was huge for a program that had struggled to get out from under the "little brother" shadow of mighty USC. UCLA has been known to get hot against their cross-town rivals, winning a series-high eight straight games from 1991-1998. But they still have a long way to go to catch up with the storied Trojan program which leads all of college football with 34 Rose Bowl appearances. UCLA is stuck at just 12.

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3. Arizona (7-4) vs Arizona State (9-2)

territorial cup
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Territorial Cup

All-time: Arizona 47-38-1

Last 10: Arizona State 6-4

Last season: Arizona State 41-34 in Tucson

The Duel in the Desert is a criminally overlooked rivalry game in the Pac-12 as the Arizona schools take it to each other to see who can claim superiority in the state. The Wildcats have won more head-to-head games than the Sun Devils, but ASU has accomplished more as a member of the Pac-12. The Devils have been to two Rose Bowl games (winning one) and won a conference title in the last 20 years. Arizona, meanwhile, has never gone to the Rose Bowl and managed a co-championship back in 1993.

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2. Clemson (10-1) vs South Carolina (9-2)

palmetto bowl
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Palmetto Bowl

All-time: Clemson 65-41-1

Last 10: Even 5-5

Last season: South Carolina 27-17 at Clemson

The season-ending rivalry game to decide supremacy over the state of South Carolina is a long-standing tradition that can get explosive. The Palmetto Bowl is the longest uninterrupted college football series played in the South and the second longest in all of FBS. No matter the records coming in, these two teams always seem to play each other tight with 40 games in this series being decided by seven points or less.

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1. Alabama (11-0) vs Auburn (10-1)

iron bowl
John David Mercer - USA TODAY Sports

Iron Bowl

All-time: Alabama 42-34-1

Last 10: Auburn 6-4

Last season: Alabama 49-0 in Tuscaloosa

There's no need to sell the ferocity or importance of the annual Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn as both teams do a fine job of it themselves. It is a fierce rivalry in the heart of the SEC with the balance of power shifting back and forth regularly. While the Tigers may have won six of the last 10 games in this series, it has been the Tide who has won four of five. Winning this game has taken on even greater significance lately as the last four winners of the Iron Bowl have gone on to win the BCS National Championship Game. But while Auburn is just eight games back of Bama in the head-to-head record, they are a long ways behind the Tide in hardware. Alabama boasts 23 SEC titles and 15 national titles to Auburn's seven SEC title and two national titles.