By Ed Morgans @writered21 on June 24, 2014
There is nothing in the sports' world quite like a rivalry game in college football. They produce moments and images that live on for generations. Just think of "The Play" between Cal and Stanford, or "The Return" between Auburn and Alabama. The result of the game lasts with fans until the teams meet again. College football realignment has ruined some rivalries, but there are still 10 that are filled with more hate than the rest.
Notre Dame and USC got together in one of the first national rivalries that wasn't just a local skirmish or a border war. With alumni all over the country, the Fighting Irish and Trojans have a game that is pointed to on the national calendar each year by millions of people. Notre Dame has won two straight in the series, but the Trojans dominated the 2000s, winning eight straight from 2002-09.
These teams are no longer conference rivals due to Missouri's jump to the SEC, but when they were, this was one of the most bitter rivalries in the country, one that goes back to a blood feud between the states in the 1800s. Missouri has won three straight in the series, and has had the much better program in recent years, but the programs haven't met since 2011. Something should be done to get these teams back on the field again.
Another rivalry currently in dormant status that was so hate-filled it needs to be included here is Texas vs. Texas A&M. The teams featured in a traditional Thanksgiving weekend battle for decades. But with Texas A&M leaving for the SEC (after, it should be said, Texas flirted with the Pac-12), this series isn't supposed to resume anytime soon, which is a real shame. These are two schools that should play every year, no questions asked.
Outside of the Pacific Northwest, many college football fans might not understand how much of a big deal the Apple Cup is. The annual game between Washington State and Washington doesn't get the pub of an Alabama-Auburn or a Michigan-Michigan State, but it is every bit as intense. The Huskies have won four of the last five in the series, and lead the all-time series, 60-30-4.
Simply put, the rivalry between the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers is all about one man -- Nick Saban. He was at LSU and won a national championship there. After leaving for an ill-fated and short tenure running the Miami Dolphins, Saban returned to the SEC, but this time, at Alabama. There, he's won three national titles, including a 21-0 demolition of LSU in a BCS title game at the end of the 2011 season.
The hatred between the Gamecocks and Tigers has spilled out on to the field in recent years, with altercations between players marring otherwise tough, physical games between the two schools. For all of the Tigers' recent success, the one thing Clemson hasn't been able to do is beat South Carolina, and Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier will let anyone know that any time. South Carolina has five in a row in the series, all by double-digits.
For years, the unofficial state championship of Florida was also the deciding factor in the national championship race, as the Hurricanes and Seminoles spent many years at the top of the rankings and their games with each other were epic, often decided by the failure in the clutch of a Florida State kicker. These days, it's been almost all Seminoles, as they have won four straight and seven of nine in the series.
There is no shortage of hatred in the Civil War between the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers, teams that often take great pleasure in ruining the other's chances at a special season. Oregon has had the upper-hand of late, winning six straight, including a 36-35 decision last season. The Ducks have scored at least 36 points in each of those games. But OSU has some famous wins and the teams meet again at Oregon State on Nov. 29.
The rivalry between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines is one so venomous that the schools refuse to acknowledge each other. For Buckeye fans, Michigan is just that school up north that shall not be named. To Wolverine fans, you don't dare mention Ohio at all. Their game decided the Big Ten each season for decades, making it the "Big 2 & The Little 8." The battles between UM's Bo Schembechler and OSU's Woody Hayes are legendary.
Big Ten fans won't want to hear it, but the most hate-filled rivalry in the country is Auburn vs. Alabama, and there's no real doubt about it. From poisoning trees to putting Auburn jerseys on Bear Bryant's statue, to the crazy folks who regularly call in to Paul Finebaum's radio show, there is nothing in the nation like this rivalry, especially with it having national championship implications the last five seasons. It is simply the best.
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