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NCAA Football

The Top 15 College Football Rivalries of 2014

The Top 15 College Football Rivalries of 2014

A.J. McCarron Alabama
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There is something incredible about a great college football rivalry. The game between two schools that absolutely hate each other becomes a must-win affair, and in some rivalries state bragging rights are on the line. After a lot of thought and a lot of great rivalries to choose from, here are my top 15 college football rivalries of 2014. With so many great rivalries, some great matchups just missed the cut.

15. Army-Navy

Noah Copeland Navy
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15. Army-Navy

Noah Copeland Navy
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The Army-Navy game, although not important today in terms of championship stakes, is one of the most anticipated games each season. The game hasn't really mattered since the early 1960s, but this game brings patriotism to a whole new level. The teams have met annually since 1930. Navy has dominated the series recently, winning 11 in a row.

14. UCLA-USC

Brett Hundley UCLA
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14. UCLA-USC

Brett Hundley UCLA
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The campuses of UCLA and USC are a bit more than 10 miles apart in Los Angeles, but the Bruins and Trojans have produced some of the game's greatest players and some of the greatest college football moments over the years. After dominating UCLA in the 2000s, USC has lost back-to-back games to the Bruins, both by double-digits.

13. Auburn-Georgia

Ricardo Louis Auburn
Shanna Lockwood-USA Today Sports

13. Auburn-Georgia

Ricardo Louis Auburn
Shanna Lockwood-USA Today Sports

The Deep South's oldest rivalry is one of the most evenly contested rivalries in the nation. Auburn holds a 55-54 series lead over Georgia with eight ties in between. None of these games were as dramatic as last year's contest. Down 38–37 with 36 seconds remaining, Auburn faced a 4th-and-18. Tigers QB Nick Marshall threw up a Hail Mary that was deflected by Georgia and caught by Auburn's Ricardo Louis for a touchdown. Auburn won 43-38.

12. Florida-LSU

Zach Mettenberger LSU
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12. Florida-LSU

Zach Mettenberger LSU
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No matter how good these two teams are coming into this matchup, Florida and LSU always play each other tough. The rivalry escalated in the 2000s as both the Gators and Tigers each won two national championships during the decade. The greatest games of this rivalry were from 2006-08 when both the Gators and Tigers were ranked in the top-15 in each of their three matchups.

11. Florida-Georgia

Mack Brown Florida
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11. Florida-Georgia

Mack Brown Florida
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"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" between Florida and Georgia is one of just three annual neutral-site games remaining. Florida owned Georgia in the 1990s and 2000s, winning 18 of 21 matchups, but the Bulldogs have won three in a row during this decade. The teams have met every season since 1926 except for 1944.

10. Florida State-Miami

Jameis Winston Florida State
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10. Florida State-Miami

Jameis Winston Florida State
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The series between Florida State and Miami has lost some luster because each program has struggled at times in the past 10 years, but it would be tough to top what both teams did in the past 25 years. At least one of these teams was ranked to begin the season from 1981-2006, 23 times one or both were in the top 10 and 12 times both were ranked in the top 10. The game has taken on added importance since 2004, when Miami joined the ACC.

9. Oregon-Stanford

Tyler Gaffney Stanford
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9. Oregon-Stanford

Tyler Gaffney Stanford
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The No. 1 rivalry in the Pac-12 today can be none other than Stanford vs. Oregon. These two teams have established themselves as the top teams in the conference recently, with one of the two winning the last five conference championships. Stanford has won the last two in this series, but both games have been tightly contested. The rivalry is the ultimate contrast of styles as Stanford is a physical team while the Ducks are a finesse team.

8. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State

Trevor Knight Oklahoma
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8. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State

Trevor Knight Oklahoma
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The Bedlam Series between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys has produced a number of very good games in recent memory, despite Oklahoma's domination of the rivalry. The Sooners currently have an 84-17-7 advantage in the series. One of the rivalry's best games came last season as Oklahoma went into Stillwater and upset Oklahoma State 33-24, denying the Cowboys a Big 12 Championship and a bid in the Fiesta Bowl.

7. Alabama-LSU

T.J. Yeldon Alabama
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7. Alabama-LSU

T.J. Yeldon Alabama
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From 2006 to 2013, Alabama and LSU have combined to win four of the previous 11 national championships. These two teams compete each year within the SEC West and produce some of the most physical games each season. The rivalry reached its peak during the 2011 season. After LSU defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa 9-6 in the regular season, these two teams met in the season's final game to decide the National Championship. Alabama won easily 21-0.

6. Clemson-South Carolina

Tajh Boyd Clemson
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6. Clemson-South Carolina

Tajh Boyd Clemson
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Clemson vs. South Carolina is one of the more highly anticipated non-conference matchups each year and is a rivalry that is filled with hatred. South Carolina owns a current five-game winning streak against Clemson, but the Tigers had a run where they won 16 of 21 matchups. The lowlight of this series came in 2004, when a brawl between the teams erupted after the game. In the aftermath, both teams self-imposed a bowl ban as punishment.

5. Notre Dame-USC

Leonard Williams USC
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5. Notre Dame-USC

Leonard Williams USC
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The only true intersectional rivalry in the nation, Notre Dame and USC have been two of college football's most storied programs in the sports history. The teams have a rich history of important meetings going way back to the 1920s and the 1930s. The winner of the ND-USC game won the national title each season from 1928 and 1932 and combined to win eight national titles between 1962 and 1978.

4. Florida-Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin Florida
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4. Florida-Florida State

Kelvin Benjamin Florida State
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Florida won 16 of the first 19 games against Florida State, but the series is 12-12-1 over the past 25 meetings. The rivalry was at its best in the 1990s. In each matchup from 1990-2000 (13 games counting bowl games), both teams were ranked in the top 10 and the winner played for the title six times. In 1996, Florida State defeated Florida in the regular season, but Florida defeated Florida State in the Sugar Bowl to claim the national title.

3. Oklahoma-Texas

Jaxon Shipley Texas
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3. Oklahoma-Texas

Jaxon Shipley Texas
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The Red River Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas is one of just three annual neutral-site games remaining. The Cotton Bowl, the venue for the game, is split evenly among Longhorns and Sooners fans at the 50-yard line. The Sooners have won nine of the past 14 matchups in the series, but Texas pulled off an emotional upset last season in Mack Brown's final game against Oklahoma. The game has been played every season since 1929.

2. Michigan-Ohio State

Devin Gardner Michigan
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2. Michigan-Ohio State

Devin Gardner Michigan
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Michigan was 12-0-2 in the first years of their rivalry with Ohio State, but since then, the record stands at 46-46-4 with Ohio State winning 11 of the past 14 matchups. The rivalry was intense from the beginning, but it became even more venomous in 1969 when Michigan hired Bo Schembechler as coach (he was a protege of Ohio State coach Woody Hayes), starting the "10-Year War". The teams have met annually since 1918.

1. Alabama-Auburn

Dee Ford Auburn
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1. Alabama-Auburn

Dee Ford Auburn
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"The Iron Bowl" easily is the greatest rivalry in college football today. There are no pro sports in Alabama to take the spotlight off these programs, so the Alabama-Auburn game is discussed for 364 days a year. In the past five seasons, the winner of this game has played in each of the past five national title games. Alabama went on to win three titles while Auburn claimed one and narrowly lost another.

Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.