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10 Best Rivalries in College Football: Iron Bowl, Army-Navy and more

College football is known for its intense rivalries, which often have a long and storied history dating back to the late-19th century or early-20th century.

Here we run through the most significant rivalries in all of college football.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

  • First Meeting: October 16, 1897 (Michigan 34, Ohio State 0)
  • Total Meetings: 118
  • Record: Michigan Leads (60-51-6)

As one of the most decorated and storied rivalries in the sport, these two teams truly do hate each other on a yearly basis. 

There have been stretches in which one team was much more dominant than the other, but right now, these schools are at their peak of playing level which makes the matchups even more exciting.

Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen

  • First Meeting: November 29, 1890 (Navy 24, Army 0)
  • Total Meetings: 123
  • Record: Navy Leads (62-54-7)

The Army-Navy game is always one of the most watched college football games of the season, and not just because it’s an honor to watch these men play together on the field as is. 

The actual level of play is truly impressive and fans can count on this rivalry sticking around forever.

Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

  • First Meeting: February 22, 1893 (Auburn 32, Alabama 22)
  • Total Meetings: 87
  • Record: Alabama Leads (49-37-1)

The Iron Bowl is always a game that fans from all over the country tune in to watch. 

It has produced some of the most exciting finishes in college football history and records can basically be thrown out the window when these schools get together.

Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

  • First Meeting: November 22, 1958 (Florida 21, Florida State 7)
  • Total Meetings: 66
  • Record: Florida Leads (37-27-2)

Yet another in-state rivalry, this one happens to be between the two oldest public universities in the state of Florida. 

This rivalry has been uber-competitive for years now and, based on each teams’ trajectories at the moment, should remain that way.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

  • First Meeting: October 26, 1895 (West Virginia 8, W.U.P. 0)
  • Total Meetings: 105
  • Record: Pittsburgh Leads (62-40-3)

The Backyard Brawl, as it’s known as, is one of the oldest football rivalries in existence - the 14th oldest, to be exact. 

The matchup was put on hiatus after Pitt joined the ACC in 2011, but as of 2022, the game is back in the fold.

Oklahoma Sooners vs. Texas Longhorns

  • First Meeting: October 10, 1900 (Texas 28, Oklahoma 2)
  • Total Meetings: 118
  • Record: Texas Leads (63-50-5)

Formerly known as the Red River Shootout, the Red River Showdown, as it’s now called, features two of the nation’s most prominent universities. 

The game is even traditionally played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, and a rivalry game with an official natural site puts into perspective how big this really is.

USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • First Meeting: December 4, 1926 (Notre Dame 13, USC 12)
  • Total Meetings: 93
  • Record: Notre Dame Leads (48-37-5)

This is always a fun and interesting matchup as these teams typically have different playstyles and are also located quite a way from each other. 

The first meeting being decided by a mere one point is proof of how competitive this game is whenever these schools get together.

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators

  • First Meeting: October 15, 1904 (Georgia 52, Florida 0)
  • Total Meetings: 101
  • Record: Georgia Leads (55-44-2)

Two of the biggest brands in the south get together every year in Jacksonville to duke it out. 

Although this would be more of a home game for the Gators, the Bulldogs have clearly been able to do enough to hold their own weight in this series, as they lead it all-time by 11 wins.

Harvard Crimson vs. Yale Bulldogs

  • First Meeting: November 13, 1875 (Harvard 4, Yale 0)
  • Total Meetings: 138
  • Record: Yale Leads (69-61-8)

As the third-most played game among division I football rivalries, everyone is aware of the Harvard-Yale matchup that takes place each year. 

It’s one of the more fun series’ for the average fan as not much is typically known about each team and the games tend to be extremely competitive.

Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers

  • First Meeting: November 3, 1894 (OAC 16, Oregon 0)
  • Total Meetings: 126
  • Record: Oregon Leads (67-49-10)

This rivalry out west doesn’t get as much air time or publicity as some of these other rivalries, but it’s still extremely storied and always a decent matchup. 

With the campuses being located less than 50 miles apart from each other, there’s a true ‘small-town’ rivalry feel in this one.

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