The essence of a rivalry in college football unites all fan bases across the nation. This past weekend, rivalry week was in full swing as numerous different rivalries sparked tension across teams and fans. Some of the headliner games include #3 Michigan vs #2 Ohio State, #1 Georgia vs Georgia Tech, #15 Oregon vs #16 Oregon State and #6 Alabama vs Auburn. Many of these games had a major effect on who would make it in the College Football Playoff. For example, the winner of Ohio State vs Michigan will most likely be the #2 seed in the college football playoffs.
The Ohio State and Michigan rivalry is the most heated rivalry in all of sports. The first meeting between the two dates all the way back to 1897. The all time series favors the Michigan Wolverines as they lead the series 60-51-6 and the Wolverines are currently on a two year win streak. This game is the highlight of both teams’ seasons as both teams focus on prepping for the game the whole year. Back in 2020, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, “Michigan better hope for a mercy rule this year because we are going to hang 100 on them.” These comments came after an altercation between Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s coach, and Day. Since this comment, Ohio State is yet to beat Michigan. Both teams have put up posters and signs in their facilities asking players what they will do to beat the opposition. One big tradition in the weeks leading up to the game, is that the Michigan fan base crosses out all the Os they see, and the Ohio State fan base does the same with Ms. The winning team gets to have the last laugh as they can remove the tape blocking their team’s letter. This year Michigan won 45-23. The first half highlighted some flaws in both team’s defenses. Michigan could hit the deep ball at will, while Ohio State’s offense was having long methodic drives. At half, the score was 20-17 with Ohio State leading and dominating statistically. The second half could not be farther from the first. Michigan ended the second half having outscored Ohio State 28-3. Michigan will move on to the Big Ten Championship and the college football playoff.
Another heated rivalry is the Iron bowl. This rivalry features Alabama vs Auburn. Starting in 1893, the Iron bowl is always a game circled on both teams’ schedules. Alabama leads the series 49-37-1, but the games are typically close and come down to the wire. This rivalry has featured the famous kick six where Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a 100 yard missed field goal for the win.
The name Iron bowl comes from the heavy presence of the Iron industry in Birmingham. The games were first played in Birmingham, so the name Iron bowl was very fitting. A tradition within the rivalry is the Foy-ODK trophy. This trophy is presented to the winning school at the next basketball match between the two. The losing SGA president is forced to sing the fight song of the other school. This year Alabama won easily, with a score of 49-27. This domination is not common and this game provides viewers and fans a thrilling experience.
Oregon vs Oregon State is one of the biggest rivalries in sports. This rivalry is called the “Civil War” and it dates all the way back to 1894. Oregon has the all time record at 67-49-10. This year, Oregon State came out on top with a score of 38-34. This storied rivalry battles over the rights to the Platypus trophy and the title of the best team in Oregon. This 1957 rivalry is fierce. When played in Eugene, Oregon at Oregon’s stadium, the crowd noise bounces, causing the stadium to be extremely loud. It has been labeled one of the hardest places to play.
With all these rivalries, college football fans have a fun last week of the season. The whole season most fan bases look forward to the one rivalry game and hope their teams come out on top.
Regardless of the playoff implications or conference implications, teams and fans know that the rivalry game is the one to win.