Top 5 College Football Rivalries of All-Time

College football is one of the oldest sports in the world. NCAA football is also one of the biggest and most followed sports on the planet.  

Some people only see college football as the farm system for the NFL, but it is much more than that. It is true that many players set a goal to be drafted into the NFL, but the spectacle of college football makes it entertaining.

Some people in the USA see it as nothing more than a source of players to bulk out and improve the NFL - but we promise you it is much more than that. Yes, most of the players' end goals are to be drafted into the NFL, but that does not make the NCAAF any less important or entertaining. 

One of the best things about NCAA football is watching rival teams play against each other. These rivalries have such a storied history, with many of these grudge matches dating back over 100 years. The NCAAF spreads are virtually meaningless in these games, as the players from both sides are motivated to beat their storied rivals, and no one wants to be on the losing end of these games.

Today, we are going to be looking at the 5 most heated college football rivalries. 

#5 - Harvard vs. Yale 

These two universities compete in just about every element of college life, but that doesn't make their battles on the football field any less intense. 


These two teams first played against each other in November 1875 and the rivalry has only grown more intense over nearly 150 years. Harvard won 4-0 during that first game, just in case you were curious. 


There is no trophy for the winner, unlike some other big rivalries in college football. However, there is always "The Game" between Harvard and Yale every year. Since the Ivy League does not take part in any postseason for football, this matchup fills the void for these two schools. 


Harvard won their most recent match in 2021 by a score of 34-31.  These teams have played 137 times in total, with Yale leading 68-61-8. 


#4 - Georgia vs. Florida 

The rivalry between Georgia and Florida is so heated that the schools cannot even agree on when the rivalry started.


Georgia claims it started in 1904, with Georgia winning 52-0 over the University of Florida in Lake City. However, as that school was not affiliated with the main University of Florida (based in Gainesville), Florida does not recognize that result as the Gainesville campus did not field a football team until 1906. According to Florida, the rivalry actually started in 1915, with Florida losing 32-0. 


Regardless of the uncertain origin, this game has been nicknamed the "world's largest outdoor cocktail party" due to the number of students and fans that arrive in Jacksonville to watch the game. 


If you exclude that 1904 matchup, Georgia leads the series 53–44–2.


#3 - USC vs. Notre Dame 

It is a bit surprising that USC and Notre Dame have developed such a strong rivalry, with Notre Dame based in the middle of the country and USC located on the West Coast. However, this rivalry has grown over time to become one of the greatest in college football. 


The legend behind this game states that the wife of Notre Dame coach, Knute Rockne, was fed up with traveling to Nebraska every year. She spoke to the wife of USC's head coach who convinced her that a trip to California every other year would cheer her up. 


Historically, these are two of the most successful schools in college football, so it is always exciting to see them play against each other. 


These teams have played 92 times since 1926, with only World War II and the COVID-19 pandemic preventing them from playing their yearly games. 


Notre Dame currently leads the series 48-36-5. 


#2 - Alabama vs. Auburn 

This rivalry is better known as the Iron Bowl as the two teams play for the James E. Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy. 


This rivalry has been going on since 1893. The game rotates between the Auburn and Alabama home stadiums, but was played in Birmingham for many years. With Birmingham playing a key role in the American steel industry, the game was eventually named the Iron Bowl. 


Since the 1950s, Auburn and Alabama have usually have been two of the top teams in NCAA football, which has only made the rivalry stronger. In recent years, the rivalry has also grown stronger between their basketball teams as well.


The most recent Iron Bowl took four overtimes to be decided, with Alabama winning 24-22.


After 86 games, Alabama leads the series 48-37-1. 


#1 - Army vs. Navy 

This is a game that every American can watch and enjoy. However, it is also one of the most fierce games in all of college football. 


The game is usually played in Philadelphia, but has also been played in Baltimore, East Rutherford (New Jersey), and Washington. D.C. The day is full of pageantry, cadet marches, and even the occasional fly-by. 


Recently, Navy was dominating this matchup with a 14-year winning streak over Army from 2002-2015. However, things have evened out more recently, with Army winning four out of five years between 2016 and 2020, including three straight from 2016 to 2018, before Navy won last year.


The soldiers of the U.S. Army and U.S Navy are always on the same side, except for those few hours on the field in the middle of December. 


The first Army-Navy game happened in 1890. Overall, Navy leads the series 62–53–7. 


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