The Top 10 college football rivalries this season

By D. Simone Kovacs -

As the season approaches, fans are looking forward to the biggest, most popular rivalry games in college football. With some rivalries spanning back over a century, these top 10 games are sure to feature some of the most memorable moments, insane touchdowns, and highest energy crowds in the NCAA.

Counting down by a combination of the highest ticket demand and the largest rivalries, you won’t want to miss out seeing these games in person!

10. UCLA vs. USC

When: November 22, Rose Bowl

With both teams located in Los Angeles, students and alumni have to meet daily, making this rivalry one of the fiercest in NCAA football. It started in 1929 and has many nicknames, including “The Crosstown Showdown” and “The Battle of L.A.” The UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans are conference rivals, which makes these games even more intense. UCLA has won the last 2 years, but the Trojans won the 5 games before that, so that both have winning streaks in recent memory. This game will be huge, so get your tickets soon and keep an eye out for celebrities watching from the sidelines!

9. Georgia vs. Auburn

When: November 15, Sanford Stadium

Called the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” the first game was held in 1892 and has been played almost every year since then. Last year’s game was close as the Georgia Bulldogs had three straight touchdowns before Auburn threw a Hail Mary pass that allowed the Tigers to win the game in the last 25 seconds. While the games are considered a ‘friendly-rivalry,’ they draw out large crowds and result in intense plays.

8. Clemson vs. South Carolina

When: November 29, Clemson Memorial Stadium

Possibly one of the most bitter rivalries in the NCAA, the teams were banned from competing in a bowl game as punishment after a brawl erupted at the end of the 2004 matchup. The schools have played against each other since the 1880’s and last seasons game was their highest-ranked matchup ever. The South Carolina Gamecocks have won the last five meetings, so the Clemson Tigers will be fighting their hardest to overturn this streak.

7. Florida State vs. Miami

When: November 15, Sun Life Stadium

While one of the younger football rivalries on the list, these two Florida teams have regularly drawn huge crowds and high TV ratings. One or both of the teams have been highly ranked going into the game since the 1980’s, making it more heated as national championships are on the line. The Florida State Seminoles have won the game over the Miami Hurricanes since hiring Jimbo Fisher as their head coach in 2010. While the game is looking tough for Miami again, this bitter rivalry will be sure to draw out college football fans.

6. Notre Dame vs. USC

When: November 29, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Traditionally taking place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, this rivalry goes back to 1926 and has continually drawn huge crowds. It has held the second largest attendance record for a game in NCAA history since 1929. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won the last two games, so the USC Trojans will be looking to make a comeback in one of the most-watched games of the season.

5. The Game: Ohio State vs. Michigan

When: November 29, Ohio Stadium

“The Game,” held since 1897, has been ranked as one of the biggest sports rivalries in North America and often affects who wins the conference title. With iconic moments in history, such as the “10 Year War” between the two teams, this regular-season finale is always intense. This year will be especially big as the Michigan Wolverines have a lot to prove going against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have gone undefeated the last two seasons.

4. LSU vs. Alabama

When: November 8, LSU Tiger Stadium

With the Alabama Crimson Tide winning the last three games, one of them 21-0, the LSU Tigers will want to prove themselves in this rivalry that dates back to 1895. As bitter rivals, this game will definitely showcase the intensity and energy of both the teams and their fans. These teams are two of the best, both in their league and nationally, so the outcome of this highly contested game will have a big impact on conference and national titles.

3. Red River Showdown: Oklahoma vs. Texas

When: October 11, Cotton Bowl Stadium

The rivalry between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns began in 1900 and has been held at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas since 1932. It’s been nicknamed the Red River Showdown or Shootout after the states’ 1931 Red River Bridge War boundary conflict. The game is held during the Texas State Fair, making the already hyped-up event and crowd even more energetic. Furthermore, Texas will be coming into the game with new head coach Charlie Strong, who many hope will re-energize the team.

2. Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn

When: November 29, Bryant-Denny Stadium

The Iron Bowl has been building tension between the two Alabama schools since their first game in 1893. Last year’s game was one of the best of all time, nicknamed “Kick Bama Kick,” as the Alabama Crimson Tide was ranked #1 and the Auburn Tigers ranked #4, making it the highest ranked Iron Bowl ever played. With Auburn taking their revenge for two blowout losses in the years before with a 34-28 win, Alabama will have to show them that they’re still number one.

1. Notre Dame vs. Michigan

When: September 6, Notre Dame Stadium

Dating back to their first game against each other in 1887, the rivalry between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines is one of the longest in the history of college football. And this game could be your last chance to see it! The teams have canceled or suspended the games from the 2015 to 2019 seasons and games after that have not been determined yet. This will be the fifth hiatus in the history of the rivalry and the last one suspended the rivalry for over 30 years! So make sure you don’t miss this game which is sure to showcase a fantastic finish.

Comments (34)

After all that has transpired in the last few years, and most importantly last year, the fact that you would have Auburn vs. Alabama as anywhere other than first on this list is more than ridiculous. And I’m not a fan of either of those teams.

I skipped down to see if Alabama/Auburn was listed #1. When I saw that it wasn’t, I declined to go back and read the article and instead went straight to the comments section to point out that major flaw.

Notre Dame v. Michigan hardly even is much of a rivalry to put #1. It isn’t the TOP rivalry for EITHER school. Michigan v. Ohio State, and Michigan v. Michigan State… and even Michigan v. Minnesota are much more important rivalries. And Notre Dame’s rivalries with USC, Navy, Boston College, Pitt…. are just as important as Michigan. In the Epic Rap Battle of College Football Rivalry, the In-State, In-Conference, In-Division rivalry of Alabama and Auburn, a rivalry that extends to all sports, all academics even… and even trees…. has to be #1.

ND and Michigan is based on history. The past 5 years is nothing in comparing to 127 years of dominance. You SEC fans kill me with the NOW nonsense.

Until Florida get a better coach, they will struggle for a while. And the series between Florida and Florida St won’t be good until then.

Michigan and Notre Dame have played 41 times, and was so irrelevant that the Fighting Irish pulled out of this series to play more A.C.C games.

Uhhhh, Alabama or Auburn have been in the past 5 national championship games, winning 4. Michigan in none, and ND in one. (And how did that work out?) Bama v Auburn will have nat champ implications. Not so for ND v UM. Will anyone other than fans of those teams really care that they’re not playing each other for a few years?

Rick, one thing that may cause the ND Michigan game to be number 1 is due to it being suspended after this year, giving it a small amount of nostalgia factor as well.

Georgia vs Auburn may be old but is not a top notch rivalry with the others listed. FSU vs Florida is much more anticipated rivalry game. SC vs Clemson LOL…two programs that have choke in their DNA that haven’t ever won anything.

Minnesota and Wisconsin have been playing each other annually since 1890 and is the nation’s longest rivalry.. While Wisky hasn’t competed for a national title recently but have won several conference titles(1993,98,99, 2010-2012) and Rose Bowls. Minny is not a national power but in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s were a national power and won several undisputed titles (1934-36, 1940-41 and 1960 shared title with Mississippi) .Minny leads the series 59-56 and 6 ties.

Shcoup, Clemson won the NC in 1981 and they have won lots of ACC titles. You stand corrected.

Watching the recent revival of the San Jose State- Fresno State matchup is pretty exciting as well….SJS,after being mugged for years,has suddenly started making this a must see game again. As for the best rivalry, too many to list but there is zero way it’s Michigan- Norte Dame.

Is this not premature? Honestly, the top ten rivalry match-ups for the season should be decided after the fact since so much can happen through out the season and a good number of these games could end up being a major disappointment. Now if the title of the article was “Top 10 Most Anticipated College Football Rivalry Games of 2014”, then I would have little argument other than “according to whom?”. What about match-ups like OK St. vs Oklahoma, Florida vs FSU, Michigan vs Michigan St., Oregon vs Oregon St. even; are they not top 10 worthy? All this is remained to be seen, besides for all we know USF vs UCF might end up being one of the top “new” rivalry games in college football. Either way it should be an exciting year in terms of rivalry games.

I don’t see how Michigan/Notre Dame is a big rivalry even when the fans from both schools do not even consider each other as their chief rival. Heck, Michigan State is a bigger rival to Notre Dame (though they are not going to play each other for a while now) and a bigger rival to Michigan. Actually I think Michigan/Michigan State should be on here, and this one shouldn’t even be on the top 10.

And after last year, Alabama/Auburn should be the obvious #1 choice.

To all commentors:

1. Please read the intro where the writer states that “highest ticket demand” also accounts for the rankings.
2. Note that the title of the article includes “This Season”
3. Note that all rankings are subjective
4. Everyone has made good points, but the fact that ND-UM ends after this year and it’s a hot ticket, that’s likely why it landed in first.

Combination of highest ticket demand should not have an impact. If this was last year and Michigan hosted both Notre Dame and Ohio State, Michigan/OSU would be more of a demand than that, as it should. Also, you are talking about one of the most historic venues in college football at Notre Dame Stadium. And while Michigan Stadium is nothing to sneer at themselves, it isn’t Notre Dame so the demand for a game at Michigan wouldn’t be as high.

Might be subjective, but not the best of formulas.

It was written with ticket demand in mind by choice of the writer. If it was just the top rivalry games, the list would certainly be different. Thanks for your comment.

Kevin: You make very valid points, but I still (respectfully) disagree. I think Auburn/Alabama should have been #1…but I’ll live!!!

Highest ticket demand? Well, since Bryant-Denny now seats about 365 thousand or so, I guess the supply has outpaced demand. However, since Jordan-Hare is stuck on 87 thousand or so, with it architecturally challenging to expand it… the ticket demand for Auburn home games is so bizarre, it’s irrational. $500 for a nosebleed seat? I guess for 2015, the Iron Bowl being at Auburn puts it back to #1 by that standard.

The game,,laughing,,,the little ten is THE weakest of the big 5,,,,that little team from ohio will win the conference Again,and lose in their bowl game,or I hope they don’t put them in the 4 team play=off,,,,

Gentlemen (and Simone), CLEARLY you are not paying attention……THE Number One college football rivalry game this season is the 150th contest between the Leopards of Lafayette College and the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh University…….November 22nd……Yankee Stadium……..over 40,000 tickets sold (and only 6 available on Stubhub)……..THE Most Played Rivalry in College Football! GO PARDS!!

R u kidding? Irish vs Michigan number 1 rivalry in 2014? Nice old school ring to it but has nothing to do with likely championship pursuits. Tim Coleman 1981 Alabama.

There’s a difference between most important historically and biggest this season. Historically Ohio State-Michigan has been the best rivalry. (Though Oklahoma-Nebraska was close. It’s ashamed that rivalry ended.) This year and recently the Auburn-Alabama rivary is the best rivalry. It is ashamed the Notre Dame-Michigan rivalry is ending but considering all factors the Alabama-Auburn rivalry should still top this list.

um vs nd is always a good game but msu vs ND is bigger and Um vs Msu even bigger!Msu always challenges ND on defense and gives ND a guage on their progress early in the season!Plus, they played from 1948 to 1978 when Um wasnt there! The um-nd game is imprtant as far as final rankings go but a made for tv game and those two schools along with Stanford and Harvard are the most arrogant shcools in the country!!! Its all in their heads and nobodies elses>Im a big 10 fan but usually only watch part of this game like most people in the Midwest>

But ND is making a mistake getting rid of both MSU and UM. People luv these games and always remember them!! Who remember the Nd Air Force games of the past as always a blowout. But I understand why ND plays the service academies and imp. to keep them gong!! And by the way, I live in South Bend!!

nebraska vs oklahoma has been a huge rivarly for 100 years and still is ! um vs osu only since 1969 and many games one sided!! Miami always killed fsu and flor. even when they were bad! fsu and flor i the biggest one in Florida! I think its msot imp. the differece between the biggest rivarly games this year but dont forget the past as the winner of a big rivarly game often is spurred on to a great season like the Alabama auburn winner. Also, that is always a big game no matter the record! PLUS, rivarly games make a season as ther is only one winner in college and usually comes down to one game wher in basketball there is always hope with the tournament!

biggest game in Big 10 is osu vs msu this year.. that would be a big rivarly game but its only been close since 1999 when msu beat #1 osu that year. They dont play every year so hurts the rivarly! NSU biggest State school in the country and OSU not far behind. Plus, same kinda atmosphere on campus. Different than private shools and academically much more competition than private! MSU has 10,000 in the Business school alone and 49,000 students econd only to UCLA who has 51,000 one one campus! Why i mention as people from all over attend these schools so there are big rivarlies throughout the country and that is what makes the USA so unique in the world. I hate it when people say my school is the best in the country!! Are you blind!!!!