This Saturday, October 27th is the day that the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party kicks off again between the #2 Florida Gators and the #10 Georgia Bulldogs, pitting two fierce rivals against each other yet again.
Rivalries in college football are like popcorn at the movies: it’s a huge part of what makes the whole experience so enjoyable. However, I think the scope of a “rivalry game” isn’t quite narrow enough, so I feel the need to set the record straight.
Some colleges boast several opponents that the fan bases consider to be “rivals”. Take Georgia, for example: the Bulldogs are considered to hold rivalries between the Auburn Tigers, the Florida Gators, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. While these games are usually very compelling matchups and is generally mixed with some bad blood, I don’t think that all three of these matchups make the grade of being Georgia’s rival.
For me, the concept of a rivalry is simple: each FBS school only has one true rivalry game. With twelve games on the schedule, you may wonder which one is the rivalry game; determining this is also quite easy. All you have to do is follow this hypothetical situation: your favorite team finishes the season with a 1-11 record; who do you want this lone win to be against?
To go back to the Georgia example, this makes the rivalry concept a no brainer, at least for the Dawgs of this generation: the one win would undoubtedly be desired over the dreaded Gators, a team that the Bulldogs have defeated just five times since Ronald Reagan left the White House.
Unsure of who you team’s rival would be according to my logic? Here are a few notable football teams and who I think would be their rivals under this system of thinking:
Alabama – Auburn. Nothing changes when it comes to the Iron Bowl. Both of these teams hate each other, no matter what the circumstances.
Georgia Tech – Georgia. You may wonder how this would work, seeing as I already said that Georgia’s biggest rival is Florida. It’s simple really: Tech has been seen in the last ten years as Georgia’s “little brother”, so much so that the Dawgs don’t even consider playing the boys from North Avenue as that important compared to playing the guys that call Gainesville headquarters.
Michigan – Ohio State. The Wolverines’ matchup against the Spartans has grown in importance as of late, especially due to Michigan State’s four-game winning streak that was snapped last week, but nothing can ever top the Wolverines rivalry with the Buckeyes.
Notre Dame – USC. The Fighting Irish probably have the most “rivalries” of any school in the Football Bowl Subdivision-there’s Michigan, Boston College, Navy, Michigan State, Stanford, and this game, which is known as the Battle of the Jeweled Shillelagh. While this game got out of hand during the Charlie Weis era in South Bend (Trojans won all five meetings by an average score of 38-17), the series has become a lot more interesting now that Brian Kelly has the Fighting Irish in the national title hunt.
Tennessee – Florida. It took me a while to decide on this one for the Volunteers, but I eventually I decided that their early season meetings with the Gators are the biggest game, despite the fact that they haven’t done so hot as of late (haven’t won since 2004). The Third Saturday in October Rivalry with the Crimson Tide just gets edged out here due to the fact that the winner of this game historically has an inside track to winning the SEC East.
Disagree with any of these rivalries taking top priority over another or have your own you would like to share? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.