College sports' 11 most-heated rivalries, ranked

I disagree with 8 and 7 as there are better examples – Clemson-USC, Minnesota-Wisconsin, USC-ND, etc.

I also think basketball rivalries pale in comparison.

A friend proposed some other rivalries like OU-UNL and I hada response:
Texas ruined OU-UNL like they ruined many other things. The Big 8 should’ve never merged with the SWC.
PSU should’ve kept the northeast together and joined a conference with BC, WV, Pitt, 'Cuse, Rutgers, VaTech, UConn, Cincy, etc.

KU-MO had potential as it was a 2 sport rivalry
USC-UCLA as they sit in the same town
IU-KY for basketball was more important than KY-Louisville
IU-PU for basketball
IA-MN for the pig

and if you want to go through history:
MN-WI is the top power 5 rivalry – record is tied – they played a re-scheduled covid game in mid-December 2020 to continue the streak
GA-AU/NC-VA are 5 games behind

We are 11 games behind that playing the Ill-whine-I

Big Note: I didn’t propose our rivalry as even though it has a close record it has little excitement and awful attendance. I do believe attendance was better when it was the week BEFORE Thanksgiving instead of the Saturday afterwards with no students on either side.

I disagree about IU-UK being more important than UK-UofL. There is little emotion behind the former and pure hatred behind the latter. Granted, UofL has not performed lately but hopefully that will change soon. Of course IU wasn’t much to speak of until Woodson came onboard.

Once upon a time, there was movement for the old Metro Conference to add the eastern schools for football, including PSU, Pitt, Syracuse BC West Virginia and Miami. The Metfo at the time has FSU, South Carolina, VaTech. UofL. Cincy. Memphis Georgia Tech and Tulane as football playing schools. It fell apart over what else money. They was a major disagreement over revenue sharing as UofL refused to share its basketball tournament revenue while FSU wouldn’t share its bowl money. Ultimately the Metro stayed a basketball centric conference, the eastern independents never joined and FSU left for the ACC and South Carolina left and later joined the SEC. It would have been a great football conference.


Marc, I agree with you that moving the Illinois game to Thanksgiving weekend has hurt the rivalry, as attendance is dismal whether in Evanston or Urbana. I’d argue that it probably hurt dozens of rivalry games that have never risen to the status of those cited in the article.

I’m not sure I’d place all the blame on Texas for destroying the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry, Oklahoma also voted not to create cross-division rivalry games when the Big Twelve was formed.

Money rules the day, it seems.

Mike Nolan