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Old 11-07-2019, 05:16 PM
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Biggest college football rivalry


Apologies if this has been brought up before but can someone try to explain why Michigan vs. THE Ohio State University is considered to be "the" biggest rivalry in college football (if not in ALL of college sports)? I know about "Woody vs. Bo" but that was a one-decade rivalry that ended over 40 years ago, now. There are other college football rivalries that started earlier and that have lasted longer and that seem to have a bigger impact on the national championship scene on a yearly basis than that one does. I mean, Michigan hasn't won a national championship in football since the BCS came into being in 1998. Yes, they split a national title in football with Nebraska the year before, but the University of Michigan hasn't been awarded a solo national football title in over 7 decades (1948). So why is a game involving THAT school's team considered to be the biggest rivalry game in college football? I feel like it's not REALLY the biggest rivalry game in college football; more that the powers-that-be try to Jedi mind trick everybody into believing that it's the biggest rivalry in college football when it's really not. Thoughts?
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Old 11-07-2019, 05:53 PM
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Oxford vs Cambridge.The Varsity Match began in 1872.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:15 PM
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It's the Chisholm Trail Rivalry.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:16 PM
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Apologies if this has been brought up before but can someone try to explain why Michigan vs. THE Ohio State University is considered to be "the" biggest rivalry in college football (if not in ALL of college sports)? I know about "Woody vs. Bo" but that was a one-decade rivalry that ended over 40 years ago, now. There are other college football rivalries that started earlier and that have lasted longer and that seem to have a bigger impact on the national championship scene on a yearly basis than that one does. I mean, Michigan hasn't won a national championship in football since the BCS came into being in 1998. Yes, they split a national title in football with Nebraska the year before, but the University of Michigan hasn't been awarded a solo national football title in over 7 decades (1948). So why is a game involving THAT school's team considered to be the biggest rivalry game in college football? I feel like it's not REALLY the biggest rivalry game in college football; more that the powers-that-be try to Jedi mind trick everybody into believing that it's the biggest rivalry in college football when it's really not. Thoughts?
The fact that Michigan hasn't been great since the early 2000s is immaterial; they're both huge schools with huge alumni associations that have an irrational obsession with football.

Honorable mention goes to Auburn-Alabama and OU-Texas

Last edited by asahi; 11-07-2019 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:23 PM
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What about Army Navy. I suspect more people care about that most other rivalries, even it bears no importance on who's #1.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:32 PM
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Yale-Harvard is supposedly a big deal.

But then, those guys think everything they do is a big deal.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:01 PM
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What about Army Navy. I suspect more people care about that most other rivalries, even it bears no importance on who's #1.
This is my pick. I mean, Army ends their Alma Mater with "Beat Navy!". And I have never been able to say "Go Navy!" without immediately adding "Beat Army!".
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:42 PM
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Michigan vs. Ohio State is big because for decades the Big 10 was college football. The Big 10 champion had an automatic berth to the Rose Bowl, and whether the game was in Lansing or Columbus, the TV cameras could pan out over 100,000 rabid fans.

These days, SEC football is bigger and Auburn-Alabama is usually a more important game. But the SEC still has a ways to go to capture the hearts and minds of football fandom.

As for Harvard-Yale and Army-Navy, archaic but still respected traditions.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:43 PM
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You know what's really pleasant? How emptied out Columbus is at Thanksgiving when the game is at Michigan.
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:47 PM
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Michigan vs. Ohio State is big because for decades the Big 10 was college football. The Big 10 champion had an automatic berth to the Rose Bowl, and whether the game was in Lansing...
*Ann Arbor
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Old 11-08-2019, 08:04 PM
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"Biggest" in what way?

In terms of how it affects people outside of the game itself? Probably Auburn-Alabama. Supposedly, there are three kinds of people in Alabama:
1. Those who say "Roll Tide" in every sentence.
2. Those who say "War Eagle" in every sentence.
3. Outsiders.
The only one that might rival it at that level is Army-Navy.

There are other rivalries that seem to be ongoing; for example, if you want to buy tickets to a Stanford sporting event over the phone, dial 800-BEAT-CAL.
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:08 PM
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*Ann Arbor

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Old 11-08-2019, 10:37 PM
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It sure ain't Alabama-Tennessee anymore.

P-man, MSLS University of Tennessee
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:14 PM
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USC beat-down on UCLA is pretty big, 'cause its kinda contained in one big toilet bowl. And for a while, there was no Pro teams to root for.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:19 AM
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"Biggest" in what way?

In terms of how it affects people outside of the game itself? Probably Auburn-Alabama. Supposedly, there are three kinds of people in Alabama:
1. Those who say "Roll Tide" in every sentence.
2. Those who say "War Eagle" in every sentence.
3. Outsiders.
The only one that might rival it at that level is Army-Navy.

There are other rivalries that seem to be ongoing; for example, if you want to buy tickets to a Stanford sporting event over the phone, dial 800-BEAT-CAL.
Exactly. When I was growing up I always considered Nebraska - Oklahoma to be the biggest college football rivalry game. UM vs. tOSU wasn't even on my radar. Nowadays I don't know which college football rivalry game I consider to be the "biggest" but I certainly don't feel like that Midwest one is any bigger than any other "big ones" out there like Texas - Oklahoma or Florida - Georgia.
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Old 11-09-2019, 08:56 AM
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I grew up in Big Ten land and went to a Big Ten school, and, yeah, that's the first rivalry that came to mind. But that's clearly because of my geography. I would have to think Auburn-Alabama is as big or bigger a rivalry, as well as Army-Navy and Oklahoma-Texas.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:21 AM
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The Iron Bowl is the biggest rivalry, and it's not even close.

Alabama per capita has more college football fans than any state in the country. There are no pro sports in Alabama. There is only Auburn and Alabama. They are smack dab in the middle of the SEC, which is the most college-football-crazed area of the country by far. Alabama and Auburn share a small state, population wise, and compete with nothing.

Those two schools hate each other with a white-hot passion that can not be described. Their fanbases are rabid, regularly selling out large stadiums.

And the two programs are perennial powers, especially Alabama. These games often have something big riding on them, as the programs are usually in contention for big bowls, championships, positioning either for the SEC Championship game or the College football playoff. Both teams have won SEC titles, and national titles. Both teams have played in and won big bowl games.

The rivalry is competitive, as neither side has completely dominated it. Bama has the upper hand, but Auburn has won their share. The record is 46-36-1, in favor of Bama. There was a roughly 40 year sabbatical in the early part of the 20th century, due to the hate between these schools. They have now play something like 71 to 72 years in a row.

So, the Iron Bowl is the biggest college football rivalry. Huge fanbases. Championships on the line. Sharing a state. No Pro sports to compete with. In the most rabid football conference. History of hate. The Iron Bowl is the top rivalry.

Last edited by survinga; 11-09-2019 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:24 AM
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Pitt-Penn State. My daughter's degree in nursing is from Penn State. My undergrad degree is from Pitt. We joke around about the rivalry.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:12 AM
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"The Border War", Missouri vs Kansas, used to be the longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi, until Missouri decided to try to break up the Big 12 by jumping to another conference. I think they've played each other maybe once or twice since then, but it's not nearly such a big deal now.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:59 PM
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Plus KU has an astoundingly bad football program and Mizzou has never won anything of note in football.
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Old 11-09-2019, 01:51 PM
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Interesting thought I had about OSU vs Michigan being the biggest. A lot of people who didn’t go to either school still lived in Ohio or Michigan for part of their lives and kinda grew up with the rivalry, even people like who got a shock two weeks before high school began that the family was moving to Florida.

Also, both OSU and Michigan are huge schools so if you’ve got Midwestern roots, it’s likely someone in your family went to either school.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:41 PM
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Having had some up close and personal experience with both the Alabama/Auburn and Michigan/OSU rivalries I think they're both about the same level of intensity. The biggest difference is that in AL people have a choice, if they didn't go to either school they must decide which one they support (although it's probably decided by your family long before you get to decide). In Michigan/Ohio your place of birth decides that.
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Old 11-10-2019, 09:55 AM
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Having had some up close and personal experience with both the Alabama/Auburn and Michigan/OSU rivalries I think they're both about the same level of intensity. The biggest difference is that in AL people have a choice, if they didn't go to either school they must decide which one they support (although it's probably decided by your family long before you get to decide). In Michigan/Ohio your place of birth decides that.
It seems to me that having to share a state, instead of owning your own state, tips the intensity edge to the Iron Bowl. I could be wrong. But a typical Auburn fan has to deal with Bama fans all the time, every day, and somewhat vice versa. Michigan and Ohio State fans can go forever without much interaction other than if they attend the same game.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:17 AM
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It seems to me that having to share a state, instead of owning your own state, tips the intensity edge to the Iron Bowl.
I would agree with this. Here in Big 12 country, Oklahoma/Texas is a huge rivalry, but it isn't as big as Oklahoma/Oklahoma State. This is properly described as 'bedlam'.

Of course, it carries over to basketball as well, which adds to the intensity. This was also true of Kansas/Missouri, where the basketball competition was always fiercer than football.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:51 PM
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What about Army Navy. I suspect more people care about that most other rivalries, even it bears no importance on who's #1.
That game seems like an annual event watched by people with no connection to either team or even to the military. Itís the first college football rivalry I was ever aware of as a kid. Iíd argue that itís the one with the biggest reputation.
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:04 PM
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I'm from the pacific northwest and I remember the Michigan Ohio State game on tv when I was young in the early 70's. It was a big deal then and that has kind of stuck with me.

It was the only big rivalry that I can remember being mentioned when I was young.
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Old 11-10-2019, 02:32 PM
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Having had some up close and personal experience with both the Alabama/Auburn and Michigan/OSU rivalries I think they're both about the same level of intensity. The biggest difference is that in AL people have a choice, if they didn't go to either school they must decide which one they support (although it's probably decided by your family long before you get to decide). In Michigan/Ohio your place of birth decides that.
But does it? Ann Arbor and Columbus are two very different cities. Some people from Ohio may like the college town feel of Ann Arbor while some in Michigan might like the bigger city feel and potentially more internship and entertainment options that donít revolve around college that youíd find in Columbus.
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Old 11-11-2019, 12:41 AM
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I'm from the pacific northwest and I remember the Michigan Ohio State game on tv when I was young in the early 70's. It was a big deal then and that has kind of stuck with me.

It was the only big rivalry that I can remember being mentioned when I was young.
Probably because from something like 1968 to 1980 the only game that ever really seemed to matter in that conference in terms of which team would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl was that game. But that hasn't been the case for a LOOONG time, now.
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Old 11-11-2019, 03:08 AM
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when I was a kid my family watched the military games because i have members in every branch and any Michigan team vs Notre dame .... i have family in michigan and a lot of family in south bend also michigan vs michigan state

so yeah those were known as "fistfight games" in my family ....cause people would get drunk and start a half-assed fight before falling over and passing out ....
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:18 PM
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There are no pro sports in Alabama. There is only Auburn and Alabama.
These statements are contradictory.

And to answer the OP it sure ain't Nebraska-Oklahoma anymore.
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Old 11-11-2019, 09:29 PM
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I'm from the pacific northwest and I remember the Michigan Ohio State game on tv when I was young in the early 70's. It was a big deal then and that has kind of stuck with me.

It was the only big rivalry that I can remember being mentioned when I was young.
To this day, a couple where one was from Ohio St and one was from Michigan is the only rivalry-marriage I've ever heard of called "a mixed marriage".
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Old 11-12-2019, 07:26 PM
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To this day, a couple where one was from Ohio St and one was from Michigan is the only rivalry-marriage I've ever heard of called "a mixed marriage".
Well then you don't get out much. I've heard that term* used for:
Auburn/Alabama
Georgia/Florida
Florida/Florida State
Miami/Florida State
Georgia/Georgia Tech (not so much lately)
Clemson/South Carolina
Ole Miss/Miss State
Tennessee/Alabama
Tennessee/Florida
Auburn/Georgia...

You get the idea...

And that's just in one corner of the south.

*Also known as a "house-divided".
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:05 AM
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Well then you don't get out much. I've heard that term* used for:
Auburn/Alabama
Georgia/Florida
Florida/Florida State
Miami/Florida State
Georgia/Georgia Tech (not so much lately)
Clemson/South Carolina
Ole Miss/Miss State
Tennessee/Alabama
Tennessee/Florida
Auburn/Georgia...

You get the idea...

And that's just in one corner of the south.

*Also known as a "house-divided".
Yeah, now youíve brought back awful flashbacks of the ESPN commercials showing a guy and gir seriously making out, each one wearing a sweatshirt of two rival schools.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:50 AM
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Michigan vs. Ohio State is big because for decades the Big 10 was college football. The Big 10 champion had an automatic berth to the Rose Bowl, and whether the game was in Lansing or Columbus, the TV cameras could pan out over 100,000 rabid fans.
The Wolverines play in Ann Arbor. The Spartans play in East Lansing, not Lansing.

I'm a Big Ten fan, the ones that count are:
Michigan-Ohio State
Michigan-Michigan State
Minnesota-Wisconsin
Illinois-Northwestern
Indiana-Purdue

Michigan-Ohio State is the biggest. You can crow about Alabama-Auburn, but both Ohio and Michigan are much larger than Alabama and both Big Ten schools dwarf the SEC schools in size and alumni base.

Gotta give a shout out to Western Michigan-Central Michigan as well, just because my daughter and a lot of my money went to WMU.

Others of note are USC-UCLA, Oklahoma-Texas, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Clemson-South Carolina.

Last edited by BobLibDem; 11-13-2019 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 11-13-2019, 09:53 AM
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:51 AM
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Well then you don't get out much. I've heard that term* used for:
Auburn/Alabama
Georgia/Florida
Florida/Florida State
Miami/Florida State
Georgia/Georgia Tech (not so much lately)
Clemson/South Carolina
Ole Miss/Miss State
Tennessee/Alabama
Tennessee/Florida
Auburn/Georgia...

You get the idea...

And that's just in one corner of the south.

*Also known as a "house-divided".
Texas/Texas A&M used to be that way (and a BIG rivalry), until A&M bolted for the SEC and gave UT the finger in the process.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:39 PM
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It seems to me that having to share a state, instead of owning your own state, tips the intensity edge to the Iron Bowl. I could be wrong. But a typical Auburn fan has to deal with Bama fans all the time, every day, and somewhat vice versa. Michigan and Ohio State fans can go forever without much interaction other than if they attend the same game.
As someone who grew up on SC, I never understood how an out-of-state rivalry could be as intense as and in-state one.

For the Clemson-South Carolina game, one of the reasons emotions are so intense is that you interact with people from the other side all of the time. They are in your family and work place. When your side wins, you get to gloat. When their side wins, you will have to be near those insufferable ass-hats for the next 12 months. This makes the desire to win much more intense.

If you lose in a game like Ohio-Michigan, almost everyone around you is on the same team and they commiserate with you. Totally different experience.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:13 PM
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As someone who grew up on SC, I never understood how an out-of-state rivalry could be as intense as and in-state one.

For the Clemson-South Carolina game, one of the reasons emotions are so intense is that you interact with people from the other side all of the time. They are in your family and work place. When your side wins, you get to gloat. When their side wins, you will have to be near those insufferable ass-hats for the next 12 months. This makes the desire to win much more intense.

If you lose in a game like Ohio-Michigan, almost everyone around you is on the same team and they commiserate with you. Totally different experience.
Depends on how youíre considering a big rivalry. USC/Clemson is huge in SC (I have family there) but outside of SC, itís isnít too big. Michigan/OSU is big nationwide, both are huge schools with a huge nationwide alumni base. And, as I mentioned earlier, both Ohio and Michigan are bleeding people to other states. So, even if you didnít go to school at either, youíre likely to turn on ĎThe Gameí even if youíre just a casual fan of college football.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:57 PM
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To this day, a couple where one was from Ohio St and one was from Michigan is the only rivalry-marriage I've ever heard of called "a mixed marriage".
I joke that my husband and I are a mixed marriage, but no one's mentioned either of the schools involved, because they are tiny schools.

But the Rivalry (yes, it's capitalized) is the most played college football rivalry, beating even Havard-Yale and it's in Pennsylvana(link) .
Quote:
The Rivalry is so old that it predates football trophies; the winning team just gets to keep the game ball.
Not as well known, and there's not so many people involved, but it's got history on its side.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:05 PM
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I don't have a cite, but a while back 538 did a study to try to identify the largest college football fan bases. The top three, all very close to each other and far ahead of #4, were Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. The rest of the top ten were six SEC schools and Notre Dame. PSU doesn't have the longstanding rivalries with the other two that they have with each other.

So, yeah, I think in terms of the number of people who care passionately about the outcome of the game, Michigan-OSU is the biggest game in college football. People in Alabama may go crazy about the Iron Bowl, but there just aren't that many people in Alabama.

Of course, objectively speaking, the most important and crucial rivalry in college football is Oregon-Oregon State, closely followed by Oregon-Washington.
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:29 PM
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Depends on how youíre considering a big rivalry. USC/Clemson is huge in SC (I have family there) but outside of SC, itís isnít too big. Michigan/OSU is big nationwide, both are huge schools with a huge nationwide alumni base. And, as I mentioned earlier, both Ohio and Michigan are bleeding people to other states. So, even if you didnít go to school at either, youíre likely to turn on ĎThe Gameí even if youíre just a casual fan of college football.
A few years ago I was reading a book by Ivan Maisel about college football. In it were several lists. One was of "Most Underrated Rivalries." At #1 was South Carolina - Clemson about which he wrote something along the lines of: "If there were a machine that could harness the energy behind a rivalry South Carolina - Clemson would make that machine tap dance." At #2 he listed Washington - Washington State (for the Apple Cup). I don't remember exactly what his criteria were for listing rivalries there but don't doubt Ivan Maisel! He had a story about and showed (at the front of that book) the letter he once got from Paul "Bear" Bryant that "proves" his college football bona fides. So there!
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Old 11-13-2019, 02:32 PM
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I don't have a cite, but a while back 538 did a study to try to identify the largest college football fan bases. The top three, all very close to each other and far ahead of #4, were Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State. The rest of the top ten were six SEC schools and Notre Dame. PSU doesn't have the longstanding rivalries with the other two that they have with each other.

So, yeah, I think in terms of the number of people who care passionately about the outcome of the game, Michigan-OSU is the biggest game in college football. People in Alabama may go crazy about the Iron Bowl, but there just aren't that many people in Alabama.

Of course, objectively speaking, the most important and crucial rivalry in college football is Oregon-Oregon State, closely followed by Oregon-Washington.
I insist that such a statement is no more than a matter of opinion. And in MY opinion UM vs. tOSU is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:19 PM
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My favorite college football factoid - The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma have been rivals since before Oklahoma became a state.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
But does it? Ann Arbor and Columbus are two very different cities. Some people from Ohio may like the college town feel of Ann Arbor while some in Michigan might like the bigger city feel and potentially more internship and entertainment options that donít revolve around college that youíd find in Columbus.
That's an interesting point. If you want to go to a big Midwestern university located in a small to medium sized college town, you have lots of pptions. If you want to go to one in a big city, and you don't have the grades for Northwestern, tOSU is pretty much it. So you might expect those from the region whol want that lifestyle would tend to go there.

In the wild, however, I have not observed Ohio State fans to be notably more bohemian or sophisticated than their Big Ten peers.
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by racepug View Post
I insist that such a statement is no more than a matter of opinion. And in MY opinion UM vs. tOSU is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY overrated.
Well, from the OP it appears you think the biggest rivalry would be the one that's had the biggest impact on the national championship race in the recent past. Which I guess would probably be the Iron Bowl. And that's certainly as valid a point of view as any other.
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:08 PM
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In support of my thesis, though, check these Wikipedia cites:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Civil War (college football game)
1910: Following a 12-0 Oregon victory in Corvallis, fans of both teams began a verbal argument that escalated into exceedingly rowdy behavior as Ducks fans returned to the train station to leave. The UO's public relations department spread stories of Oregon Agricultural College hooliganism to the statewide press, offending students of OAC and causing the rivalry to be suspended for 1911.[10]

1937: After defeating Oregon 14-0 in Corvallis, Oregon State fans had a large rally the next evening that lasted for six hours. Approximately 2,000 Oregon State students decided to caravan the following day to Eugene and have another celebration. State police initially halted the group, then agreed to lead them through the town if they agreed to behave. However, once Oregon students got out of class, the situation escalated with Ducks pelting Beavers with tomatoes and water balloons, some Oregon State students were thrown into the millrace, and other OSU students taken to Skinner Butte, stripped and forced to repaint the "O" hillside letter yellow and slide down the painted surface.[10]

1954: 50-60 UO students infiltrated Corvallis and lit the traditional OSU homecoming bonfire early. While it had been done before, this time OSU students were able to capture 25 UO students and hold them "prisoner".[11] The captured students had their heads shaved, were painted orange and black and some were forced to do menial labor for OSU fraternities. One captured Duck was marched through the OSU campus with a sign that said "I'm a dumb Duck."[10] Meanwhile, the UO raiding party kidnapped a single OSU student and paraded him around the UO campus.[11]

1960: A UO student abducted the OSU homecoming queen from the front of her home in Corvallis. She was returned unharmed thirty minutes later, but before that the OSU student body president received a ransom note demanding he ride a child's scooter to the center of Eugene and make a public appeal for her return.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Thing Fish View Post
Well, from the OP it appears you think the biggest rivalry would be the one that's had the biggest impact on the national championship race in the recent past. Which I guess would probably be the Iron Bowl. And that's certainly as valid a point of view as any other.
Actually, my point all along has been more along the lines of: "Who's to say just what the 'biggest' (however one defines that) rivalry is? It might be UM vs. tOSU, and it might not be. But I don't think a declarative statement can be made one way or another so I don't understand why so many people consider it to be when there's no real way of proving that."
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermitian View Post
As someone who grew up on SC, I never understood how an out-of-state rivalry could be as intense as and in-state one.

For the Clemson-South Carolina game, one of the reasons emotions are so intense is that you interact with people from the other side all of the time. They are in your family and work place. When your side wins, you get to gloat. When their side wins, you will have to be near those insufferable ass-hats for the next 12 months. This makes the desire to win much more intense.

If you lose in a game like Ohio-Michigan, almost everyone around you is on the same team and they commiserate with you. Totally different experience.
Agreed. That's why I think in-state rivalries are the most intense.

I went to the Clemson/SC game a few years ago. It was 2016. Clemson won 56-7, I think. They really enjoy beating SC, whom they derisively refer to as "the chickens".
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:34 PM
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Oregon - Washington


With all respect due "The Civil War," here's some good stuff about the Washington - Oregon football rivalry (which got a lot more "real" starting in 1994).
  #50  
Old 11-17-2019, 12:32 AM
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With all respect due "The Civil War," here's some good stuff about the Washington - Oregon football rivalry (which got a lot more "real" starting in 1994).
I think that's an understatement to say it got a lot more "real" in 94. For about 100 years before 1994 Oregon's best season was 2-10.
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