Common Ground: B/R Picks Neutral Site for College Football's 50 Best Rivalries

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

Common Ground: B/R Picks Neutral Site for College Football's 50 Best Rivalries

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    There is no question that the best rivalries in all of sports reside in college football.

    Some of the most heated battles take place every year between both conference and out-of-conference rivals.

    While having home-field advantage is something that is fun for fans, what about if these games were played at a neutral site?

    Where would they be played?

    Here are sites for 50 of the biggest college football rivalries.

Cincinnati vs. Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium

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    The Battle for the Keg of Nails, as it is referred to, is a rivalry that began in 1929. While these two schools are more known for their basketball prowess, they have both excelled at football in recent years.

    Separated by only 100 miles, these two schools battle for this keg every year. For teams located so close, it is hard to find a neutral site since there is virtually nothing in between.

    So, why not take this game to Indianapolis and play at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Kansas vs. Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium

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    This is another rivalry that is a little more intriguing on a basketball court but still has some meaning on the football field.

    Known as the Sunflower Showdown, these two teams have been playing since 1902 and every year since 1911. The football game is known as the Governor's Cup and is the third-longest uninterrupted series in college football.

    These two schools are only separated by 85 miles, with Topeka between them.

    So where in the world could they play? Let's take it to Kansas City and play at Arrowhead Stadium.

North Carolina State vs. North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium

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    These two teams have been grinding it out on the football field since 1894 and have met a total of 101 times over that span.

    Even though UNC has had the upper hand in the all-time series, these two schools are bitter in-state rivals and are permanent cross-division opponents in the ACC.

    So, since they are both located in North Carolina, why not play the game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, home of the Carolina Panthers.

Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt at Liberty Bowl

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    There is nothing like a good in-state rivalry, and college football has plenty of them. Vanderbilt-Tennessee is one of them, and a conference rivalry along with it.

    These two teams have been playing since 1919, and while Tennessee has owned the rivalry for the most part, it is still certainly one of the top 50 in college football.

    The schools are separated by about three hours, and a nice neutral site would be the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

Indiana vs. Purdue at Lucas Oil Stadium

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    Indiana and Purdue are the two big institutions hailing from the state of Indiana, and like so many other rivalries, they are basketball schools first.

    They met in football for the first time in 1891, and then began a tradition of playing each other every year at the end of the season beginning in 1908.

    The teams began playing for the Old Oaken Bucket in 1925 and have been doing so ever since.

    Let's keep this in-state and play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Colorado vs. Colorado State at Mile High Stadium

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    Known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the winner of this game takes home the Centennial Cup.

    The series has been around since 1893 and was played annually until 1958. It was brought back in 1983 and made an annual rivalry again in 1995.

    Even though Colorado has dominated the all-time series, these two teams are it when it comes to college football in the state.

    This one could be played out in Denver at Mile High Stadium.

Virginia vs. Virginia Tech at Dick Price Stadium

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    The battle for the Commonwealth Cup is usually played on a Saturday near Thanksgiving and began in 1895.

    They have played annually since 1970, and the cup is a new tradition added to it.

    These in-state rivals are likely to continue to develop this rivalry over the coming years, and a perfect neutral-site location would be Dick Price Stadium, home of Norfolk State University.

    This is the next biggest stadium that is close to home for these two schools.

Michigan State vs. Notre Dame at Soldier Field

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    This rivalry began in 1949, and the two teams play for the Megaphone Trophy.

    Over the past few years, these two teams have had some classic encounters, and Notre Dame has a comfortable lead in the overall series.

    Located in separate states, finding a perfect neutral-site location is not an easy task. Why not let these two schools duke it out at Soldier Field?

    Seems like the perfect environment.

Arizona vs. Arizona State at University of Phoenix Stadium

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    The Duel in the Desert between these two teams is played for the Territorial Cup and began in 1899.

    These two teams have played 85 times, with Arizona holding a 10-win edge. This is one of the oldest and most hard-fought rivalries in college football.

    The game is rotated every year between Tempe and Tuscon, and when looking for a neutral site, one place to go would be University of Phoenix Stadium, which is also the home of the Arizona Cardinals.

Iowa vs. Iowa State at Soldier Field

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    These two in-state rivals battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy every year. They first met in 1894, but the rivalry was put on hold in 1934 before being resumed in 1977. 

    Iowa has a relatively lopsided advantage in the all-time series and have certainly had the better football history over the years.

    So where could these in-state rivals play every year? How about Soldier Field?

    Both schools are just a state away. This makes sense.

Air Force vs. Navy at Edward Jones Dome

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    These two teams battle for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, and the winner gets to visit the White House.

    This tradition has been taking place since 1997, and while this is not Army-Navy, it is a close second when it comes to the service academies. 

    A neutral location for these two teams is not easy to find, since they are located so far apart. One possible spot could be the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Illinois vs. Northwestern at Soldier Field

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    These teams recently tried to play at Wrigley Field, and that was a bad idea—why not move it to Soldier Field?

    After all, football—not baseball—is supposed to be played there.

    These two in-state B1G rivals are both located in Illinois, have been playing since 1892 and battle for the Land of Lincoln Trophy. Why not let them play in the biggest city in the state?

Louisville vs. Kentucky at Paul Brown Stadium

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    Louisville vs. Kentucky is one of the most heated rivalries in college basketball and also very intense on the football field.

    These two teams battle for the Governor's Cup Trophy and first met in 1912. There was a break in the rivalry from 1924 until 1994, and this rivalry is just starting to pick up intensity.

    Both schools are located around 100 miles from Cincinnati, so why not travel north to play the battle for Kentucky in Ohio at Paul Brown Stadium?

    Makes sense, right?

Arkansas vs. Texas A&M at Superdome

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    The Southwest Classic, as it is referred to, goes all the way back to 1903.

    These two schools were both members of the Southwest Conference and still played on a consistent basis when they moved to different leagues.

    Now with Texas A&M joining the SEC, this rivalry should continue to gain momentum.

    One perfect neutral-site location is the Superdome in New Orleans. That sounds like fun, right?

Cincinnati vs. Miami (OH) at Paul Brown Stadium

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    The Battle for the Victory Bell between Cincinnati and in-state rival Miami is the oldest non-conference rivalry in the country.

    They have played 116 times, and the series dates back to 1888 with Miami holding a slight edge.

    Being that both schools are located so close to downtown Cincinnati, the only logical site for this game is Paul Brown Stadium.

Florida vs. Tennessee at Georgia Dome

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    This game is sometimes called the Third Saturday in September, and these two teams first met in 1916. They have only played 41 times during that span, but this rivalry continues to grow.

    The schools are located relatively close to each other, and it only seems perfect to play this game at a site close to each.

    How about the Georgia Dome? It has been known to host a few big games once in a while.

North Carolina vs. Virginia at Bank of America Stadium

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    Considered the South's Oldest Rivalry, these two schools have been playing since 1892 and annually since 1919.

    They are separated by less than three hours across state lines, with no real good place to play between them.

    Why not play in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte? It makes the most logical sense.

Notre Dame vs. Stanford at Lambeau Field

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    Notre Dame has a lot of rivalries across the country, and these two teams could not be farther apart.

    The Fighting Irish are going to Dublin to play Navy, so why not go someplace cool to take on the Stanford Cardinal in the Battle for the Legends Trophy that began in 1925?

    How about Lambeau Field in Green Bay? These two teams are used to cold weather, and this would be perfect.

Iowa vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field

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    These two teams fight it out for the Heartland Trophy every year, and the rivalry began in 1894.

    Over its storied history, the all-time series is 42-42-2—evenly matched does not even begin to describe it.

    I think we all know where this one is headed. How about Lambeau Field? It may be a slightly pro-Wisconsin crowd, but Iowa can travel.

Washington vs. Washington State at Qwest Field

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    This is the battle for the Apple Cup and is an in-state rivalry that is one of the best in the west.

    These teams have met 104 times dating back to 1900, and not many teams have played more games against each other than these two.

    So, why not keep it in-state and play at Qwest Field in Seattle? That sounds about right.

Miami vs. Florida State at Raymond James Stadium

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    This series began in 1951 and is important because it is a battle for the state of Florida.

    These two schools are now conference rivals, and Miami leads the all-time series 31-25.

    The ratings for these games are exceptional, and finding the perfect venue is very important.

    These two teams could play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Auburn vs. LSU at Superdome

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    This game is commonly referred to as the Tiger Bowl. They first played in 1901 and have met 46 times since that first game.

    Finding a spot for these two teams to play leaves a lot of options open.

    What about the Superdome in New Orleans? It is a little closer to Baton Rouge, but still the best option.

USC vs. UCLA at Oakland-Alameda County Stadium

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    This game is known as the Crosstown Showdown and is a battle for Los Angeles between the two city schools.

    Both of these teams have home fields in the city, meaning they would have to travel a little to find an appropriate neutral site.

    One such place would be the home of the Oakland Raiders.

Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State at Superdome

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    There is nothing in Mississippi like the Egg Bowl, and these two teams battle every year for the Golden Egg.

    They have been playing since 1901 and have met 108 times in all.

    With a big enough place nowhere close to play this game, the Superdome in New Orleans seems like a logical location.

Kansas vs. Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium

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    The Border War is one of the most intense rivalries in college football, but with Missouri heading to the SEC, will it last?

    These two teams duke it out in both basketball and football, crossing state lines to do so.

    Perhaps a perfect location for these two teams to meet would be Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Georgia vs. Georgia Tech at Georgia Dome

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    These two in-state rivals have an intense hatred for one another, and it shows every year on the football field.

    They have been playing since 1893, and their campuses are separated by only 70 miles. There is no question that this rivalry has to stay in-state.

    It is already played at the Georgia Dome, and this is the place to keep it.

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field

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    These two teams play for Paul Bunyan's Axe and a Slab of Bacon. What is a better rivalry than that?

    There is no love lost between these two schools, and they originally met in 1890. While it is not the oldest rivalry in college football, there have been more games between these two teams than anybody else, as they have played 120 times.

    Let's keep this one in the state of Wisconsin and play at historic Lambeau Field.

Clemson vs. South Carolina at Georgia Dome

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    These two schools are what college football is all about in the state of South Carolina, and they separate friends and families.

    They call it The Battle of the Palmetto State, and there is no question that these two teams hate each other. 

    These two schools play in Atlanta every year at the Georgia Dome, so let's keep it that way.

Michigan vs. Michigan State at Ford Field

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    This is a rivalry that will likely continue to grow due to the potential success of these two teams.

    They play for the Paul Bunyan Trophy and began in 1953. It is known as the Sibling Rivalry, and these schools share a strong dislike for one another. 

    Since both schools are located in Michigan, it seems logical to keep the game in-state at Ford Field in Detroit.

Arkansas vs. LSU at Cowboy Stadium

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    Known as the Battle for the Golden Boot, these two SEC West schools usually play when there is a lot on the line.

    They do not dislike each other like some of the other teams in the SEC, but that does not mean there is no rivalry involved.

    There does not seem like a real logical place for these two teams to play, so let's take it a little farther west to Cowboy Stadium.

Oregon vs. Oregon State at Candlestick Park

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    These teams have met 115 times since 1894, and the game is called the Civil War. It is nothing short of that, as these two teams do not like one another.

    They play for the Platypus Trophy, and it is the final game of the season every year for these two schools.

    The home-field advantage for these two teams is great, but a neutral site would be interesting too.

    This one would have to move out of state for a proper venue. Let's try Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Florida vs. Florida State at Sun Life Stadium

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    This is an in-state rivalry that is one of the best in the country.

    These two teams meet every year at the end of the season, and they have some storied history between them.

    This is another game that has to stay in-state, and let's take it a little farther south to Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia at Lincoln Financial Field

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    The Backyard Brawl is intensity at its finest. Pittsburgh and West Virginia simply do not like each other, and with West Virginia moving to the Big 12, that could change things a little bit.

    This game started in 1895, and they have played 104 times since then. The schools are separated 75 miles down Interstate 79.

    They will need to travel to have a nice venue for this game. A perfect location would be Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Auburn vs. Georgia at Georgia Dome

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    While it may not be the South's oldest rivalry, some refer to it as the Deep South's oldest rivalry.

    These teams first played in 1892 and have met 115 times since then.

    They have played nearly every year since they began, and while they are still playing on campus, a great place for them to play would be the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

Harvard vs. Yale at Gillette Stadium

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    Known as The Game, this is the oldest college football rivalry. These two teams first played in 1875 and have played every year since the 1945 season.

    Currently, the venue alternates between the Yale Bowl and Harvard Stadium. Both of these schools are from the Northeast, and what better central location for them to meet than in Boston?

    How about Gillette Stadium in Foxborough for this rivalry?

Alabama vs. Tennessee at Liberty Bowl

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    This game is known as the Third Saturday in October, and the teams have been playing since 1901.

    Now that the SEC is in Eastern and Western divisions, they do not play as often—but when they do, there is no question that this is one of the greatest rivalries in the conference.

    Located just five hours apart, these two schools are closer in proximity than some may think. There is no place in between for them to play, so why not take it to Memphis at the Liberty Bowl.

Notre Dame vs. Michigan at Cleveland Browns Stadium

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    The Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry is relatively fresh compared to a lot of the others, as the teams have met only 39 times.

    They first played in 1887, however, making it as old as most of the other rivalries.

    These are two of the most storied programs in college football history, so there must be a great venue that would suit both of them.

    How about Cleveland Browns Stadium?

California vs. Stanford at Candlestick Park

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    These two teams have played 114 times, and it is known as The Big Game.

    It dates back to 1892, and they currently play every year. Everybody knows about the play with the band out on the field, and it is the most recognizable college football play of all time.

    These schools are separated by only about an hour, and a nice neutral-site location would be Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

Alabama vs. Florida at EverBank Field

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    This is another of the great SEC rivalries, and it was never better than a few years ago, when these two teams were the best in the nation.

    Most big SEC games are played at the Georgia Dome, so why not take this somewhere else?

    How about EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars for this one?

Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State at Cowboy Stadium

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    Even though these two teams do not hail from Texas, what better place for them to battle it out than at the state of the art Cowboy Stadium?

    This game is known a the Bedlam Series, and these teams first met in 1904.

    One thing is certain: These two teams do not like each other, and it has been that way for over 100 years. So, let's allow 100,000 people to see it all play out at Cowboy Stadium.

Florida vs. Georgia at EverBank Field

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    Florida and Georgia is a classic SEC East rivalry, and these two teams have been battling it out since 1915, playing every year in that span.

    Georgia also considers a 1904 game against Florida as part of the rivalry, although the Gators do not acknowledge it.

    Either way, they love to battle it out on the field, and have been playing in Jacksonville almost entirely since this rivalry began. Why not keep it that way.

    The 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party' is also one of the greatest rivalries in college football.

BYU vs. Utah at Mile High Stadium

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    BYU and Utah are two of the better teams out west, and they also have quite a rivalry.

    Known as the Holy War, these two schools first met in 1896. That is quite a long time ago, particularly for out west. They have played 93 times over that span, and these two teams are extremely close in location, separated by only 45 miles.

    There are not many places in Utah to have the game, so it will have to go out of state for the proper venue.

    How about in Denver at Mile High Stadium?

Texas vs. Texas A&M at Cowboy Stadium

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    With Texas A&M heading for the SEC, this rivalry may die down in the coming years.

    This game is known as the Lone Star Showdown, and these schools are the two oldest public universities in the state of Texas.

    Whether or not these two teams will ever meet again on a consistent basis is not known, but if they did, the only logical place would be Cowboy Stadium.

Lehigh vs. Lafayette at Heinz Field

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    This game is known as The Rivalry and was first played in 1884.

    These two teams have met 147 times, which is the most of any two schools in college football.

    Both schools are located in Pennsylvania, just 12 miles apart from one another. While it may be difficult to attract a huge crowd to this game, a cool place for these two teams would be Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

Alabama vs. LSU at Georgia Dome

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    This is a game that has now been dubbed the Saban Bowl. These two teams are involved in a rivalry that has grown with the success of these two schools in recent years.

    They first played in 1895 and have met 76 times since then. Alabama has dominated the all-time series, and this rivalry has a chance to continue to grow in the coming years.

    The perfect location for this game would be the Georgia Dome.

Notre Dame vs. USC at Sun Life Stadium

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    This is one of the biggest rivalries in college football and perhaps the greatest of any non-conference rivalry.

    Notre Dame and USC have a strong dislike for one another, and a neutral-site field could attract even more fans from another part of the country.

    They are so far apart, that a great place to take this rivalry would be somewhere completely out of the way.

    How about Sun Life Stadium in Miami?

Army vs. Navy at Lincoln Financial Field

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    Army and Navy have been playing annually since 1930 and first met in 1890. They have played 112 times over that span.

    When these two teams meet it is more than just a football game, as they are two of the premier service academies, both with storied histories.

    While they have a great respect for one another, they also dislike each other a great deal on the football field.

    This game has been played all over, but Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is the best fit.

Oklahoma vs. Texas at Cowboy Stadium

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    Known as the Red River Rivalry, these two teams have met 106 times dating back to 1900.

    They have played nearly every year since then, with Texas holding an edge.

    Dallas has been the site for this game since 1923, and there is no reason to change that. Cowboy Stadium is the best place for this game.

Alabama vs. Auburn at Legion Field

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    There is no love lost between these two schools, and a game that has come to be known as the Iron Bowl is the best in-state rivalry in college football.

    These two schools first played in 1893 and have played 76 times since then.

    They used to play every year in Birmingham, so what would be the problem in going back to that venue?

    It is the only conceivable way to keep this game in-state. Legion Field would be the best place for this rivalry.

Ohio State vs. Michigan at Cleveland Browns Stadium

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    This is simply known as The Game, and there is no greater rivalry in college football.

    These two teams just hate one another, and they have met 108 times since the rivalry began in 1897.

    Since they are located across state lines from each other, one school is going to have to leave the state.

    One perfect place would be the Dawg Pound in Cleveland. This would be a great recruiting opportunity for both schools as well.