Power Ranking the Longest Running Rivalries in CFB History
There is no question that some of the longest running rivalries in all of sports are found in college football.
That got us to thinking. What are the longest of those rivalries? There are some that have been around for well over 125 years.
Why not rank those long running rivalries? The criteria here is pretty simple. The rivalry must be between FBS schools, have started by 1900 and the two teams must have played more than 75 games between each other over that span.
They also must still be playing on a yearly basis right now. Sorry to rivalries like Kansas-Missouri, Nebraska-Kansas and Texas-Texas A&M because those rivalries are now virtually extinct.
Even though Notre Dame-Michigan is the oldest rivalry, there have been too many breaks and the teams have not played enough times over that span for them to be considered.
There were 29 rivalries that met the criteria. Here is a power ranking of those 29.
29. New Mexico vs. New Mexico State
Known as the Rio Grande Rivalry, in-state rivals New Mexico and New Mexico State have been battling since 1894 for what is now referred to as the Maloof Trophy.
The Lobos lead the all-time series 66-31-5. The first contest took place in Albuquerque 18 years before New Mexico was even a state.
Even though the series has been dominated recently by New Mexico, these two teams still have a strong dislike for each other.
Despite the fact that they are in separate conferences, the two still meet every year.
28. Colorado State vs. Wyoming
Known as the Border War, this rivalry began in 1899 and today the teams play every year as members of the Mountain West Conference.
The Bronze Boot is awarded to the winner of the game every year and is guarded by the ROTC unit of the team that won the game the previous season.
The teams have met 103 times since 1899 with Colorado State leading the all-time series 55-43-5.
While it is not the Border War most people are used to hearing about, this is a great rivalry.
27. Utah vs. Utah State
Utah and Utah State have been battling it out on the football field since 1892 in what has come to be known as the Battle of the Brothers.
The two teams play for the Beehive Boot and since they first played, they have met 109 times.
Utah leads the all-time series 77-28-4. That is complete domination from the Utes and it has continued in recent years as they have not lost since 1997.
This rivalry took a three-year hiatus, but will return in 2012.
26. Purdue vs. Indiana
These two teams play every year for the Old Oaken Bucket and this rivalry began in 1891. The two teams have met 114 times since them.
Purdue holds a huge edge at 71-37-6 and in 1925 the teams played for the first time for the Old Oaken Bucket.
In addition to being conference foes, these two teams are also in-state rivals that are known more as basketball schools, but love to battle it out on the football field as well.
There is no love lost between these two schools.
25. Arizona vs. Arizona State
This series began in 1899 and is known as "The Duel in the Desert." The two play for the Territorial Cup and have played 85 times since the rivalry began.
Arizona leads the all-time series 47-37-1. These two schools are only separated by about two hours and are in-state, as well as conference, rivals.
Play began on Thanksgiving Day 1899 in front of a crowd of 300 people. It has grown greatly since that time and is one of the oldest rivalries in the west.
24. LSU vs. Ole Miss
This rivalry was recently renamed the Magnolia Bowl and play began in 1894. They now play for the Magnolia Bowl Trophy.
LSU leads the all-time series 57-39-4 as the teams have met 103 times since the rivalry began.
There is no question that there are much more renowned rivalries in the south and the SEC in particular, but it is the second oldest of any SEC rivalry.
These two teams do not particularly like one another and they show it every year on the football field. The teams have split over the past four years.
23. Illinois vs. Northwestern
Illinois and Northwestern have been playing since they fought to a 16-16 tie in 1892.
They have met 105 times since then with Illinois holding a slight 54-46-5 edge. While they are not college football powers, the schools have had some pretty good teams over the years.
The Land of Lincoln Trophy is the prize for the winner and with both located relatively close to one another the intensity is always there.
22. Colorado vs. Colorado State
Known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown, this rivalry dates all the way back to 1893 and the teams have met 82 times since then with Colorado holding a 61-20-2 edge.
The winner of the game receives the Centennial Cup and these two teams are in-state rivals that are not too far apart from one another.
Even though they are in separate conferences, they still play every year. While there was a break from 1958-1983, they played virtually every year before and have played basically every year since then.
21. Baylor vs. TCU
This rivalry has just gone up a tick with TCU joining the Big 12 beginning in 2012. This will make what is referred to as the Holy War that much better.
The game was first played in 1899 and when it was stopped for a short time in 1995, it was the longest continuous-game rivalry in college football.
They have played 107 times since the rivalry began and the series is in a dead heat at 50-50-7 overall.
There are few matchups equal to this between two in-state rivals.
20. Iowa vs. Wisconsin
Iowa and Wisconsin have multiple rivalries with other teams that date back to the 19th century, but one of the best remains these two schools who battle for the Heartland Trophy.
Even though the Heartland Trophy only began in 2004, this rivalry dates back to 1894. The all-time series is tied 42-42-2
After starting slow, Iowa beat Wisconsin every time they played from 1977-1996 with the exception of a tie in 1984.
These two B1G rivals love to play hard knock football and this is one of the greatest rivalries of the north.
19. Cincinnati vs. Miami (OH)
These two teams play every year in the battle for the Victory Bell and this is the second-oldest FBS rivalry dating back to 1888.
This is the oldest, current non-conference college football rivalry. They have met 116 times since play began and Miami holds a slight 59-50-7 edge.
These two schools are separated by less than 40 miles and the game is a big deal for both schools.
Even though Cincinnati has dominated in recent years, there is no question that this is one of the hardest fought games every year and the oldest rivalry on the list.
18. Oregon vs. Washington
The Oregon-Washington rivalry is not as old as some of the others on the list as it only dates back to 1900.
They have met 104 times since then with Washington holding a 58-41-5 lead overall.
This is one of the oldest rivalries in the northwest and these two Pac-12 rivals have had a heated rivalry since 1948 when the two schools tied for first place in the Pacific Coast Conference.
Over the past 60 years, the rivalry has continued to grow.
17. Clemson vs. Geogia Tech
Clemson and Georgia Tech began playing one another in 1898 and they have met 77 times since then.
While they have not played as often as some of the other rivalries, there is still no love lost between these two teams.
They have played annually the past 30 years and Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 50-25-2.
As both teams are members of the ACC, the rivalry has continued to grow and develop into what it is today.
16. Iowa vs. Minnesota
Iowa and Minnesota is one of the oldest college football rivalries, dating all the way back to 1891.
The two teams have played 105 times since then with Minnesota leading the all-time series 61-42-2.
The winner of this game is awarded the Floyd of Rosedale, which is a statue of a pig. The trophy originated in 1935 and is a big deal between these two schools.
These B1G rivals have been playing longer than anybody with the exception of four other rivalries.
15. North Carolina vs. North Carolina State
North Carolina and North Carolina State are not only in-state foes, but also conference rivals.
They first met in 1894 and have played 101 times since then. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 63-32-6 even though North Carolina State has dominated over the last five years.
This rivalry has continued to grow more and more heated as the two schools were both charter members of the ACC in 1953 and it has grown more intense ever since.
It is looking like this rivalry will be around for quite some time.
14. BYU vs. Utah
This is another rivalry that is known as the Holy War and dates back to 1896. There have been 93 games between the two teams and Utah leads the series 55-34-4.
It is referred to as a Holy War because BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The University of Utah on the other hand is a public university.
The two teams play for the Beehive Boot and they are located relatively close to one another, making this rivalry that much better.
13. Washington vs Washington State
Washington and Washington State play every year for the Apple Cup and they first met in 1900.
They have played 104 times since then and Washington leads the all-time series 67-31-6.
There is a lot of tradition around this game and it is typically played as the final regular season game of the season.
These are the two main institutions in the state of Washington and they battle for supremacy every year.
12. Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
This game is known as the Battle for the Commonwealth and the two teams play for the Commonwealth Cup.
They first met on the football field in 1895 and Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 51-37-5.
They have played continuously for the past 41 years and are now ACC rivals, in addition to being in-state foes.
With the recent success of the Cavaliers, the battle for Virginia has never been better.
11. Oregon vs. Oregon State
This game is known as the Civil War and that is exactly what it is.
These two teams began playing in 1894 and have met 115 times since that season. They are in-state rivals, and conference opponents as well.
The Ducks lead the all-time series 59-46-10 and the series got its name beginning in 1929, when the game was first referenced as the "Civil War."
It is usually the last game of the season and even though Oregon has had a lot of recent success, this is still a heated battle every year.
10. Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
These in-state foes first met in 1893 and Georgia holds the all-times series lead 62-39-5.
While they are not in the same conference, there is still as much hatred here as anywhere else in the country.
The hostilities between these two schools date back to 1891 when a battle over school colors took place.
They are located relatively close to one another helping to further make this one of college football's best rivalries.
9. Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe is the prize for the winner of the annual Minnesota and Wisconsin football game.
It began in 1890 and only two FBS rivalries are older. The trophy originated in 1948, but the rivalry was around long before then.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 59-54-8 and there is no rivalry in the history of Division 1-A college football that has been played more than the 120 times these two teams have met.
There is a strong hatred between these two teams and it is one of the best rivalries in all of the land.
8. North Carolina vs Virginia
This game is known as the South's Oldest Rivalry, dating all the way back to 1892. They have played 116 times since then.
The all-time series is extremely close with North Carolina holding a slight 58-54-4 edge.
North Carolina and Virginia have played continuously since 1919 and nothing in the south dates back farther than the rivalry between these two teams.
As ACC rivals, there is a strong dislike between these two schools.
7. Stanford vs. California
These two teams have met 114 times since they first played in 1892. It is known as "The Big Game" and is one of the 10 longest running rivalries in college football history.
During the first "Big Game" in 1892, former President Herbert Hoover was the Stanford team manager.
Everybody remembers the historic game when the band was out on the field as well. There have certainly been some amazing finishes over the years here.
The Cardinal hold the all-time series lead 57-46-11 over the Golden Bears.
6. Clemson vs. South Carolina
This game is referred to as the Battle of the Palmetto State as these two institutions are separated by only 132 miles.
Even though they do not play in the same conference, this game has grown more heated over the years and the teams have met 109 times since they first played in 1896.
Clemson leads the all-time series 65-40-4 and there is a growing hatred between these two public institutions that runs deep in the state of South Carolina.
5. Oklahoma vs. Texas
The Red River Rivalry between these two teams has been taking place since 1900 and the teams have met 106 times over that span.
Texas leads the all-time series 59-42-2. These two teams play for the Golden Hat and it is one of the best rivalries in college sports.
They play every year in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl. This is the perfect venue for a battle between the two most consistent teams in the Big 12 every year.
One thing is certain, there is not much that tops this rivalry.
4. Georgia vs. Auburn
This game is known as the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" and has been played since 1892.
The teams have met 115 times over that span and Auburn leads the all-time series 54-53-8. With the exception of the North Carolina-Virginia rivalry, there is no game in the south that has been played longer.
During the first game between these two teams in 1892, the famous Auburn chant "War Eagle" was said to have originated.
We all know how popular that chant has become since.
3. Army vs Navy
Army-Navy is the third oldest college football FBS rivalry dating all the way back to 1890.
While the teams are not nearly as good as they once were, there is no question what this rivalry means to those involved.
Over the 120 plus year history of the rivalry, the teams have met 112 times with Navy holding the slight edge 56-49-7.
The game has moved around in recent years, but now is played mostly between Philadelphia and Baltimore.
2. Alabama vs. Auburn
There is no better in-state rivalry than Auburn-Alabama and it is not even that close. Simply put, these two teams hate one another.
The game is known as the Iron Bowl, dating back to the days it was played in Birmingham. There is no love lost between the players and fans from these two teams.
The series began in 1893 and while they have only met 76 times since then, this rivalry has grown in recent years.
Alabama holds the slight series edge at 41-34-1 and the teams have played every year since 1948. They played in Birmingham for quite some time and now play at their respective campuses.
The ESPN special says it all about this rivalry.
1. Ohio State vs. Michigan
This annual matchup is known simply as "The Game" and pits the two fiercest rivals in all of college football.
These two teams have met 108 times since they began play in 1897 and Michigan leads the all-time series 58-43-6
The game is almost always held at the end of the regular season and the Ohio State alma mater "Carmen Ohio" was written on the train ride home in 1902 after the Buckeyes lost 86-0 to the Wolverines
Both teams have been members of the B1G since 1917 and the rivalry has grown bitter ever since.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!