College Football: The Biggest Rivalries We Can't Enjoy

John McGonigalCorrespondent IISeptember 25, 2012

College Football: The Biggest Rivalries We Can't Enjoy

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    There have been plenty of college football rivalries throughout the years: Army-Navy, the Iron Bowl, and the Red River Rivalry, just to name a few. 

    However, one of the most historic and exciting rivalries will be coming to a close, for now, with the recent decision by Notre Dame. 

    Michigan announced Tuesday that Notre Dame has cancelled three games from 2015-2017 between the two schools.

    The Wolverines and Irish have met on the football field 40 times, with Michigan holding a 23-16-1 all-time record against the Fightin' Irish.

    This cancellation is a result of Notre Dame's move to the ACC.

    While the football program will remain independent, the Irish still have to play at least five ACC teams per season, making it impossible for ND to keep all their rivalries. 

    With that being said, there have been a laundry list of classic rivalries put on hold for various reasons, including conference expansion. 

    Let's take a look at the best rivalries other than Notre Dame-Michigan that have been put on hiatus or ended.  

Backyard Brawl: Pitt vs. West Virginia

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    Ahh, the Backyard Brawl. 

    Separated by 75 miles along Interstate 79, Pitt and West Virginia produced some chaotic, hate-filled contests for over 100 years.

    In 104 meetings, the Panthers hold the edge over the Mountaineers 61-40-3 dating back to 1895.

    The 1921 meeting between the two teams was the first college football game to ever be broadcasted on the radio. 

    The Backyard Brawl was not only a game of rich historical context, but it also had national ranking implications.

    For example, the 2007 edition of the showdown saw a downtrodden Panthers team with a 4-7 record slug it out with then No. 2 West Virginia for a 13-9 victory, changing the national championship landscape.

    However, with West Virginia moving to the Big 12 and Pitt heading to the ACC next season, this clash looks like it may be on its way out of the national conversation for quite some time.

Battle of the Brazos: Baylor vs. Texas A&M

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    In one of the most underrated rivalries in college football, the Battle of the Brazos has pitted Baylor and Texas A&M against one another since 1899

    The clash saw its fair share of pranks throughout the years, including two Aggie students stealing Baylor's live bear cub in the 1950's.  

    On the gridiron, the competitiveness of the rivalry probably peaked between 1960 and 1990, when Baylor won 13 games and Texas A&M took home 16 victories.

    Since the start of the 2000's, the Bears have won just twice (2004 and 2008).

    Regardless, the rivalry most likely won't have the chance to return to competitive glory with the Aggies moving to the SEC.

Border War: Kansas vs. Missouri

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    Since the times of the Civil War, the states of Missouri and Kansas have been on opposite ends of the spectrum, to say the least. 

    Considering this, it's no surprise that things were heated between the Tigers and Jayhawks on the field. 

    Starting in Oct. 1891, the Border War was the second-most played rivalry in college football history and was the oldest college sports rivalry west of the Mississippi River. 

    In the 120 games played, Missouri owns a disputed lead of 57-54-9 or 56-55-9.

    I say disputed because neither side can come to an agreement on the rightful result of the 1960 meeting between the two sides. 

    After Kansas won the game on the gridiron, the Big 8 conference retroactively forfeited the win to Missouri due to Kansas player Bert Coan being voted ineligible following the 1960 season, sparking more than half a century of debate.

    However, it doesn't seem like things will be heated for quite some time. 

    After Missouri bolted the Big 12 for the SEC following the 2011 season, the Tigers still expressed interest in continuing the rivalry.

    Despite this, Kansas athletic director has gone on record saying he is against the continuation of the Border War because he feels the rivalry belonged in the Big 12.

    Looks like the Border War could continue between the two sides, even if the players aren't duking it out on the gridiron.  

Colorado vs. Nebraska

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    Hey, what do you know, conference realignment kills another classic rivalry...

    This time around it was the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry. 

    Starting in 1898, the two sides met 69 times, with the Cornhuskers dominating the Buffs with 49 victories. 

    However, the 1980s brought a level of intensity to the rivalry, starting with the lowly Buffaloes stunning powerhouse No. 3 Nebraska 20-10 in 1986.

    Also, the consolidation of the Big 12 put the two in the same conference, making their meetings more consistent.

    However, with Nebraska moving to the Big Ten last season it's almost certain that the Huskers and Buffs won't meet for a while.  

    Even though it was always thought that Colorado took the rivalry more seriously than Nebraska did, it's still a rivalry that will be missed.

    Also, it was always cool to watch the Colorado-Nebraska game the Friday after Thanksgiving—the day it was traditionally played.  

Lone Star Showdown: Texas vs. Texas A&M

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    One of the most revered rivalries in the history of college football, the clash between Texas and Texas A&M was a game that determined bragging rights and, normally, dominance of football in the Lone Star state. 

    Traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day, the Lone Star Showdown is one of the oldest rivalries in collegiate athletics, with the first football game being played in 1894. 

    While the Longhorns commanded the rivalry with a 76-37-5 record, the rivalry kept its hatred and intensity at an all-time high throughout all these years. 

    To put it simply, former A&M coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was asked in 1950s why the Longhorns had such an edge. He responded: "Texas hates us more than we hate them" (via SI.com).

    With the Aggies move to the SEC, it's not likely that the two Texas powerhouses will continue their annual clash.

    And if their 2011 meeting was the final one, Texas and A&M fans will always remember how it all ended—with different feelings of course. 

Penn State vs. Pitt

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    Penn State-Pitt. Oh how the state of Pennsylvania has missed you. 

    While the Nittany Lions hold the series lead over Pitt, it's a marginal one at that (49-42-4).

    A game that normally decided Eastern football supremacy, the Penn State-Pitt rivalry dates back to 1893 and has been filled with primetime contests between two of the countries richest programs.  

    For example, the 1982 contest featured two of the nations premier squads, with both the Lions and the Panthers coming into the game with 9-1 records. 

    In a battle between Panthers quarterback Dan Marino and Lions signal-caller Todd Blackledge, Penn State prevailed 19-10 and went on to win the 1982 national championship. 

    Once a huge in-state rivalry with national implications, the two sides haven't met since the 2000 season.

    Bucking the trend of the last couple of ended rivalries, this one has new life ahead. 

    Currently, Penn State and Pitt are scheduled to play a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2017. 

    Along with that, Penn State acting athletic director Dave Joyner is reportedly open to extending the Pitt rivalry past the 2016-17 meetings (via TribLive Sports' Scott Brown).

    While talks are in the preliminary stages, it would be good for college football to see one of the great rivalries reborn. 

Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia

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    While West Virginia historically has the Hokies' number with a 28-22-1 record, Virginia Tech finished with the final victory of the rivalry in 2005.

    The Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy has had its share of exciting affairs, whether it was Michael Vick leading a dramatic comeback for the Hokies in 1999 or West Virginia upsetting then No. 3 Va. Tech 28-7 in 2003.

    The Black Diamond Trophy was introduced in 1997 and was meant to symbolize the history of coal mining in the Appalachian region (home of the Hokies and Mountaineers). 

    However, it remains to be seen whether or not the trophy will be battled for in the future. 

    The Virginia Tech-West Virginia rivalry took its final hit when Virginia Tech moved to the ACC from the Big East in 2004.

    While there is no meeting scheduled between the two teams in the near future, there is a rich history that should be appreciated here.