SEC Football: Power Ranking the Best Rivalries in the SEC

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIMay 5, 2013

SEC Football: Power Ranking the Best Rivalries in the SEC

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    Border wars are fought hardest in the SEC.

    With seven national championships in a row, tensions run high for fanbases in this conference. So just take a second and imagine what the heated rivalries are like.

    Boots are battled for, golden eggs are sacred and trees are destroyed out of spite. Hey, that's life in the SEC. Which rivalry is the meanest in the South?

    Is Auburn/Alabama the best rivalry in the SEC? Did Auburn's irrelevant 2012 season devalue the Tigers' rivalry with Alabama?

10. Arkansas vs. LSU

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    Year in and year out, LSU and Arkansas turn in a game of the year contender.

    When these two teams meet, the contest rarely disappoints in terms of excitement. Both teams battle for a Golden Boot, and some way, somehow it always seems to bring the best out of both clubs.

    Doubt it? See their games in 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, etc. In seven of their last eight showdowns, the games were decided by eight points or fewer.

    Though the Arkansas/LSU matchup rarely fails to deliver a thrilling conclusion, there's very little bad blood. There isn't any true animosity between both fanbases, and because of that, Arkansas and LSU lead off the list.

9. Georgia vs. South Carolina

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    South Carolina and Georgia's rivalry intensified when Steve Spurrier arrived on the scene.

    Because these two have recently been battling for the SEC East divisional crown, Spurrier has taken aim at Georgia's scheduling opposed to his.

    Last year, Spurrier's Gamecocks inherited a schedule with both LSU and Arkansas (seemed more challenging before the Razorbacks meltdown) on the schedule, while Georgia lucked up with Auburn and Ole Miss. Spurrier publicly stated how he felt about the schedules at the 2012 SEC Media Days. He didn't take too kindly to them.

    Though Georgia won the war with a bid in the SEC Championship Game last season, South Carolina won the battle with a 35-7 beatdown over the Bulldogs.

8. LSU vs. Ole Miss

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    Walk around LSU's campus on game day five years ago, and it would be a challenge walking around and not hearing a "go to hell Ole Miss" chant.

    This happened whether the Tigers were playing Ole Miss. You can thank Billy Cannon's Halloween run, along with multiple memorable moments for that. Fast forward to present day—you hardly hear those chants.

    The reason why is this rivalry is diminishing, but we may see a resurgence. With Hugh Freeze elevating Ole Miss with better play on the field and outstanding recruits coming to campus, Ole Miss should contend in the SEC West soon.

    That should reignite this rivalry, and though The Magnolia Bowl isn't the best of names, higher stakes should make it a main attraction in years to come.

7. Tennessee vs. Florida

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    The third week on the schedule used to be a lot more appealing, right?

    Before Florida lost Urban Meyer and Tennessee lost Phil Fulmer, both squads were almost always battling for an SEC East title. That was back when Spurrier was dominating Tennessee and saying things such as, "you can't spell Citrus without UT." Good ol' Spurrier.

    Florida is making a comeback with Will Muschamp, and Tennessee, well, Tennessee is going to see if Butch Jones can turn things around.

    Hopefully he does and Tennessee and Florida's early confrontation becomes one of the biggest games of the year again.

6. Alabama vs. LSU

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    Nick Saban made this rivalry personal.

    Before Saban arrived at LSU, Alabama had its way with the Tigers, especially in Death Valley. Saban changed that when he came to Baton Rouge and led the Tigers to its first win against Alabama at home in 31 years.

    Then.... Well, then he slept with the enemy. After making LSU one of the best programs in football, he went to Alabama and turned them into a dynasty, fueling this rivalry.

    Ever since, LSU and Alabama have been battling it out in the SEC West, with the winner of their November showdown playing in the BCS National Championship Game five times in the past decade.

5. Tennessee vs. Alabama

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    Count 'em with me—36. That's the number of SEC championships won between Alabama and Tennessee. Impressive, ay?

    Alabama owned the late '80s, early '90s, while Tennessee dominated the late '90s.

    To truly appreciate this rivalry though, one must go back to the first-ever game played between them in 1901. The game ended in a 6-6 tie, and the results left fans from both schools fighting on the field.

    Recent moments such as Terrence Cody blocking a Tennessee game-winning field goal attempt have further driven fans' rage. Here's a classic video of an upset Tennessee fan witnessing the blocked field goal.

4. Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss

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    Oh, Dan Mullen, you're a troublemaker, aren't ya?

    This is perhaps the most underrated rivalry in the SEC, because fans outside of Mississippi don't tend to pay attention to the Egg Bowl.

    To fans of Mississippi State and Ole Miss, the Egg Bowl means everything. Why? Well, if Ole Miss loses, Rebel fans have no choice but to sit back and take a verbal whooping from Mullen and the Mississippi State fanbase. On the other hand, Ole Miss fans aren't shy about gloating over victories as well.

    Losing is not an option for either club. Though Ole Miss has a commanding lead in the series, Mississippi State claimed three in a row from 2009-2011. Ole Miss' win last season quieted Mullen. Will it last for long?

3. Auburn vs. Georgia

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    Auburn and Georgia is the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry."

    The rivalry is best known for Uga V attempting to bite Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker in 1996. That game went down in history, as it was the first overtime game in SEC history.

    Both teams have met 116 times on the gridiron, and the series record is tied 54-54-8. Talk about a tight series.

    Go back a decade and you'll find that Auburn had some cushion in this rivalry. Georgia made up ground in the past seven years with six victories.

2. Florida vs. Georgia

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    You want to talk about border wars? Georgia and Florida is a great one to talk about.

    Both schools have a long history with one another, as it's the only SEC rivalry played at a neutral site. But let's talk about some recent bad blood.

    Before Meyer left Florida, he and Mark Richt had quite the rivalry. The rivalry sparked with a touchdown celebration by Georgia in 2007. Richt told his players to celebrate with the first touchdown his Bulldogs scored. They did so, and Meyer was irate. Georgia won that game, and many believe it was because of Richt's emotional ploy.

    The following year saw Meyer get revenge. In a 49-10 blowout victory, Meyer called a few timeouts in the final minute to get back at Richt and the Bulldogs. Heated rivalries like these make college football even more enjoyable.

1. Alabama vs. Auburn

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    "Let me tell ya what I did..."

    As if The Iron Bowl needed anymore gas on the flame, Harvey Updyke took it upon himself to make it even more personal. Instead of using gasoline, he used poison.

    On Paul Finebaum's radio show, Updyke called in posing as Al from Dadeville, Ala. He admitted to poisoning Toomer's Corner, which is a rich part of history on Auburn's campus.

    Alabama and Auburn's rivalry is one of the finest in college football history, and Updyke's actions have made it that more intense. "Roll d*** Tide/War f****** Eagle."