The 10 Best in-State Rivalry Games in College Football
College football has a number of unique traditions, but the one that drives the conversation year-round are the in-state rivalry games.
There are a number of in-state contests that are played every year, but these 10 catch the spotlight no matter the records entering the game.
Matchups like the Iron Bowl and the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy are among college football’s best.
What other showdowns make the cut?
Florida vs. Florida State
The battle for the Sunshine state began in 1958, with Florida owning the rivalry until the late 1970s. The Gators won 16 of their first 19 games against the Seminoles. They also tied during the 1961 season.
Florida owns an all-time 34-21-2 record against the Seminoles, with major shifts in control coming in chunks.
The Gators have put up a nine game win streak and two six-game streaks. The Seminoles only have two four win streaks and one three-game streak.
There have only been three years (1991, 1995, 2001) where there was no win streak that followed.
Thanks to Bobby Bowden, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer, This game has become a premier matchup over the past half-century.
Michigan vs. Michigan State
Michigan and Michigan State have been squaring off on the gridiron since 1898. The game has produced some of the best players and coaches college football has ever had.
Michigan leads the overall series with a 68-32-5 mark.
The Paul Bunyan Trophy has been changing hands since 1953. It marked a new beginning in the rivalry, which has led to a closer gap in the record. Before the trophy, Michigan held a 33-9-3 record in the game.
Since then, the series has evened out with a 35-23-2 mark in favor of Michigan.
The mid-season contest is always a huge matchup that draws a lot of attention nationwide.
Notre Dame vs. Purdue
The Purdue vs. Notre Dame game was saved recently when the Irish announced that they would drop Michigan in order to keep Purdue and Michigan State on the schedule.
This game originated in 1896, with Notre Dame leading the series 56-26-2.
The longest win streak in the series is also held by the Irish. They beat the Boilermakers 11 straight times from 1986 to 1996.
Over the years, the series has produced a number of big wins for both teams, with the most recent win coming in 2010. It was Brian Kelly’s first win with the Irish.
Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
The Egg Bowl has been played 108 times between the two major Mississippi schools.
Ole Miss holds the a series record of 61-42-6, but the series has evened out over the past 20 years.
The early 1900s brought a 13 game win streak to the series, as the Bulldogs owned the Rebels early, but Mississippi took the reins during the late 1920s and didn’t relinquish its hold until the 1970s.
The game has always fueled bad blood in the state, and most families have some type of rift during the week leading up to the game. This is one of the rare rivalries that has the power to separate families for days at a time.
USC vs. UCLA
The battle for Los Angeles is a heated rivalry that is often overlooked outside of the Pac-12.
If you are looking for two extremely passionate fanbases that are ready to fight by game-time, look no further than L.A. before the Bruins and Trojans throw down.
Not only does this game bring two iconic programs together, it puts two of the most notable venues in sports on display every season.
USC leads the series 46-29-7, winning or tying the first eight games in the contest.
The Victory Bell is the trophy given to the series winner, and it has been a part of the game’s history since 1939.
Oregon vs. Oregon State
This game may be played in the far Northwest, but the contest is known as the “Civil War” for the in-state battle it causes.
The game is one of college football’s oldest rivalries, having been played 116 times.
It was first played in 1894, and the all-time series lead is held by Oregon with a 60-46-10 mark.
Over the past few seasons, this game has had a lasting impact on the Pac-12 standings, and just last year, it pitted two of the league’s best programs against each other.
The Pac-12 is loaded with top rivalries, but this game is one of the best every year.
Texas vs. TCU
Texas and TCU played for decades leading into the mid-1990s, but when the old Southwest Conference fell apart, the rivalry did as well.
Now, the Horned Frogs are in the Big 12, and the in-state rivalry has been rekindled. Texas owns the all-time record with a 61-21-1 mark, but the rise of TCU lately could bring a major shift in the numbers.
This game will take the place of the Texas A&M and Texas rivalry that ended when the Aggies jumped to the SEC.
The next few years will bring this game back into the spotlight.
Clemson vs. South Carolina
The battle for the state of South Carolina has been ongoing since 1896. Clemson holds the series lead with a 65-41-4 mark.
The Tigers have dominated the game throughout history, but the past four years have been owned by the Gamecocks.
Over the years, these programs have bounced between conferences, but they have always maintained this in-state rivalry.
The first game was a 12-6 win by the Gamecocks in upset fashion. The Clemson team was coached by the legendary John Heisman and was heavily favored. A riot between fans followed the game, and one of college football’s nastiest in-state rivalries was born.
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
"Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" is the nickname for the historic showdown between the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets.
The first game was in 1893, with a 28-6 Georgia Tech win. Georgia holds the all-time series lead with a 62-40-5 record.
The rivalry is so full of disdain that a rendition of the fight song for Georgia Glory, Glory has fans finish with “and to Hell with Georgia Tech!”
This rivalry separates the state of Georgia 365 days a year. For years, the contest was a conference game, but in 1963, the Yellow Jackets left the SEC.
This is one of the country’s most prominent rivalries and is one that drives newswires the final weeks of the season.
Auburn vs. Alabama
The Iron Bowl is one of the nastiest rivalries in sports.
This is truly a year-round rivalry that drives business deals and political decisions in some small towns. Families are torn a part because of this game.
If that isn’t enough, people like tree poisoner Harvey Updyke add a layer of instability that is unmatched by other rivalries.
Alabama holds the series lead with a 42-34-1 record. The game began as an annual contest in Birmingham, a city known for steel production.
The game was first played in 1893, but it had a 40 year break after the 1907 season.
The battle for the ODK-Foy Trophy has produced a national champion each of the last four seasons.