Power Ranking the Longest Running Rivalries in College Football History
Rivalries are in every sport, but none more so than college football.
Some teams have been battling it out for more than 125 years, playing well over 100 times.
While some are in-state rivalries, other teams are not located as close to one another. Still for some reason or another, a rivalry has developed over the years, and that is what makes college football so unique.
We have taken the best rivalries in all of college football and ranked them from No. 25 all the way to the top.
There are no criteria required to make the list, but length of rivalry, amount of games played and the sheer intensity of the games is taken into account when ranking these 25 matchups.
Here are the top 25 all-time rivalries in college football history.
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Here are five rivalry games that did not quite make the list, but still deserve a little recognition.
Iowa vs. Minnesota: This is one of the oldest rivalries in college football, dating back to 1891. These teams have met 106 times, with the winner granted the statue of a pig.
Miami vs. Florida State: This rivalry does not quite have the history to make the list. The teams first met in 1951, and the series has been very even ever since, with Miami holding a slight 31-26 edge.
Auburn vs. LSU: Known as the Tiger Bowl, these two teams have been playing since 1901. They are rivals in the SEC West, and the rivalry has continued to grow.
Cincinnati vs. Miami (OH): This is the second-oldest FBS rivalry, dating back to 1888. The schools are located less than 40 miles from one another, and have done battle 117 times with Miami holding a 59-51-7 edge.
Florida vs. Tennessee: Known as the "Third Saturday in September," these two SEC East rivals have only met 42 times, dating back to 1916, but the intensity level has been very high. The Gators lead the all-time series 23-19.
No. 25 North Carolina vs. North Carolina State
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North Carolina and North Carolina State are not only in-state foes, but also conference rivals.
They first met in 1894 and have played 102 times since then. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 64-32-6 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 as both schools seem entrenched in the ACC.
No. 24 USC vs. UCLA
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Very few college football teams are located as close in proximity as these two city rivals.
USC and UCLA began playing one another in 1929, and have battled 80 times over that span. USC holds the all-time series lead 44-29-7.
With how much of a push UCLA made last year, this rivalry could continue to grow with new head coach Jim Mora.
These two teams are always near the top of the Pac-12, and it looks like that is going to continue for years to come.
No. 23 Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State
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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. Ole Miss leads the all-time series 61-42-6.
As both teams continue to improve, it is looking more and more like this could rise up the list in years to come.
With two talented young head coaches, this is a rivalry on the rise.
No. 22 Washington vs. Washington State
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Washington and Washington State play every year for the Apple Cup. They first met in 1900.
They have played 105 times since then, and Washington leads the all-time series 67-32-6.
There is a lot of tradition around this game. 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.
No. 21 Michigan vs. Michigan State
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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 the rivalry began in 1898 these two teams have met 105 times with Michigan leading the all-time series 68-32-5
There have been some epic games over the years between these two teams, including "Clockgate" in 2001.
Others certainly stand out as well. More will almost certainly come sooner or later.
No. 20 Florida vs. Florida State
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This is an in-state rivalry that has featured some truly classic battles over the years.
These two teams meet every year at the end of the season, and they have a storied history between them.
The two first squared off in 1958 and have met 57 times since the first encounter. Florida leads the all-time series 34-21-2.
There was a time a little over a decade ago when this was as heated a rivalry as there was in college football.
While it might have died off in recent years, it is picking up steam once again.
No. 19 Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
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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. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series 52-37-5.
They have played continuously for the past 42 years, and are now ACC rivals in addition to being in-state foes.
With the recent success of the Cavaliers and the fact that the Hokies have started to come back to earth, the battle for the state of Virginia has never been better.
No. 18 BYU vs. Utah
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This is another rivalry that is known as the "Holy War" and dates back to 1896. There have been 94 games between the two teams and Utah leads the series 56-34-4.
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.
In recent years, this battle has come to be known as "Sinners vs. Saints."
No. 17 Oregon vs. Oregon State
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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 116 times since that season. They are in-state rivals and conference opponents as well.
The Ducks lead the all-time series 60-46-10. 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.
There is no love lost between these two squads.
No. 16 Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
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These in-state foes first met in 1893, and Georgia holds the all-times series lead 63-39-5.
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.
Known as "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate," this rivalry has been played in Atlanta in recent years.
No. 15 Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
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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 58-56-8, and there is no rivalry in the history of Division 1-A college football that has been played more than the 122 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.
No. 14 Alabama vs. Tennessee
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Known as the "Third Saturday in October," this is one of the oldest rivalries in the SEC.
Alabama and Tennessee have been doing battle since 1901. They have played 95 times during that span with the Crimson Tide leading the overall series 49-38-7.
Before the 1992 season, this game was played on the third Saturday in October every year, hence the catchy name.
These two schools are located only five hours apart, which makes this rivalry that much more interesting.
No. 13 Michigan vs. Notre Dame
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This rivalry would be a lot higher on the list if there was more history between the two teams.
While it is the oldest FBS rivalry, dating back to 1887, the teams have only played 40 times over that span, and Michigan holds a 23-16-1 edge overall.
There have been some excellent games in this rivalry over the years, and some of the greatest college football players of all time have taken part in this game.
No question this is one of the best out-of-conference rivalries in all of college football.
No. 12 North Carolina vs. Virginia
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This game is known as the South's Oldest Rivalry, dating all the way back to 1892. They have played 117 times since then.
The all-time series is extremely close with North Carolina holding a slight 59-54-4 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.
While it is not as well-known as some of the other rivalries on the list, the history and tradition make it high in the rankings.
No. 11 Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
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Known as the "Bedlam Series," this rivalry is one of the more lopsided on the list, but is one of the best in the Big 12.
These two teams have been playing consistently since 1904. They have met 107 times since then with Oklahoma dominating the series 83-17-7.
Oklahoma State has started to even the playing field in recent years, but the Cowboys still have a long way to go.
Either way, this has been one of the more exciting rivalries over the past 10 years, and for that reason it makes the list at No. 11.
No. 10 California vs. Stanford
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These two teams have met 115 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 58-46-11 over the Golden Bears.
When it comes to western rivalries, this one is at the top of the list.
No. 9 Florida vs. Georgia
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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 it is broken down, Georgia leads the all-time series 49-40-2 or 48-40-2 depending on who is asked.
Either way, they love to battle it out on the field, and have been playing in Jacksonville almost entirely since this rivalry began.
The 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party' is without question one of the greatest rivalries in college football.
No. 8 Alabama vs. LSU
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Alabama and LSU got very heated a few years ago when these were the top two teams in the country.
That may not be the case anymore, but this is still one of the best rivalries in college football.
The teams have met 77 times, dating back to 1895, and Alabama has mostly dominated the series, holding a 47-25-5 advantage over LSU.
What adds to the current rivalry is the fact that Alabama head coach Nick Saban was formerly the head coach of LSU.
These two SEC West rivals will continue to battle it out for years to come.
No. 7 Clemson vs. South Carolina
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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 110 times since they first played in 1896.
Clemson leads the all-time series 65-41-4, and there is a growing hatred between these two public institutions that runs deep in the state of South Carolina.
The head coaches of these two teams do not seem to like one another either, adding even more to this rivalry.
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. USC
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No college football rivals are located farther apart than these two teams.
The rivalry is not as old as a lot of others on the list, having started in 1926, but is as intense as almost any of them.
Over that time, these two teams have met 84 times with Notre Dame holding a 44-35-5 overall edge.
Needless to say, this game has featured plenty of Heisman Trophy winners and more than its fair share of All-Americans.
No question that this rivalry is easily one of the top 10 in the game today.
No. 5 Oklahoma vs. Texas
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The Red River Rivalry between these two teams has been taking place since 1900, and the teams have met 107 times over that span.
Texas leads the all-time series 59-43-2. These two teams play for the Golden Hat. No question that this 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.
No. 4 Georgia vs. Auburn
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This game is known as the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" and has been played since 1892.
The teams have met 116 times, and the all-time series is tied 54-54-8. 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.
No rivalry in college football has been as closely contested as this one over the years.
No. 3 Army vs. Navy
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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 113 times with Navy holding the slight edge 57-49-7.
The game has moved around in recent years, but now is played mostly between Philadelphia and Baltimore.
There is much more to this rivalry than just the game, and that is why it is so high on the list.
No. 2 Auburn vs. Alabama
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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 77 times since then, this rivalry has grown in recent years.
Alabama holds the slight series edge at 42-34-1 and the teams have played every year since 1948. They played in Birmingham for quite some time and now play at their respective campuses.
Auburn needs to find a way to get back on track, or Alabama could run away with this rivalry over the next few years.
No. 1 Ohio State vs. Michigan
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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 109 times since they began play in 1897 and Michigan leads the all-time series 58-44-6
The game is almost always held at the end of the regular season, and has a lot of importance from fans of these bordering states.
After an 86-0 loss to Michigan in 1902, the Ohio State alma mater "Carmen Ohio" was written on the train ride home. It has been around ever since.
Both teams have been members of the Big Ten since 1917 and the rivalry has grown bitter ever since.
Look for the intensity level to continue to rise with Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke in place.