College football rivalries—the lifeblood of the sport, as some would have it—are in a weird place right now.
The old guard remains just as strong as ever. Last year's Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama was perhaps the game of the season, and the SEC chose to keep historic cross-division battles such as Auburn vs. Georgia and Alabama vs. Tennessee instead of shifting to the nine-game schedule favored by the other power conferences.
At the same time, however, an uprising of modern college football rivalries is coming to displace the old guard. Even without being steeped in tradition, some of the things that have transpired on the field the past few seasons have made a number of these new rivalries feel just as vital.
More often than not, the basis for the new rivalries has been conference realignment, which has now reached its fingers into every power conference in the country.
But that's not the only way modern rivalries are forged. Sometimes it's just a matter of timing—of two programs getting hot at the same time and dovetailing into one another.
Either way it happens, though, it's always a treat to watch.