It's about that time again. It seems like they've been a lot more spaced out this year than in years past, but regardless, it's Sox-Yanks and you better believe I'm all over writing about that (and other) rivalries.
I don't really want to bore readers with the statistical breakdowns of the past series, recount the "top 5" contests between the two, and get pelted with posts from guys who claim to have been at the classic battles of the fifties and sixties. Nay, I decided to go through a couple of rivalries that I love watching and why, in a particular order. I think these are the greatest rivalries in sports that I watch, but I guarantee there will be arguments ensuing, which is great, because what would a rivalry be without fighting?
- Sox-Yanks. Well, that's obvious. I think it's the best rivalry in sports, not only because every meeting has the intensity of a postseason game, but also because most meetings determine who goes to the postseason of the two. It's generally a battle in September while the two clubs are jockeying for the #1 position in the AL East, and I live for the passion and effort exerted on the field- if you don't, there's something wrong with you.
- Duke-UNC. This one has been tougher to watch as a Duke fan, but I still love it. Again, this is the kind of matchup that generally determines not tournament hopes (both squads are generally Big Dance bound whether or not they win this game), rather this contest decides who will take the ACC regular season title. I love watching Duke hit three's, but with Roy Williams, UNC has laid out a pretty explosive, run-n-gun attack as well.
- New England-Indianapolis. The only thing that keeps me from not putting this one as the number one rivalry is the fact that there are a couple of guys that play for Indianapolis whom I can stomach. I like Dallas Clark and Bob Sanders- they're former Hawkeyes. From a state which does not have it's own professional football team, it's pretty cool to see somebody dominate at the NFL level, and even cooler when there are two guys on one team, playing respective sides of the football. That said, I can't stand Peyton Manning and his record-setting shenanigans he plays with All-Pro receivers. He has said things in press conferences after the game that if T.O. or Randy Moss said, would make any sane person say, "what a selfish prick!" The most poignant example I can think of is when after a playoff loss he said something to the effect of "I can't play defense too." Was his defense terrible? Yes. Would T.O. or Moss have gotten away with saying, "I can't play defense too." after a loss? No. Manning and the Colts need to stay in the stable, and I love rooting for the Patriots to keep them there.
- Green Bay-Minnesota. It feels sacrilegious to put the Packers below the rivalry that is New England-Indianapolis, but this rivalry is pretty much for interstate bragging rights only. In the history of the Vikings franchise: 0 Super Bowls. The Packers reside in Titletown, but in the last ten years: 0 Super Bowl appearances. The numbers tell the story as to why this is a number four rivalry, now without number four.
- Tiger-Phil. This rivalry would be rated higher, if it was a contest when the two were paired in match play. Nobody touches Tiger, the closest thing we have is Phil Mickelson, and the guy chokes nearly every time the opportunity presents itself. He also has some of the inferiority complex a la Manning versus Brady, but it's much more flamboyant with Phil Mickelson. He goes into matches expecting to lose.
- Celtics-Lakers. #6? Is there any questioning this after the game six performance that the Lakers put on in the Finals this season? That's what I thought. It was a hot rivalry in the ESPN Classic days, but it's lost a lot of its heat, much like Kobe's supporting cast's shooting in game six.
- College football rivalries. These things won't move up until the NCAA comes through with some kind of consolation for the terrible BCS system they currently have in place. When given the opportunity at a +1 system, they didn't flinch, and so, I will not flinch at leaving college football rivalries lower than they would be if the games meant something during the regular season.
There are numerous other rivalries, but I really don't care about any of them. These are my top seven, and for my money, top dollar.