There are many fiery rivalries in college football. Some are legendary for their competitiveness, others their historic importance and others are just known for being flat-out nasty.
Fights aren't all that common in sports—except for hockey—so when a fight breaks out it becomes big, big news, such as the "Malice in the Palace" in the NBA or the South Carolina versus Clemson brawl in 2004. Even more recently, the Charleston Riverdogs brawled with the Greenville Drive and had the highlights all over ESPN.
When was the last time a minor league baseball team was given so much attention?
This slideshow is dedicated to the rivalries that could get ugly in 2011 for varying reasons. This isn't a list of the best rivalries, although arguments can be made that some of these are just that, just the ones that could end in a fight. This has nothing to do with the "class" of the program, as tempers flair with the best of them, and sometimes, emotion wins out.
Rumor has it this rivalry is an extension of "The Toledo War," which was a heated border battle. The intensity shown in this rivalry is palpable.
Michigan leads the all-time series 57-44, but Ohio State has dominated recently. With a new coach that wants to instill some toughness to the Wolverines, this game could be extra spicy.
When isn't the "Iron Bowl" emotional and aggressive? Two of college football's premiere programs—and last two national champions—will have an incredibly emotional game this year.
While not historically "violent," these two teams have been known to scuffle. The universities have an odd list of disagreements through the years as well:
-Auburn has the first matchup against Auburn listed as 1893, while Alabama has it the last of 1892. It is an argument still waged today.
-Auburn head coach Mike Donahue almost canceled the series in 1906 due to Alabama's tactics which included detailed formations with movement.
Throughout history there have been a number of small incidents such as these. Thank goodness they kept the series going strong.
With Auburn wanting to prove it was more than just the Cam Newton show, and Alabama wanting revenge, Alabama would love to one-up Auburn in this very close (Alabama leads the series 40-34) and aggressive series.
This hatred-filled rivalry has roots that go very deep. In fact, they go so far that one Missouri basketball coach wouldn't allow his basketball team to eat in Kansas, because he wanted no money flowing into their economy.
There are so many political and emotional folds in this series that I can't even begin to summarize. You just have to read it for yourself.
It is ugly and it has spread into one of the most physical rivalries in sports.
The all time series record—which of course, is disputed—is 56-54-9 or 55-55-9, depending on your stance on vacating wins in the '60s.
In 1989, the Miami University mascot, Sebastian, led an attack against rival Florida State and had to be arrested. Yeah, that's how much they hate each other.
These are two storied Florida programs who just love to beat the crap out of each other and could always be good for some good old-fashioned violence.
Miami leads the all-time series 31-24.
There is one reason and one reason alone for me including this minor—in the eyes of most—rivalry, and it is a doozy.
Last year's matchup.
With all the emotion and fatigue that went into the high-stakes battle on national television, with Nevada shocking Boise, and Boise's BCS birth and potential national championship for a small school going out the window, I am positive that Boise State has thought about the rematch against Nevada with a type of fervor usually reserved for the more "hate-induced" rivalries.
I will be curious to see how this turns out.
By the way, Boise leads this one all-time 24-13.
Probably the teams most likely to get into a fight, these two teams truly hate each other, and the hate runs deep. They are only 132 miles apart, and growing up in South Carolina, you are generally born into a "Carolina" household or a "Clemson" household.
Clemson was formed in 1882 due to an action that infuriated South Carolina's farmers. South Carolina was named the South Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and the board voted to change the name to South Carolina College.
This made the farming community angry, as they believed it de-emphasized the farming aspect. Thus, the Clemson Agricultural College was born.
This rivalry has been called "The Family Feud" at times, due to the idea that Clemson was born of South Carolina and the families who have people that go to both universities (example: I graduated from South Carolina, and my sister graduated from Clemson). Clemson has a 65-39-4 edge in the rivalry, but South Carolina has won the last two meetings.
With a desperate Clemson team trying to avoid a three losses in row to Carolina, emotion could run high.
This one has some wonderfully nasty hatred going on. Again, two highly respected programs—though Georgia leads the all-time series 61-39—that have a history between each other. The demographic and location of each school has led to fans being fiercely one school or the other.
At one point, the relationship between these two schools became so venomous they had to cut all athletic ties for a few years. This happened during World War I, when Georgia shut down all football operations in order to assist with the fight.
Georgia Tech did not. When UGA brought back its football team, they did so with a parade featuring a tank-shaped balloon which read "UGA in Argonne," and was dragging a black and yellow donkey saying "GT in Atlanta."
This enraged the fans, so for two years they did not play one another.
Needless to say, cries of "To Hell with Georgia" set to UGA's fight song continue to this day.
Fans of these schools are raised to hate each other.
There is so much history and respect for these two programs it is almost blinding to research the two and how they relate to one another. Combining for 21 national championships and 14 Heisman Trophy winners makes this rivalry have a whole secondary layer to it.
Lately, it has lost some of it's luster mainly due to Notre Dame's recent lack of competitiveness, but it looks to change this year. Notre Dame is coming off its first win since 2001, and USC wants to re-establish its dominance.
These two teams have been known to rough it up over the course of their 81 meetings—Notre Dame leads the all time series 43-33-5—and this year, there is a lot at stake. Tempers will be at a high point.
While traditionally not being a violent series and one that has been dominated by one team with Oklahoma owning an 82-16 margin, this year there is something a bit different.
Both teams will be VERY, VERY good this year. Any time two bitter rivals take the field with one another and super-high stakes, it gets emotional, and could get ugly.
I am looking forward to watching this one.
They should change the name of this game to the "Taunt Bowl." Recent matchups between these two have been downright hostile. This year will be no different, and with both teams looking to be much improved in 2011, this game is downright huge.
These two schools dislike each other, and it has a great deal to do with it being a border battle along with an SEC East matchup.
They don't even agree on the inaugural game of the series. Georgia believes the first game was against a school called University of Florida at Lake City, which Florida claims is not the real University of Florida.
Georgia won that meeting—one of the main reasons they claim it—55-0.
So, according to who you talk to, Georgia either leads the series 47-40, or 46-40.
However, Florida holds a 18-3 mark since 1990 and Georgia wants to swing this series back.
This one could get ugly.